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Workers assemble semi trailers on the factory floor at the Wabash National Corp. manufacturing facility in Lafayette, Indiana.
Finally, Cramer looked into why a top truck manufacturer at the “sweet spot of e-commerce” issued a wildly negative earnings preannouncement on Friday.
Between a lack of new workers, rising raw costs due to steel tariffs and slumping demand, Wabash National’s business is being squeezed, and the Fed’s plans to hike interest rates several more times don’t exactly help, Cramer said.
And while the “Mad Money” host understood why Fed Chair Jerome Powell was forecasting more rate hikes — rising labor costs, like those for overtime, tend to be inflationary — he thought some inflation was “a small price to pay for a strong economy.”
“Let’s call it a consequence of full employment. Why not just let those workers make a little more money?” he said. “Companies like Wabash and Thor [Industries will] sort it out. They got that big tax cut anyway. Meanwhile, the tariffs are already slowing down the economy, so the Fed may not need to take much more action anyway.”
But if the Fed doesn’t listen, U.S. manufacturers aren’t exactly left with a pretty picture, Cramer warned.
“We’re left with this situation where, just when a down-and-out manufacturer finally has some hope for a big year, it’s gotten hit with the triple-whammy of higher labor costs, higher steel costs and higher interest rates,” he said. “To me, these rate hikes seem like an awfully high price to pay to break an inflationary cycle that’s mostly government-made to begin with.”