On a positive note, the economy added 271,000 jobs in October, marking the biggest gain of the year. The unemployment rate fell to 5% – the lowest since April 2008, while the participation rate held at 62.4%. Hourly wages rose at the fastest year-on-year pace since the end of the recession.
The service sector grew at a faster pace in October, with the ISM non-manufacturing index rising to 59.1, as measures of business activity, new orders and employment increased. The report noted that respondents “remain mostly positive about business conditions and the overall economy”.
The manufacturing sector expanded at the slowest pace in over two years in October, as the ISM manufacturing index slipped to 50.1% – the lowest since May 2013 – while a measure of employment fell to the lowest level in six years. On the upside, a gauge of new orders rose to a three-month high. The gap between the ISM service sector index and the manufacturing index now stands at a 14-year high.
Construction spending rose .6% in September, with residential construction rising 1.8%.
The trade deficit shrank 15% in September to $40.8 billion as exports rebounded and imports fell. Exports rose 1.6% to $187.9 billion, while imports declined 1.8% to $228.7 billion, with crude oil imports dropping 12.2% to the lowest level in 10 years. The US posted a record trade surplus of $1.4 billion with OPEC nations, however, the trade gap with China hit another record at $36.3 billion.
Source: Census Bureau