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The Fed getting a sneak peek at July’s job numbers isn’t bad

The way things are supposed to work, the Federal Reserve shouldn’t have seen the job figures for July that will be reported Friday.

Those numbers are supposed to be secret until late Thursday, when the head of the Federal Reserve is given a sneak peek.

But considering that the Fed was contemplating what to do about rates at meetings earlier this week, I wouldn’t be surprised if the sneak peek became a wink and nod about the numbers earlier than was allowed.

And I’m OK with that.

Because if Friday’s figures are too strong, the Fed is going to have a lot of explaining to do over why it decided to cut interest rates this week even though the economy seems to be doing well enough.

The nation’s unemployment rate — which is a widely followed, albeit lousy, economic indicator — is at its lowest level in 50 years. And the economy is growing at an acceptable 2.6 percent annual rate so far this year.

Those aren’t the sort of numbers that would cause the Fed to urgently act.

And if Friday’s number is too strong, there is going to be Monday morning quarterbacking of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s decision to cut rates.

Does Powell see something wrong with the economy that isn’t obvious?

Is he cutting rates just to make the president happy and to keep his job?

What’s Powell going to do when a real crisis — perhaps a political one this fall — occurs?

There was surprisingly strong employment growth in June when 224,000 new jobs were reported. But “experts” on Wall Street are expecting that number to drop to around 160,000 when Friday’s July figures comes out.

But I’ve told you many times that the monthly employment figures are a crap shoot.

And the headline number can come in light of expectations or well over what is expected simply because of some guesstimate or adjustment made in the Labor Department’s calculations.

For instance, last year there was a loss of 1.114 million jobs in July before the Labor Department seasonally adjusted the figures for the month.

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