Earlier this morning, the U.S. Department of Labor released its monthly non-farm payrolls report, also known as the unemployment report, and in direct contrast to what Wall Street economists were expecting, the report shows what we have been saying for some time now — the U.S. economy is continuing to slow.
Worst yet, the one factor that had previously lent support to the economy — employment — appears to be cracking. This is a development you shouldn't take lightly, because if employment growth continues to slow, consumer spending will likely fall dramatically. And don't forget, consumer spending accounts for approximately 70 percent of the U.S.'s total output of goods and services — GDP.
Here are some specifics on the latest payrolls report: non-farm payrolls rose by only 92,000 in July, compared to Wall Street economists' expectations of 127,000 new jobs. July's non-farm payrolls figure compares to an average increase of 142,000 over the previous three months.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate rose to 4.6 percent from 4.5 percent, and the number of weekly hours worked by production workers — a leading economic indicator — fell during July. Employment in the important manufacturing sector fell by 2,000, following a decline of 13,000 in the prior month.
Hence, you might want to stop listening to the Wall Street experts and to instead just use basic sense to determine what you think might happen over the coming months. Here are a few points to ponder: Home values have fallen during each of the past three months, consumer debt levels are near all-time highs, and the subprime mortgage debacle is just getting started.
So, with the back-to-school shopping season just around the corner, do you really think consumer spending will rise in the months ahead? Well, I surely can't think of any reason why consumers would all of a sudden start to spend money at the local mall.
But, not to worry, every crisis creates an opportunity, and I see plenty of opportunities on the horizon. For some ideas on how you can potentially profit from a slowing economy, I suggest you read our Financial Intelligence Report.
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