The second-half economy may not be as strong as we had expected. To wit, after a reassuring 3.0% rise in GDP in the April-to-June period and encouraging early third-quarter metrics, the nation had seemed positioned for a similarly impressive final six months.
The nation will soon enter the homestretch of 2017 facing some unexpected headwinds. To wit, the economy, which stumbled out of the gate during the seasonally slow first quarter, before perking up in the second three months (when the U.S.
The economy is giving off mixed signals, with moderating employment gains, low wage growth, and slumping car sales countered by strengthening levels of manufacturing and non-manufacturing. Specifically, just 156,000 jobs were added in August, while there were downward revisions in job growth for June and July.
The nation’s economy continues to amble forward, performing in much the same unimposing fashion that it has since the recovery began more than eight years ago.
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Wall Street’s focus has shifted away from the economy to a degree. In part, this evolving emphasis is due to the calendar, as data on manufacturing, employment, homebuilding, and producer and consumer prices are already in the books for this month, although reports on consumer confidence, the gross domestic product, and durable goods orders still are a
The employment outlook remains reassuring. To wit, the nation added 209,000 jobs in July, the fifth time in seven months this year the gain has exceeded 200,000. Moreover, the jobless rate eased from 4.4% to 4.3%; the labor force participation rate edged up to 62.9%; and average hourly wages rose by nine cents, following a nickel gain in June.
The widely expected second-quarter economic comeback arrived on schedule, as a report issued late last month showed that the nation’s gross domestic product had increased by 2.6% in the second quarter, up from a listless 1.2% pace tallied in the first three months.
The economic fundamentals remain largely supportive. On point, the past few weeks have seen notable recoveries in housing starts and building permits (up 8.3% and 7.4%, respectively, in June), reassuring stability in new and existing home sales, a solid upswing in consumer confidence, and a better-than-expected 0.6% increase in the leading economic indicators
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