Last week, a plethora of positive economic news was released, from increased consumer confidence to continued job creation. But even with the positive numbers, many are still cautious about the direction of the U.S. economy.
Here are some of the economic highlights from the last week:
- Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 4 percent in the second quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. After a negative first quarter, this rebound was higher than expected and may be a sign that the economy is gaining momentum, according to comments from The Conference Board.
- Total nonfarm employment increased by 209,000 in July, the sixth straight month of growth about 200,000. While that in itself is good news, the unemployment rate also ticked up in July to 6.2 percent – which sounds like bad news, but when taken in conjunction with the continued job growth actually means that more people are returning to the work force.
- The manufacturing sector continued to expand in July, even increasing the pace of expansion from June, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business. The July purchasing managers index rose to 57.1 percent, an increase of 1.8 percentage points from June. In addition, 17 of the 18 manufacturing industries included in the report noted expansion. The only industry report contraction in July is wood products.
- Uncertainty still remains around the Federal Reserve’s plans for interest rates. Market watchers are betting on the first increase for June 2015, but much depends on the unemployment rate. The Fed has previously said that a rate of 5.5 percent is “normal.” For now, the Fed will continue to decrease its stake in U.S. treasuries.
Get more economic news from MDM at www.mdm.com/economy.