Last Friday’s jobs report was a mixed bag of information. While 145,000 new jobs were added and the unemployment rate remained at 3.5%, wage growth was tepid in December to cap off a year of only moderate wage growth. This information, coupled with news that the Senate would receive the articles of impeachment this week, culled what was otherwise a strong week for stocks. The Dow passed 29000 earlier last week only to pull back by week’s end. In any case, most of the major stock market indexes posted gains last week, except for the small caps of the Russell 2000, which has gotten off to a relatively slow start in 2020. Conversely, the tech-heavy Nasdaq continues to post strong returns, climbing 1.75% last week and 2.30% ahead of its 2019 closing value.
LAST WEEK’S ECONOMIC HEADLINES
- There were 5.8 million unemployed persons in December, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.5%. A year earlier, the unemployment rate was 3.9% based on 6.3 million unemployed persons. There were 145,000 new jobs added in December. In 2019, employment rose by 2.1 million, down from a gain of 2.7 million in 2018. Over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.9%.
- In the latest report from the Census Bureau, the goods and services trade deficit for November was $43.1 billion, down $3.9 billion from October’s deficit of $46.9 billion. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit decreased $3.9 billion, or 0.7%, from the same period in 2018.
- According to the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®, the December non-manufacturing index was 55%, 1.1 percentage points higher than the November reading.
EYE ON THE WEEK AHEAD
This is a busy week for market-influencing economic reports, starting with the Treasury budget report for December. The government deficit has been expanding, reaching close to $1 trillion. The latest information on inflationary trends is also out with reports on consumer and producer prices. The Federal Reserve’s report on industrial production is also out at the end of the week. If surveys of purchasing managers are any indication, the Fed’s report on industrial production will show continued weakness in December.