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…
On Tuesday, The Conference Board announced that the Consumer Confidence Index rose 2.4% in August to 122.9, up from a 120.0 reading in July and marking the second highest reading since late 2000. Consumers’ more positive assessment of present conditions was the driving factor in the overall pickup in confidence. About 35% of consumers said current business conditions are “good,” a moderate improvement from 33% in July, and the number of those reporting business conditions as “bad” fell by about 3.0%. The index’s gains bodes well for the future of household spending and indicates that Americans feel optimistic about the overall economic picture.
Second-Quarter Gross Domestic Product
In its second estimate for second-quarter GDP, on Wednesday the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.0%, up from the advanced estimate of 2.6% and well above the 1.2% growth logged for first-quarter. This is the U.S. economy’s best performance since first-quarter 2015. This latest report indicates that the U.S. economy is entering the final quarter of 2017 with newfound momentum.
Unemployment Rate Report
On Friday, the Labor Department announced that 156,000 new payroll jobs were created in August, a little less than economists’ forecast of 170,000. The unemployment rate ticked up just a bit, to 4.4% from July’s rate of 4.3%. Average hourly earnings inched up $0.03 to $26.39 from $26.36 per hour. The labor force participation rate stayed the same as July, coming in at 62.9%. Overall, the details in the report are slightly soft but not discouraging. Job gains in manufacturing surged by 36,000, the unemployment rate remains historically low and August is known to be a lighter month for hiring. It is worth noting that payroll processor ADP reported more job growth than the Labor Department, announcing on Wednesday that 237,000 private payroll jobs were created in August. In the big scheme of things, both of the reports are favorable for the future path of the job market.
That’s all I have for you this week. I am encouraged by these results, and I am certainly grateful for something positive to look toward as we watch an unbelievable ordeal unfold from Hurricane Harvey. I’ll be in touch again next week with the latest ratings out of Portfolio Grader.
Have a great weekend,