Whether you were tuned in to Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at Jackson Hole, preparing your personal budget for the re-emergence of student loan payments, or both, the final days of August and the beginning of the end of the third quarter mean a lot to keep tabs on.
An economic soft landing for the U.S. seems possible — for now. While the Fed made it clear it will enforce its restrictive monetary policy, ultimately pledging to raise rates until core PCE inflation hits 2%, CFOs’ fears of a recession are waning as the year goes on.
If confidence in the domestic economy continues to grow while the Fed does whatever possible to slow the economy to hit target inflation, CFOs will have a tough choice: keep holding back on investments in case a downturn does eventually occur, or push forward most of their chips in the belief the economy is more resilient to higher interest rates than many think.
(The Trial Balance is CFO’s weekly preview of stories, stats, and events to help you prepare.)
Part 1: A Sophomore CFO and Rethinking Return to Office Initiatives
This week, reporter Adam Zaki talks to Hugo Doetsch, the new CFO of medtech provider Symplr. New to the role, Doetch discusses transitioning to a new industry, what the rest of his year looks like, and his thoughts on labor markets and salary transparency. (8/31)
In a separate story, Zaki will also highlight a survey from Envoy and Hanover research that says eight in 10 business leaders redo their return-to-office processes differently if they could. (8/30)
Part 2: Economic Calendar
Monday — It’s the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” Here’s the transcript and video of his stirring plea for racial equality on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Tuesday — The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index releases its August measure. Confidence jumped 7 points to 117 in July, a two-year high. That’s still 10 points or more below its pre-pandemic levels.
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary was getting a lot of attention in 2022 as job-quitting rose and job openings were above 10 million. Now, quitting has slowed. However, the last JOLTS report (for June) showed openings at 9.6 million, not that far off the post-pandemic high.
Wednesday — The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis releases its revised estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth. With so many inputs to GDP — a 454-page BEA handbook details all the data points collected — quarterly GDP numbers actually get revised eight or nine times as new data is collected.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board will hold a meeting on improvements to income tax disclosures to discuss comment letter feedback and issues that need to be deliberated.
In Spain, it’s the day of the La Tomatina festival, basically a giant food fight with tomatoes. If you’re participating in this festival held near Valencia, remember, as the rules recommend, to “squash the tomatoes before throwing them; the hit will be less painful.”
For the rest of us earth-dwellers, there’s a big, bright full moon on this day — it will be both a supermoon and a blue moon (the second of two full moons in one calendar month).
Thursday — Economists aren’t expecting a big drop in the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index for July. While headline PCE fell to 3% year-over-year in June, core PCE remained more stubborn, staying in the 4% range. A significant drop in core PCE would be a welcome sign to markets.
The Securities and Exchange Commission holds a closed meeting.
Friday — The U.S. jobs report is expected to show nonfarm payroll additions of 170,000 jobs, a post-pandemic nadir. However, the unemployment and job participation rates are projected to be stationary.
Earnings this week — Brown-Forman, Lego, Prudential, Salesforce, Broadcom, Campbell Soup, Dollar General, Lululemon Athletica, SAS, Box, CrowdStrike, Chewy, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, HP, Five Below, VMware, and others.
Part 3: Strengthening Governance for Sustainable Success
Although formal SEC climate disclosure guidance is most applicable to public companies, the impact will be felt far and wide among private and mid-sized companies, and the time to prepare is now.
Mallory Thomas, partner at Baker Tilly, explains how companies can start preparations by developing a sustainable governance infrastructure to identify, report, and monitor ESG-related risks and opportunities. (8/29)
Quote of the Week
“Although inflation has moved down from its peak — a welcome development — it remains too high. We are prepared to raise rates further if appropriate, and intend to hold policy at a restrictive level until we are confident that inflation is moving sustainably down toward our objective.”