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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.
 

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Help Puerto Rico

Most organizations are asking for cash, rather than supplies, so they can route help to where it’s needed most more quickly. Here are some of the largest groups with campaigns underway:

 

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  • Click on the link for the latest conditions on the mountain passes.

 

  • Intersection of NW Broadway Street and NW Delaware for waterline replacement project, road closures with detours clearly marked for thru traffic, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily with roads opened nightly. Motorists are encouraged to avoid this area and use Bond Street and Wall Street.

 

  • Nels Anderson Road between Nels Anderson Place and Brandis Court, single northbound shoulder closure will be in effect, two-way traffic to be maintained. Project completion expected December 2017.