Stocks got off to a notably strong start on Monday before moving somewhat sideways in the days that followed. The market jumped this week on the heels of a surprisingly strong jobs report that was released last Friday. Subsequently released economic datapoints also have been positive.
The stock market was on holiday last Friday when the Department of Labor released its March jobs report—which blew away expectations. Economists had expected the economy to add 675,000 jobs, however, the report showed that 916,000 jobs were added to the workforce in March. While we still have a long way to go to get back to pre-pandemic employment levels, labor trends have been overwhelmingly positive. In March, industries such as restaurants and hotels—which were decimated last year—saw strong hiring gains, as did construction and manufacturing. The government also released data this week showing the number of U.S. job openings spiked to a two-year high in February, a further sign that labor demand is on the rise.
Elsewhere on the economic front, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) released its March survey of services industry activity this week—and it came in at a record high number. As the weather warmed up in March, many service-oriented companies experienced a renewed surge in business. The pick-up in hiring trends has been moving in step with the improving demand trends seen from service-related companies.
In addition, President Joe Biden also was active this week. First, regarding vaccines, the U.S. is continuing to be a success story, with the daily dose rate running above three million. In light of the pace of the rollout, Biden announced that every American would be eligible for a vaccine by April 19. The president then put pressure on Congress to make significant progress on his proposed $2.25 trillion infrastructure package by Memorial Day. It’s our hope that vaccinations and fiscal stimulus will continue to stoke the fires of the U.S. economy in the near term.
Stay safe and be well.
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