The wealth of data released last week continued the pattern of the last three years. The economic environment of modest growth and low inflation remains in place. Growth did improve in the second quarter, with Real GDP revised upward to 3% from 2.6% in the Advance Report, with the higher number due to better consumption spending. Both personal consumption expenditures and business fixed investments were revised higher. The beginning of the third quarter appears to be following this same condition, with personal spending up 0.3% for July. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose to 122 for the second highest reading in ten years and the ISM index jumped. These two indicators of future spending and manufacturing potential would indicate even better growth going forward.

Offsetting these was the employment report for August. Job growth was less than expected, and well below the better than 200,000 average of the prior two months. It came in at 156,000. June and July were revised downward by a total of 40,000, which drops the monthly average for this year to 175,000, from 187,000. The unemployment rate increased to 4.4% from 4.3%…

ProBank Austin Advisor – September 5, 2017