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After a slow March, April jobs numbers came in strong.  The U.S. economy added 211,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate came in at 4.4%, the lowest rate since May 2007 (although the Labor Force Participation Rate declined to 62.9% from 63%).  There are 2.24 million more jobs in the economy now than was the case one year ago.


Average hourly earnings rose by 2.5% from the previous April to $26.19.  This is slightly slower growth than was seen in the prior couple of months, but the trend is still up.


The Federal Reserve Bank left interest rates alone this past week citing the low GDP growth numbers in the first quarter.  However, the Fed stated that it expected the slow down to be “transitory” and strongly signaled that an interest rate increase in June is likely.


The U.S. is currently going through a stretch where sweeping legislation (currently health insurance and taxes) will be proposed, discussed, debated, and reported on.  All of this will affect the markets, positive and negative.  This week the health care law passed by the House had little impact on the markets.  Positive economic and corporate earnings news moved markets upward a bit, but it was the French presidential election, that most everyone believed would go to the centrist Emmanuel Macron, that seemed to push markets up the most.  The S&P 500 closed on Friday at another record high.  For this past week, the S&P 500* increased 0.63% (up 7.17% for the year).  The MSCI All Country X US* increased 1.95% (up 12.68% for the year).  The Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index* decreased 0.26% (up 2.64% for the year).  The HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index* increased 0.01% (up 2.10% for the year).


A little over a year ago, the U.S. stock market was closely tracking the price of oil.  Not so this week.  Oil prices dropped more than 6% this past week. OPEC has cut back a bit, but U.S. shale producers have actually picked up production. Thus, global inventory has not changed much.



LOTS OF NEW JOBS: http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2017/05/april-employment-report-211000-jobs-44.htmlhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/05/05/the-u-s-job-market-is-expected-to-rebound-in-april-if-it-doesnt-that-could-be-cause-for-concern/?utm_term=.f2481deefb03
WAGE GROWTH: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/05/05/the-u-s-job-market-is-expected-to-rebound-in-april-if-it-doesnt-that-could-be-cause-for-concern/?utm_term=.f2481deefb03http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2017/05/comment-solid-employment-report.html
FED HOLDS RATES:  http://www.toledoblade.com/Economy/2017/05/04/Fed-doesn-t-change-rates-but-signals-more-hikes-ahead.html
OIL PRICES: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-slump-anew-in-fast-moving-markets-tumbling-another-3-2017-05-05