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In the News This Week

On a positive note, the economy added 215,000 jobs in July while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.3%, the lowest in seven years. The retail sector hired 36,000 workers, while healthcare companies added 28,000 and manufacturers added 15,000. On the downside, the labor force participation held at 62.6% – a 38-year low.

US employers announced plans to cut 105,696 jobs in July, marking the highest in almost four years, according to the Challenger Job-Cut Report. More than half of the cuts were due to “massive” military workforce reductions. The last time over 100,000 lay-offs were announced in one month was September 2011.

The trade gap widened 7.1% to $43.8 billion in June, driven by increased imports of autos and other goods from Europe. The trade deficit in goods with the European Union jumped 16% to a record $14.5 billion.

Source: Census Bureau

The pace of growth in the manufacturing sector slowed in July, as the ISM manufacturing index slipped to 52.7. While a measure of new orders rose to the highest since December, employment slipped.

The service sector picked up in July, as the ISM non-manufacturing index rose to the highest level since August 2005, driven by a 5.5% increase in a measure of new orders along with an increase in a gauge of employment.

Spending on US construction projects barely rose in June, logging a .1% gain and marking the smallest increase in five months, as a hefty drop in nonresidential building offset an increase in home building.

Consumers spent at a slower pace in June as demand for big-ticket items like new cars softened. Spending rose a modest .2% – the smallest gain in four months.

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