Weekly Market Snapshot

Chief Economist Scott Brown discusses the latest market data.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 235,000 in the initial estimate for August, lower than expected, but that followed more than two million jobs added in the two previous months. Softer job growth likely reflects an impact from the delta variant, but there’s a fair amount of noise in the payroll estimate (reflecting statistical uncertainty, seasonal adjustment difficulties, etc.). Payroll gains in June and July were boosted by the seasonal adjustment in education. Ex-education, payrolls have averaged a 534,000 gain over the last three months – still very strong. The unemployment rate fell to 5.2%, while the employment-population ratio edged up to 58.5%, up from 56.5% a year ago, but still well below the pre-pandemic level (61.1%). Average hourly earnings jumped 0.6% (+4.3% y/y), but these figures are distorted by compositional changes.

The rest of the week’s economic reports were generally soft. The ISM Manufacturing Index was little changed, while the Service Index – both reports showed ongoing supply chain issues. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index fell sharply. Unit motor vehicle sales tumbled 10.7%, to a 13.1 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (vs. 14.5 million in July and 15.2 million a year ago).

Next week: The economic calendar is thin. Anecdotal information, such as the Fed’s Beige Book, plays a role in Fed policy decisions (watch for an impact from the delta variant). The European Central Bank may announce tapering. The Producer Price Index should continue to reflect supply chain pressures on inflation.


  Last Last Week YTD return %
DJIA 35,443.82 35,213.12 15.8%
NASDAQ 15,331.18 14,945.81 18.95%
S&P 500 4,536.95 4,470.00 20.79%
MSCI EAFE 2,384.89 2,339.25 11.05%
Russell 2000 2,304.02 2,213.98 16.67%

Consumer Money Rates

  Last 1 year ago
Prime Rate 3.25 3.25
Fed Funds 0.07 0.08
30-year mortgage 2.93 2.85


  Last 1 year ago
Dollars per British Pound 1.3853 1.320
Dollars per Euro 1.1894 1.185
Japanese Yen per Dollar 109.88 106.19
Canadian Dollars per Dollar 1.251 1.313
Mexican Peso per Dollar 19.857 21.652


  Last 1 year ago
Crude Oil 70.37 41.37
Gold 1826.90 1937.80