Sovereign debt problems in Europe and the U.S. have been the double feature investors were forced to watch in recent days. But last Friday’s upbeat jobs report gave the audience a break from the bad news. Hopefully, it’s not just a short intermission. Economic data for last week include:
- U.S. construction spending rebounded 1.4% month-over-month in August, offsetting the revised 1.4% drop in July which was previously a 1.3% decline.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) jobs report showed an upbeat 103,000 jobs gained in September. Revisions for the prior two months added an additional 98,000 jobs.
- The ADP employment survey reported a rise of 91,000 private payrolls in September after showing an 89,000 private payrolls gain in August.
- U.S. vehicle sales reportedly rose a seasonally adjusted 8% over August to 13.1 million annualized units in September, the highest total rate since April 2011.
- International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) reported chain store sales, excluding Wal-Mart, also rose a healthy 5.5% over last September.
- Wholesale trade sales rose 1.0% over July, while inventories jumped 0.4%, pushing the inventory-to-sales ratio down to 1.16 in August from 1.17 in July.
- U.S. factory orders jumped 2.4% in July, after June numbers were revised to a 0.4% drop.
- The ISM manufacturing index rose 1 point to 51.6 in September. The ISM nonmanufacturing index edged down 0.3 points to 53.0 for the same month. Both were better than market expectations.
- U.S. factory orders dipped 0.2% month-over-month in August, as did manufacturers’ shipments. The inventories-to-shipments ratio inched up to 1.34 in August from 1.33 in July.
- Initial jobless claims rose 6,000 to 401,000 in the week ended October 1. The prior week finally dipped below the 400,000 threshold level indicating a jobs recovery, only the second time since April. Continuing claims slid 52,000 to 3.7 million in the prior week.
- Consumer credit fell by $9.5 billion in August, the first decline since September 2010.
- Oil prices rose slightly to $83/barrel on Friday afternoon from the prior week’s $80/barrel.
For my full economic update click here.