Despite all the disarray and the confusion in Washington about immigration, the employment statistics remain strong. Initial jobless claims in the week ending June 16 fell to their lowest levels since the early-1970. The unemployment rate when it is next reported should show further strong results. This time around we may finally see substantial increases in wages.
But the overall economic numbers are not all that encouraging. At best they are mixed. The leading indicators for May were up a measly 0.2% after rising 0.4% the month before.
The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index in June fell to 19.9 in June from 34.4 in May. It is the lowest reading since November of 2016 amid a slowdown in new orders (17.9 from 40.6) and average workweek (24.2 from 34.4). The unfilled orders index fell to -2.7 from 15.3, first negative reading since January, suggested that the backlogs of manufacturers has diminished.
While domestic economic numbers are not a disaster they are a warning sign that the outlook is clouded. Once the Trump tariffs kick in full force and the tariffs from America’s trading partners start to bite, the picture could change dramatically and fast. The US equities indexes continue to deteriorate sharply and could fall to levels not seen in years. Should the Dow Jones 30 index close down again today it would mark the 8th consecutive daily decline. The last time that this happened was 2016. Market sentiment has definitely gone negative. The indices for the rest of the major markets are also in red territory. As this development spreads and accelerates we should see a fairly strong impact on economic expansion everywhere.