Friday Economic Snapshot: Things are looking rosy

Rose-Takashi-M

Photo Credit: Takashi M, Flickr.

By Tom Kaiser
June 5, 2014
Filed under Features, Top Stories

While a big jobs report comes out tomorrow, expectations are that the U.S. economy will produce approximately 220,000 jobs, the fourth straight month that job creation has exceeded 200,000. We were still talking about Monica Lewinsky the last time the job market was this rosy — never mind that she’s still in the news.

In other, more consequential news, the stock market is steadily racing toward 17,000, the Russia-Ukraine situation has significantly cooled and Europe’s markets are showing signs of life after the European Central Bank released plans for additional stimulus.

Could the 2014 summer of growth actually pan out? Let’s take a look.

Private Employment

While ADP’s forecasts often miss the mark, the May ADP National Employment report showed private sector employment increasing by 179,000 jobs from April to May. If true — or better — it would finally put to bed talk of cold weather slowing economic growth.

The report, derived from actual payroll data, showed that job growth moderated in May, and that the job market “has yet to break out from the pace of growth that has prevailed over the last three years.”

Beige Book

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book collects economic indicators from all 12 Federal Reserve Districts, with the latest reporting that economic activity expanded in all zones during the current period.

Moderate growth was seen in Boston, New York, Richmond, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas and San Francisco, and modest in the remaining regions. Compared with the previous report, growth picked up in Cleveland and St. Louis, but slowed in Kansas City.

Also contained in the report, residential construction increased in New York, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City and Dallas, while Philadelphia, St. Louis and Minneapolis markets saw signs of weakening in home sales and construction.

Unemployment Claims

From the Department of Labor comes news that initial weekly unemployment claims increased to 312,000, a jump of 8,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This puts the 4-week moving average up 4,000 to 304,000, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week’s average.

The foundation has been laid for serious job gains, so we’ll just have to see if the nation’s employers deliver what economists are prognosticating. If so, it will mean the supposedly legendary summer of 2014 may still be on track to deliver serious economic gains.

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