Friday – October 6, 2017
The Labor Department reported on Friday that payroll growth declined in September mainly due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Non-farm Payrolls declined by 33,000 last month versus the +75,000 expected. July was revised lower by 51,000 to 138,000, while August was revised higher by 13,000 to 169,000. The decline in job growth was the first negative number in seven years, but the numbers will most likely reverse higher in the coming months as Americans rebuild after the devastation in the hurricane impacted areas.
All was not lost within the report. Hourly earnings surged by 0.5 percent from August to September versus the 0.2 percent expected. Earnings are up 2.9% year over year. In addition, the Unemployment Rate fell to 4.2%, its lowest level in 16 years. Total unemployment, or the U6 number, fell to 8.3% from 8.6% and is down from 9.3% in September 2016.
The U.S. Stock markets hit record highs on Thursday due in part to hope on tax reform and after several positive economic reports were released in the past few weeks. The closely watched S&P 500 Stock Index hit 2,549.41 at the close of trading on Thursday, up nearly 20% from the presidential election in November. Stocks are lower today as investors take some profits after the mixed jobs report.