There was good news and bad news in last week’s employment report.
The good news was the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics delivered better-than-expected data about employment. In July, the U.S. economy added about 1.8 million new jobs.
That’s about 300,000 more than the Wall Street consensus forecast, according to Jeff Cox of CNBC, who reported, “…there were wide variations around the estimates as the pandemic’s resurgence dented plans to get the shuttered U.S. economy completely back online. Forecasts ranged from a decline of half a million jobs to a rise of 3 million…”
The flip side of employment is unemployment. The U-3 unemployment rate, which reflects unemployed people who are actively seeking a job, declined in July. It has moved steadily lower during the last few months, from 14.7 percent in April to 10.2 percent in July. The U-6 rate, which includes unemployed, underemployed, and discouraged workers, has declined from 22.8 percent in April to 16.5 percent in July.
The bad news is that, despite declining unemployment numbers, the U.S. unemployment rate is now at 10.2 percent – a level that rivals unemployment during the 1981-82 recession and the Great Recession. On Friday, Matthew Klein of Barron’s explained:
“The July data were better than feared, but that doesn’t mean the U.S. economy is in good shape. The danger now is that the private sector’s slowing momentum will be exacerbated by ongoing state and local government retrenchment and the expiration of emergency unemployment benefits that had been supporting disposable income.”
It is possible emergency unemployment benefits will restart before Congress reaches agreement. On Saturday, President Trump issued an executive memo authorizing enhanced unemployment benefits of $400 a week. Three-fourths of the amount would be paid for with disaster relief funds. Regular unemployment benefits plus one-fourth of the emergency benefit would be paid by states.
It is also possible benefits won’t restart until Congress reaches agreement. “Although [President Trump] signed an order to provide enhanced unemployment benefits to millions of out-of-work Americans, it’s unclear if he has the authority to do so by executive order while side-stepping Congress. And, it could take months for states to implement,” reported Jessica Menton of USA Today.
Major U.S. stock indices finished higher for the week.
Data as of 8/7/20
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks)
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)
Gold (per ounce)
Bloomberg Commodity Index
S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.
Uncrowded. As professional sports resume play in empty stadiums, teams are finding innovative ways to support and encourage players and, sometimes, viewers. For instance:
- The U.S. National Women’s Soccer League was the first contact sports league to return to play. Its fans offer support and encouragement via social media. In July, “the nearly 20,000-member [social media] group, NWSL Supporters, raised over $5,000 to cover the players’ coffee orders at the tournament’s on-site coffee truck, reported Nicole Wetsman of The Verge.
- Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball has robots that dance to the Fukuoka Hawks’ fight song before each game. Jack Tarrant of Reuters reported one humanoid robot and several four-legged robots, “…stamped and shimmied in a choreographed dance that is usually performed by the Hawks’ fans before games…”
- S. Major League Baseball stadiums are filled with cardboard cutouts of fans. However, one broadcaster faked crowd noise and filled the stands with virtual fans in some shots, but not others. Overall, real fans were not impressed, reported USA Today.
- The National Basketball Association is bringing basketball fans courtside through a virtual experience during live games. The ‘Together Mode for Teams’ uses artificial intelligence to segment fan’s faces and shoulders and show them in courtside seats. “This new experience…gives participating fans the feeling of sitting next to one another at a live game without leaving the comfort and safety of their homes,” reported Tom Warren of The Verge.
- The Women’s National Basketball Association hosted the first ever live virtual draft by a professional league. Sports Illustrated reported, “…the WNBA draft recorded its best ratings in 16 years. While [WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert] noted fans may have been hungry for a live sporting event, she also acknowledged the importance of naming Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli, and Payton Chester, who died in a helicopter crash on January 26, as honorary draft picks.”
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish.”
--Sam Walton, Businessman and entrepreneur
Recipe of The Week
Chicken Thighs With Honey-Roasted Parsnips and Collards
Hands-On Time 25 Mins
Total Time 40 Mins
Yield Serves 4
- 1 1/2 pounds parsnips, cut into 3-inch lengths, halved or quartered if thick
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 8 small or 4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 bunch collard greens, stems discarded and leaves thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
- Heat oven to 425° F. Toss the parsnips, honey, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and brown in batches, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet; reserve the skillet. Roast the chicken in oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh registers 165° F, 5 to 7 minutes for small thighs and 12 to 15 minutes for large ones.
- Add the raisins, vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper to the drippings in the skillet and cook, scraping up the bits stuck to the pan, until the vinegar is reduced by half, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the collard greens and cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with the chicken and parsnips.
Recipe adapted from realsimple.com
19 Amazing Kitchen Decorating Ideas
The quintessential white kitchen never goes out of style. This one is made especially inviting with natural touches like flagstone floors, oak island and ceiling beams, and a farmhouse-style table. The extra seating along the island make it a comfortable spot for casual breakfasts or mid-afternoon coffee.
Tip courtesy of RealSimple.com
Wealth Managing Partners, Inc.
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https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/UNRATE#0 (or go tohttps://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/08-10-20_FRED-U3_and_U6_Unemployment_Rate-Footnote_3.pdf)
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/UNRATE#0 (or go tohttps://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/08-10-20_FRED-Current_Unemployment_Rate-Footnote_5.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-jobs-report-was-a-pleasant-surprise-but-much-of-the-economy-saw-litlle-improvement-51596841501?mod=hp_LEAD_1(or go tohttps://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/08-10-20_Barrons-Fridays_Jobs_Report_was_a_Pleasant_Surprise-But_the_Recovery_Remains_Limited-Footnote_6.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/market-data?mod=BOL_TOPNAV(or go tohttps://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/08-10-20_Barrons-Market_Data-Footnote_9.pdf)