The first quarter came to a close yesterday with the S&P 500 losing 4.8% and the NASDAQ down 10%, their worst quarterly performance since the first quarter of 2020
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the US economy added 431,000 nonfarm jobs in March, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.6%. Professional and business services contributed 102,000 to the total, while retail was up 49,000 and manufacturing added 38,000. This brings the total employment level within 408,000 of where it stood pre-pandemic.
Americans spent more in February on hotels, restaurants and other services as the omicron wave faded, governments lifted restrictions and more people went out again. They cut spending on new cars and trucks. New vehicles are hard to find because of major production delays, and even when they are ready for purchase, some customers have been put off by record prices and rising interest rates. The savings rate rose to 6.3% from 6.1%, but was still a bit below pre-pandemic levels. After soaring early in the pandemic, the amount of money people are saving has declined gradually over the past year.