By Jeff Anderson, CFA
“U.S. Hiring Slowed Sharply in August. The economy added 235,00 jobs as the Delta variant appears to be weighing on consumer confidence”, was the title in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. Economists’ estimates were for 720,000. A big miss to put it bluntly. Payrolls are still 500,000 below the levels prior to the onset of the pandemic in Q1 of 2020. Despite this, employer demand for workers is still strong. We are still muddling our way back to normal and this is just another example of how disruptive this past 18 month has been. The S&P 500 shrugged this off and closed essentially flat on the day. The market continues to march higher despite these challenges. Many leading economic indicators have weakened and it’s clear, to some, that the economy is decelerating.
As Labor Day is finally upon us, money managers will be back from vacation and digesting the recent economic data. Couple that with September being historically one of the tougher months for the market, it will be interesting to see if the US equity markets can continue to march higher.
Gas Prices Soaring
Californians vacationing out of state are always pleasantly surprised at the cost of filling up their rental cars. Arizona, Florida, South Carolina, and Texas all have prices that are roughly 33% cheaper. California gas prices are even more expensive than Hawaii. How can that be? Taxes. Total taxes per gallon amount to $1.18 or 42% of the average price for a gallon of fuel in Texas. See the picture for the breakdown, compliments of the Western States Petroleum Industry.