Explore Topics and Trends impacting today's markets

The health of the U.S. consumer is just fine, despite many economists worrying that spending might slow in 2024 and lead to a recession. 


Analysts are fretting that the consumer could stumble as college loan payments resume and several million lose Medicare benefits while state rolls are recertified. Other analysts focus on the stickiness of core inflation around 4% and that interest rates may remain elevated for a long time, given the possible lags in monetary policy. These are all valid concerns, which are likely to exert a slowing influence on the economy.  

But these concerns, from student loans to high interest rates, are not the primary factors determining the health of the consumer. They are overwhelmed by the robustness of the U.S. jobs market. If people have jobs, then they will have money to spend. Maybe it won’t be as much money as they want, but having a job is the primary key to personal consumption.

The U.S. economy has been creating over 150,000 net new jobs per month, which is in the same territory as the average of 169,000 jobs a month recorded back in 2019 before the pandemic hit. While job openings have receded from their peak, there are many more job openings than unemployed people. Unemployment remains under 4%, only rising a few notches in August, and is a healthy sign that more people returning to the labor force. 

Our contention is straightforward: if there are more people working every month and wages are rising, then there is more money available to spend every month, and consumer spending can keep going despite some headwinds.



OpenMarkets is an online magazine and blog focused on global markets and economic trends. It combines feature articles, news briefs and videos with contributions from leaders in business, finance and economics in an interactive forum designed to foster conversation around the issues and ideas shaping our industry.

All examples are hypothetical interpretations of situations and are used for explanation purposes only. The views expressed in OpenMarkets articles reflect solely those of their respective authors and not necessarily those of CME Group or its affiliated institutions. OpenMarkets and the information herein should not be considered investment advice or the results of actual market experience. Neither futures trading nor swaps trading are suitable for all investors, and each involves the risk of loss. Swaps trading should only be undertaken by investors who are Eligible Contract Participants (ECPs) within the meaning of Section 1a(18) of the Commodity Exchange Act. Futures and swaps each are leveraged investments and, because only a percentage of a contract’s value is required to trade, it is possible to lose more than the amount of money deposited for either a futures or swaps position. Therefore, traders should only use funds that they can afford to lose without affecting their lifestyles and only a portion of those funds should be devoted to any one trade because traders cannot expect to profit on every trade. BrokerTec Americas LLC (“BAL”) is a registered broker-dealer with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (www.FINRA.org), and is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (www.SIPC.org). BAL does not provide services to private or retail customers.. In the United Kingdom, BrokerTec Europe Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. CME Amsterdam B.V. is regulated in the Netherlands by the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) (www.AFM.nl). CME Investment Firm B.V. is also incorporated in the Netherlands and regulated by the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM), as well as the Central Bank of the Netherlands (DNB).

©2024 CME Group Inc. All rights reserved