May 24, 2012
The latest jobs numbers came out this morning and the U.S. labor market showed continued signs of slow growth.
Seasonally-adjusted claims for jobless benefits decreased by 2,000 to 370,000, while the four-week moving average—a more accurate gauge of job market health—fell 5,500 to 375,500. Economists were expecting these numbers to be flat.
While there is some worry from investors about the labor market's capacity for new growth as jobless claims meet resistance at the current 370,000 level, the optimism here is stronger—new claims last week remained near the lowest levels since the recession officially ended in mid-2009.
As I have discussed, expect this issue to be front-and-center as we head into the summer election campaign season. Right now, the November Presidential election is too close to call, but I do believe that it will give us some downside protection this summer and that any corrections for the stock market will be shallower than in recent years.
This is because that the economy and other very important topics are at the heart of both President Obama's and Mitt Romney's campaigns—and the resulting debate naturally helps boost business, consumer and investor confidence.
I'll take a look at some retail statistics in tomorrow's blog post, and then we're off for a long three-day weekend that will be much appreciated after the market turbulence so far in May.