Hubbub Over Jobs Number Overshadows Positive Trade Deficit Data
The U.S. created 151,000 jobs in August, short of the 180,000 economists were anticipating. While analysts and investors speculate about whether or not the low number is simply a fluctuation or a signal that the economy may be weakening, another major data point indicates that all is well.
The Commerce Department reported Friday that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed by 11.6 percent in July, much more than economists predicted. U.S. exports rose to their highest level in 10 months, an indicator that the economy seems to be firing on all cylinders.
After three consecutive months of increases, the trade deficit fell from $44.7 billion to $39.5 billion.
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Exports of U.S. goods and serviced climbed 1.9 percent to $186.3 billion in July, but not all global regions were trending in the same direction. Exports to China jumped 3.8 percent. However, exports to Europe and the U.K. fell 9.5 and 9.2 percent, respectively.
At the same time, total U.S. imports fell 0.8 percent to $225.8 billion in July.
Imports from China ticked up 2.4 percent, and the U.S.-China trade deficit rose 1.9 percent to $30.3 billion.
Despite the relatively strong trade numbers, the disappointing jobs number may be enough to eliminate the possibility of a September interest rate hike.
Clearly investors liked what they saw in the latest economic numbers. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) is up 0.5 percent on Friday.
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