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The U.S. economy added 222,000 more jobs in June, a bit more than was generally expected, and the unemployment rate remained 4.4%.  Over the course of the past year, average wages have increased 2.5%.  Since mid-2009, average earnings have increased 2.2% annually which is significantly less than the economic expansions of the 2000s (3.0%), 1990s (3.2%), or the 1980s (3.3%). The average work week in June increased by six minutes to 34.5 hours.  So far we have averaged 180,000 new jobs per month in 2017 after averaging 187,000 in 2016.

The Labor Force Participation Rate edged higher to 62.8%, but this statistic has been bouncing around in the same range for the past several years after the post-recession decrease.


The markets had another up and down week, or more accurately, another up, down, and up week.  Each of the major U.S. stock market indicators closed slightly higher than where they started.  The Dow and S&P 500 are almost identical in their total return for the year, while the NASDAQ Composite is near twice their returns due to the heavy weight of tech stocks in the NASD. For the week, the S&P 500* increased 0.08% (up 8.32% for the year).  The MSCI All Country X US* decreased 0.46% (up 12.72% for the year).  The Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index* decreased by 0.74% (up 4.41% for the year).  The HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index* decreased 0.08% (up 2.56% for the year).


The Boston Bruins professional hockey team goes up against the Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadians and the like every season in a quest for the Stanley Cup.  The team decided to take on an even bigger foe, the IRS, and won!  In the 1980s, tax law was changed so that business “meals” were only 50% deductible (to prevent the abuse of writing off the so-called three martini lunch).  The Bruins, of course, provide meals to their players when they are on the road, and decided to take a 100% deduction for this $250,000 plus expense in 2009 and 2010.  The IRS, of course, challenged seeking $85,000 in taxes.  The Tax Court sided with the big bad Bruins stating that if a meal meets certain conditions the cost is 100% deductible (including:  served in space leased by the employer, food contracted and controlled by the employer, rooms where meals served on or near business premises of employer and a hotel can be considered a business premise, meals provided on a work day).  I think most people will like this conclusion because the IRS is hated just a tad more than the New York Yankees.



MORE JOBS, NOT MUCH MORE PAY:  http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/07/us-nonfarm-payrolls-june-2017.htmlhttp://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2017/07/june-employment-report-222000-jobs-44.htmlhttps://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-adds-a-robust-222-000-jobs-in-june-1499430803
HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES!:  https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/07/07/bruins-beat-irs-tax-shootout/NylBa5SjZAMlSUKraCIB5K/story.htmlhttps://www.wsj.com/articles/in-face-off-with-irs-the-boston-bruins-win-big-1499419801