SEPTEMBER BRINGS A MEDIOCRE JOBS REPORT
The Department of Labor’s latest employment snapshot shows payrolls expanding by 156,000 net new jobs in August. This was a retreat from the job gains of 200,000+ reported in both June and July. The headline jobless rate ticked up to 4.4%; the U-6 rate, which factors in the underemployed, held steady at 8.6%. Annualized wage growth remained stuck at 2.5%.
POSITIVE NEWS FROM MAIN STREET
Climbing once again, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index ascended 2.9 points to 122.9 in August. That topped the forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch, who anticipated a 122.5 reading. Additionally, the Department of Commerce said that consumer spending advanced 0.3% in July, up from 0.2% in June. Household incomes rose 0.4% in July; they were unchanged in June.
ISM: FACTORY SECTOR IN FINE SHAPE
Can the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing manager index top 60 soon? It rose 2.5 points to 58.8 in August, indicating a high degree of expansion. This was the best reading on the index since April 2011. So far in 2017, the factory PMI has averaged a reading of 56.7.
WALL STREET ENDS THE SUMMER WITH A RALLY
All three major U.S. stock benchmarks gained ground last week. Out in front was the Nasdaq Composite, which added 2.71% in five days to settle at 6,435.33 Friday. The S&P 500 rose 1.37% for the week, closing September 1 at 2,476.55. As for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, it moved north 0.80% to 21,987.56. The CBOE VIX dropped 10.02% in five days to 10.15 at Friday’s closing bell. One last detail worth noting: the NYSE Arca Biotech index jumped 8.98% last week to go up 37.65% on the year.