Why The Unemployment Rate Report Was So Shocking

It’s Friday and that means it’s time to review the latest economic data and identify which pockets of the economy are heating up and which are slowing down. Don’t worry about catching every headline and every report throughout the week—I recap all of the most important news impacting your wealth right here every Friday. Let’s take a look at this week’s big headlines:

August Payrolls Disappoint

The Labor Department reported that 151,000 payroll jobs were created in August, which missed economists’ estimate for 180,000. In addition, the July payroll was revised higher to 275,000, while the June payroll was revised lower to 271,000.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9%. That was a big disappointment, since most economists’ were expecting the unemployment rate to drop to 4.8%. Average hourly wages also only increased 0.1%, or $0.03, to $25.73. So labor economist and Fed Chair Janet Yellen is bound to be discouraged by this report.

Q2 Productivity Lower Than Expected

The Labor Department also released its productivity report earlier this week. Second-quarter productivity was revised to -0.6%, which is down from the -0.5% previously estimated. In the past 12 months, productivity has slipped 0.4%.

Manufacturing Contracted in August

The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) revealed that its manufacturing index slipped to 49.4 in August, down from 52.6 in July. That missed economists’ estimates for 52. And since any reading below 50 signals contraction, this was a truly disappointing report.

Consumer Spending Rose in July

Fortunately, the Commerce Department reported that consumer spending increased 0.3% in July, thanks in part to higher spending on new vehicles. Consumer confidence is also up, as the Conference Board reported that it rose to 101.1 in August, up from a revised 96.7 in July. Consumer confidence is now at an 11-month high.

That’s all I have for you this week; I’ll be back online on Tuesday morning (after the holiday weekend) with your weekly ratings changes.

Have a great weekend,

signed: Louis Navellier

Louis Navellier

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