The Labor Department says the US economy added 211,000 new jobs in April. Of those 191,000 were in the private sector and 20,000 in government. The unemployment fell to 4.4%, lowest since May of 2007.
Worker productivity fell 0.6% in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2016, leading to a jump in labor-related costs. This was the weakest in a year. Year-over-year productivity increased at a 1.1% rate. Productivity has increased at a meager average annual rate of 0.6% over the last five years, well below its long-term rate of 2.1% from 1947 to 2016. Per unit labor costs increased at a 3.0% rate in the first quarter. (Labor Department)
The US trade balance was near flat at $-43.7 billion in March. Both imports and exports fell, signaling a decline in trade activity. Services trade activity was strong, exhibiting the continued value of good old American know-how as a national resource. (LPL Research)
Fast food purveyor YUM Brands released same-store Q1 sales at their restaurants yesterday according to a news release:
Pizza Hut: down 3%
KFC: up 2%
Taco Bell: up 8%
Join us this weekend for Financial Focus Radio when we will talk about the danger of bonds.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.