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The Morning View: June 5, 2020

BY: MARSHALL BARTLETT
Senior Vice President / Portfolio Manager

Announced this morning, the economy gained 2,509,000 in May, enormously better than the 7.5 million job losses expected. Leisure & Hospitality and Construction saw marked improvement, while Health Care and Retail Trade were also higher. The Unemployment Rate fell to 13.3%, from 14.7% the previous month, reflecting the job increases. Average Hourly Earnings fell by 1.0% in May, following last month’s large increase, but has grown 6.7% on an annual basis, again reflecting the jobs lost in the low earning industries during the pandemic. Average Weekly Hours Worked moved higher to 34.7, from 34.2 in the previous month, partly due to those currently employed stepping up to handle more workload. Overall, a very strong and unexpected increase in jobs during the month and an indication the fiscal and monetary stimulus could be helping. While it is a survey of just a portion of the population, it is typically taken early in the month and gives encouragement to the notion of an improving economy. Even so, with an elevated unemployment rate, a smooth re-opening process will be key to ensuring the momentum continues in the months ahead. As we head into the market open, bond yields are higher following the report and equity futures are mixed, with the S&P and Dow higher, while technology names in the Nasdaq are slightly lower given their recent gains.

This material is intended to be for informational purposes only and is intended for current or prospective clients of Argent Trust Company. This information is obtained from sources believed to be reliable, and its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. Information does not constitute a recommendation of any investment strategy, is not intended as investment advice and does not take into account all the circumstances of each investor. Forward‐looking assumptions are Argent Trust Company’s current estimates or expectations of future events or future results based on proprietary research and should not be construed as an estimate or promise of results that a portfolio may achieve. Actual results could differ materially from the results indicated by this information. Investments can go down as well as up. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.