Last week saw the Bureau of Labor Statistics release nonfarm payroll figures that fell well short of expectations and pulled the three-month average to a 12-month low. Further, the unemployment stayed the same for the third straight month at 3.7%, and wage growth was at 3.1% for the second straight month. The total net worth among U.S. households broke to a record high in the third quarter after a 1.9% rise in net asset values. Last, the Commerce Department released October’s trade deficit report, showing the foreign trade gap widen by 1.7% to a ten-year high.
November’s final Consumer Sentiment reading fell more than expected to 97.5 points, continuing a slide off of March’s fourteen-year-high reading of 101.4. New housing starts grew last month amid rising tariff-related costs for builders, driven by new construction of multi-family housing units. Lastly, initial unemployment claims rose suddenly to a four-month high of 224,000, despite continuing claims falling to 1.67 million, a level not seen since the early 1970s.
Last week brought third quarter GDP results that narrowly beat economists’ expectations, thanks, in part, to strong annualized consumer spending and low inflation. The Personal Consumption Expenditure price index, which is used by the Fed, underperformed the Fed target in October. However, the Producer-Price Index grew 2.9% annually, driven by producer and supplier margin increases. The JOLT Survey revealed that job openings decreased slightly in September, while the economy yielded a significant net employment gain.
Last week’s economic news showed consumer confidence reaching a sudden 18-year high, lending hope to the possibility of continued economic expansion. Also, worker productivity grew only slightly in October, thanks in part to employers’ need to hire lower-skilled workers. On Friday, the Labor Department announced job growth far exceeded expectations, unemployment held constant, and wage growth also increased.
Last week, gross domestic product figures showed slightly stronger economic output, particularly driven by consumer spending. The personal consumption expenditures index missed the Federal Reserve’s inflation target for the fourth straight month. Also, unemployment applications increased for the week ending October 20, but continuing claims declined for the week.
Last week, U.S. retail sales growth dramatically missed economists’ expectations for September, according to Commerce Department data. The Labor Department released their data from the August Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, indicating more than one job opening for every unemployed worker. Also, the Federal Open Market Committee shared the minutes from the end-of-September meeting, indicating a potential for interest rates to continue to rise.
Labor figures released last week showed a nearly full labor market. The unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, wages grew at a controlled 2.8%, and jobless claims were near levels not seen since 1969. However, the impressive jobs report spooked bond investors about future rate hikes by the Fed, prompting a bond market selloff that sent yields to seven-year highs.
Last week, data showed that retail spending declined in August, jobless claims rose for the week ending September 22nd, the personal consumption expenditures index hit the Fed’s targets, and consumer sentiment rose.
Weekly jobless claims fell to their lowest level since December of 1969, showing signs of continued labor market strength. The U.S. trade gap narrowed in the second quarter thanks to increased foreign demand for U.S. goods and services, as well as repatriated cash. Lastly, Merrill Lynch’s survey of money managers revealed increased investor pessimism about the outlook of the economy for the next twelve months.
Last week, the Census Bureau announced that Americans’ incomes are growing and poverty is shrinking. The Federal Reserve announced that consumer credit grew more than expected in July. Lastly, the Labor Department concluded that job openings increased to a record-high level.