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Economic Update 09/08/15

PACE OF HIRING SLOWED IN AUGUST

Last month, 173,000 Americans found new jobs. Economists polled by MarketWatch forecast 213,000 new hires; analysts surveyed by the Wall Street Journal projected 220,000. There were definite silver linings within this disappointing Labor Department report, however. Annualized wage growth increased to 2.2%. June and July job gains were both revised north to 245,000 (and the August hiring total could also potentially be revised upward in the future). Unemployment lessened to 5.1%; the U-6 rate measuring unemployment + underemployment fell to 10.3%, down 1.7% over the past year. Finally, the economy has added jobs for 59 straight months, an all-time record.

ISM INDICES SHOW FURTHER INDUSTRY EXPANSION

Both purchasing manager indices compiled by the Institute for Supply Management remained over the 50 mark for another month in August, though both declined from their July readings. ISM’s service sector PMI came in at 59.0, down from July’s 60.3 mark. The Institute’s manufacturing PMI fell 1.6 points in August to 51.1.

A SMALL GAIN FOR FACTORY ORDERS

They increased by 0.4% in July according to the Commerce Department. The consensus forecast at MarketWatch was for a 1.0% rise. In June, factory orders were up by 2.2%.

VOLATILITY CONTINUES ON WALL STREET

Stocks took a turbulent ride last week as investors watched China and interpreted the dip in hiring and the ISM PMIs. Ultimately, the three major indices staged retreats. The Dow settled Friday at 16,102.38, the S&P 500 at 1,921.22, and the Nasdaq at 4,683.92. For the week, the Dow lost 3.25%, the S&P 3.40%, and the Nasdaq 2.99%. Gold lost 1.1% on the week to settle at $1,121.40 Friday on the COMEX. Light sweet crude ended the week at $46.05 on the NYMEX.

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