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May 7, 2018 - Examining Employment

| May 07, 2018
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Domestic indexes posted strong results on Friday, May 4, as the latest labor report data lessened investors' concerns about inflation and interest rates. Nonetheless, stocks had mixed results last week.[1] The S&P 500 dropped 0.24% and the Dow gave back 0.20%, which marked both indexes' 2nd week of losses in a row.[2] Thanks to a bounce in tech stocks, however, the NASDAQ gained 1.26%.[3] International stocks in the MSCI EAFE decreased by 0.57%.[4]

Amid this relatively tepid performance, we reached a big milestone on May 1: Our current economic expansion is now officially the 2nd longest on record. For 8 years and 10 months, the economy has been growing, and many sectors still have room to advance.[5]

As we look to better understand where we stand today, Friday's employment report provides key insights into our economic health.

What We Learned About Employment

1. Growth Slowed
The report indicated that the economy added fewer jobs than expected in April, and average hourly wage growth also grew more slowly than forecast. Federal Reserve members watch this data closely to help anticipate changes in inflation.[6]

2. Participation Dropped
The percentage of working-age people participating in the labor force dropped by 0.1%.[7] This decline may result from people retiring or returning to school but can also come from people choosing to stop looking for work. The lower participation rate may contradict some of the more positive trends we've seen recently.[8]

3. Unemployment Declined
Despite missing growth projections, unemployment fell to 3.9%, the lowest point in 18 years.[9] The rate has only dropped below 4% during 3 other periods.[10] The low unemployment numbers came more from the lower labor force participation rate than from more people finding jobs.[11]

Key Takeaway
Lower participation rates could affect long-term economic growth. However, the combination of low unemployment and reasonable wage growth are likely a positive scenario for the economy. Many people who want jobs have them, but inflation should remain under control.[12]

As the bull market lumbers toward its 9th year, many reports continue to indicate a solid economy.[13] If the economic expansion continues through July 2019, it would be the longest in history (with records going back to the 1850s).[14] While that accomplishment would be noteworthy, our focus remains on current circumstances, and striving to find insight that affects your financial future. From trade to jobs to manufacturing and beyond, we have many details to watch on your behalf.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR
Tuesday: JOLTS
Thursday: Consumer Price Index, Jobless Claims
Friday: Consumer Sentiment

Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on Morningstar.com and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


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Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P US Investment Grade Corporate Bond Index contains US- and foreign issued investment grade corporate bonds denominated in US dollars. The SPUSCIG launched on April 9, 2013. All information for an index prior to its launch date is back teased, based on the methodology that was in effect on the launch date. Back-tested performance, which is hypothetical and not actual performance, is subject to inherent limitations because it reflects application of an Index methodology and selection of index constituents in hindsight. No theoretical approach can take into account all of the factors in the markets in general and the impact of decisions that might have been made during the actual operation of an index. Actual returns may differ from, and be lower than, back tested returns.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

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  1. http://www.reuters.com/
  2. http://performance.morningstar.com/
    http://performance.morningstar.com/
    http://performance.morningstar.com/
  3. http://performance.morningstar.com/
    http://performance.morningstar.com/
  4. http://www.msci.com/
  5. http://www.bloomberg.com/
  6. http://www.cnbc.com/
  7. http://www.bloomberg.com/
  8. http://www.usnews.com/
  9. http://www.cnbc.com/
  10. http://www.bloomberg.com/
  11. http://www.usnews.com/
  12. http://www.reuters.com/
  13. http://www.bloomberg.com/
  14. http://www.bloomberg.com/
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