The Employment Cost Index (ECI) is an economic report that was never on our radar as a top tier market mover in the past. Then in early 2022, Fed Chair Powell began to point it out as one of the most important indicators of potential wage pressures. He's gone on to mention it several more times throughout the past 13 months. It has thus become a consistent and obvious market mover. Today's release is the latest example with a modest beat (1.0 vs 1.1) producing an instant rally with the highest single minute of volume in more than 2 weeks. In fact, the only other reports with more of a volume response in January have been NFP and CPI.
The chart above doesn't exactly mean that ECI is the second or 3rd most important market mover after CPI. But it does mean that this is officially one of the most tradeable flashpoints because it's not extraordinarily nuanced data. In other words, the headline is the meat, and it's easy to understand. That lends itself to an obvious, quick, directional trading response. Other reports may cause more movement over the course of several minutes as the nuances are digested and balanced.
Later this morning, we'll add Chicago PMI and Consumer Confidence to the econ data round-up. Neither are quite on par with ECI, but both are capable of catching the market's attention.