A look back at the week’s economic news shows the nation entering the fall on a strongly positive note.
Today, the Associated reports August hiring was up as were wages.
Hiring in the United States picked up in August as employers added a strong 201,000 jobs, a sign of confidence that consumers and businesses will keep spending despite the Trump administration’s ongoing conflicts with its trading partners.
The unemployment rate remained at 3.9 percent, near an 18-year low.
Friday’s August jobs report from the government also showed that paychecks are growing faster. Average hourly wages are now 2.9 percent above where they were a year earlier, the fastest year-over-year gain in eight years.
Political intrigue and anxieties over trade did little to dent a 95-month streak of job creation as employers once again fattened their payrolls, and wages kicked up.
“What’s worth noting is that even though there still remains a lot of headline noise around politics and protectionism, underneath that, the U.S. economy — and that includes labor markets — is doing quite fine,” said Michael Gapen, chief United States economist at Barclays.
“It’s only one month,” he said of the 0.4 percent wage growth, “but it would be consistent with a gradual tightening in the labor market.”
The NFIB reported small business owners plans to create new jobs were at a 45-year high, stymied only by the challenges of finding qualified employees.
Small business plans to create new jobs and job openings hit a 45-year high in August, but owners still struggled to fill their open positions, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report, released today. After posting significant gains in filling open positions in July, it slowed slightly in August, perhaps due to fewer qualified applicants.
Hiring plans remain exceptionally strong with a seasonally-adjusted net 26 percent of owners planning to create new jobs, up three points from July and hitting a new survey high.
Factory activity was also on a strongly positive trend, according to the Wall Street Journal.
American factory activity in August expanded at the strongest pace in more than 14 years, despite rising tensions with some of the U.S.’s largest trade partners.
The Institute for Supply Management on Tuesday said its manufacturing index rose to 61.3 in August, the highest level since May 2004, from 58.1 in July. Sales of factory-made products, or new orders, output and employment all grew at a faster pace in August.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced the following value put in place construction statistics for July 2018:
Construction spending during July 2018 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,315.4 billion, 0.1 percent (±1.5 percent)* above the revised June estimate of $1,314.2 billion. The July figure is 5.8 percent (±1.8 percent) above the July 2017 estimate of $1,242.8 billion. During the first seven months of this year, construction spending amounted to $740.5 billion, 5.2 percent (±1.2 percent) above the $703.7 billion for the same period in 2017.
The GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the third quarter of 2018 is 4.4 percent on September 5…
We’re also seeing a return to higher productivity, though it’s too early to determine whether it’s the beginning of a trend or an aberration.
The Labor Department on Thursday affirmed last month’s report that U.S. productivity increased at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the second quarter.
…The jump in productivity followed a tepid 0.3 percent gain in the first quarter.
Taken together, we’re entering autumn on with a strong national economy, which is very good for our state.