HIRING REBOUNDS, INDUSTRIES EXPAND
According to the Department of Labor, October brought a net gain of 261,000 jobs. (Last month’s net loss of 33,000 was revised to a net gain of 18,000.) The headline unemployment rate ticked down to 4.1%, while the broader U-6 rate fell to 7.9% (down 1.3% in 12 months). Wages were up 2.4% year-over-year. The Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing manager indices alternately rose and fell in October. The readings were strong: 58.7 for the factory PMI (down 2.1 points), 60.1 for the service sector PMI (up 0.3 points).
CONSUMER SPENDING, CONFIDENCE IMPRESS
Personal spending rose 1.0% in September, helped by households replacing vehicles and goods damaged in hurricanes and floods. This was the largest monthly advance in more than eight years. Personal wages improved 0.4%. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index climbed 6.1 points to 125.9 in October; economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected a reading of 121.3.
Jerome POWELL NOMINATED TO LEAD FED
If his nomination is approved, the Federal Reserve governor and former investment banker will become chairman when Janet Yellen’s term ends in February. He is expected to maintain the Fed’s current strategy for normalizing monetary policy. The central bank held interest rates steady at its November meeting. Bloomberg puts the odds of a December rate hike at 85%.
another ADVANCE FOR STOCKS
All three major indices rose last week, with the gains paralleling those of the previous week. The respective improvements: S&P 500, 0.26% to 2,587.84; Nasdaq Composite, 0.94% to 6,764.44; Dow Jones Industrial Average, 0.45% to 23,539.19.