The US Added Almost 650,000 Jobs

The US Added Almost 650,000 Jobs

over 3 years ago2 mins

Looks like Americans have been keeping busy to distract themselves from one thing and another: the US economy added a higher-than-expected 638,000 jobs last month 🇺🇸

What does this mean?

The number of new hires is one of the best ways to see how an economy’s actually doing, so it bodes well that there are plenty of US businesses – particularly those in leisure, retail, and hospitality – bringing laid-off workers back into the fold. That takes the overall unemployment rate to 6.9%, down from 7.9% last month 🦠 But let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture here: there are still about 10 million more people looking for work than there were before the pandemic, while the number of long-term unemployed (i.e. those without a job for 27 weeks or more) climbed to almost 4 million – the most since 2014.

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Why should I care?

The US Federal Reserve (the Fed) said late last week that while the country’s economy has “continued to recover”, it’s still a long way off where it was. That’s more of a hedge than the central bank’s position last month, when it said economic activity had “picked up” 🏦 Tomayto, tomahto, you might think, but the language the Fed uses is important: investors watch it closely to see if it signals an upcoming tweak to its policies. In this case? There’s so much up in the air that it’s not clear what it signaled. So yep: tomayto tomahto.

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Investors only cared about one thing last week: politics. The US election caused a whole heap of turmoil in the stock market, with investors too focused on what the post-election world would look like to think about a company’s fundamentals 🙄 And overall, they seemed to think that post-election world looks pretty good indeed: the US stock market rallied higher this week, inching closer to the all-time highs it reached in September.

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