ANOTHER MONTH OF SOLID HIRING
According to the Department of Labor, the U.S. workforce gained 228,000 more jobs than it lost during November. Annualized wage growth improved from 2.5% to 2.7%. The headline jobless rate held at 4.1% last month, while the U-6 rate, that includes the underemployed, ticked up a tenth of a percent to 8.0%. Even though October’s net job gain was revised down to 244,000, October-November 2017 represents the best two-month hiring period in more than a year.
ISM INDEX MISSES EXPECTATIONS
The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of service sector activity fell 2.7 points to a still-impressive reading of 57.4 in November. Economists polled by Briefing.com expected a retreat, albeit a lesser one: they projected a reading of 59.3.
A SMALL DECLINE FOR CONSUMER SENTIMENT
There was just a bit less optimism in households in early December, at least by the measure of the University of Michigan’s twice-monthly Surveys of Consumers. The preliminary December edition of the university’s consumer sentiment index fell 1.7 points from its final November reading to a mark of 96.8.
TWO OF THREE MAJOR INDICES RISE
Once again, the Nasdaq Composite gave up ground across five trading sessions while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced. The tech benchmark lost only 0.11% last week on its way to a 6,840.08 Friday close. The same stretch brought gains of 0.40% for the Dow and 0.35% for the S&P; their respective Friday settlements were 24,329.16 and 2,651.50. Dropping 16.19% last week, the CBOE VIX volatility gauge went back under 10, closing Friday at 9.58. Settling at 1,521.72 Friday, the small-cap Russell 2000 lost 1.00% for the week.