How the latest Aussie jobs figures just lit the ASX 200 on fire

ASX 200 investors are celebrating news from several key fronts today.

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The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is smoking hot today.

The benchmark index was already up a very impressive 1.5% at 11.30am AEST.

That strong run was driven by some encouraging inflation data out of the United States.

With inflation ticking lower in the world's top economy, investors are increasingly optimistic about the prospects of one or more 2024 interest rate cuts from the US Federal Reserve.

Investors reacted by sending the S&P 500 (INDEXSP: .INX) up 1.2% to close at a new all-time high.

And with the ASX 200 surging another 0.3% between 11.30am and noon, putting it up 1.8% in intraday trading, the Aussie benchmark is within spitting distance of resetting its own all-time closing high.

That record was set on 28 March when the index closed at 7,896.9 points. At time of writing, the ASX 200 stands at 7,890.5 points.

Here's why investors are bullish on the latest Aussie jobs data.

ASX 200 leaps on unemployment figures

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the latest jobs data for the month of April at 11.30am.

April saw the nation's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hit 4.1%, up from 3.9% in March.

"With employment rising by around 38,000 people and the number of unemployed growing by 30,000 people, the unemployment rate rose to 4.1%, and the participation rate increased to 66.7%," Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics said.

While that's not good news for job seekers, it indicates a slowing economy. And the jobs data looks to have sent the ASX 200 even higher today as it also ups the odds of interest rate cuts from the RBA in 2024.

However, Jarvis noted that the Aussie labour market still remained tight by historic standards.

According to Jarvis:

The employment-to-population ratio remained steady at 64.0% in April, indicating that recent employment growth is broadly keeping pace with population growth. This suggests that the labour market remains tight, though less tight than late 2022 and early 2023.

Sell in May and go away?

Sell in May and go away?

I don't think so!

With today's smoking hot intraday gains, the ASX 200 is almost certain to close well into the green today. That will see the benchmark index closing up for nine out of the last 11 trading sessions!

And at the time of writing, the ASX 200 is up 4.1% since the closing bell rang on 1 May.

Indeed, loyal readers (I know you're out there!) may recall the piece I penned this Tuesday.

In the article, I highlighted both the overnight US inflation print and today's Aussie jobs data as potentially setting the ASX 200 up for a "huge day" today.

I don't generally toot my own horn.

So please forgive the following.


Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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