Latest Jobs Report Disappoints, Price Pressures Continue, Card Balances Down
In today’s Steady Investor, we dive into current news and key indicators in the market that we believe investors should consider such as:
- Mixed messages in the U.S. labor market
- Price pressures continue
- The fall of credit card debt
Mixed Messages in the U.S. Labor Market – Last week’s April jobs report puzzled many economists, who were expecting close to 1 million new jobs and instead got a seasonally adjusted 266,000. Especially disappointing was the plummet in the pace of hiring, which had hit 770,000 in March only to fizzle in April. Even still, the number of job openings in April grew, with job postings sitting 24% higher than they were in February 2020, the month leading into the pandemic. The gap between job openings and jobs added in April set off quite a bit of debate among economists and politicians alike. The actual reason for the soft showing in April could come from many factors – lack of child care, expanded unemployment benefits, persistent fear of Covid-19, or businesses not paying attractive enough wages. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, 44% of small-business owners reported job openings they could not fill in April, which was the highest reading since the 1970s.1
From Corn to Copper, Price Pressures Continue – Corn is joining a slew of other agricultural goods, raw materials, and commodities whose prices have been under pressure for the last several months. Corn is the U.S.’s largest cash crop, and its price has risen by roughly 50% in 2021, making a bushel of corn cost more than twice what it did just a year ago. Price pressures in corn and other raw goods are forcing the hands of many companies, as they scramble to pass along costs in an effort to avoid too much margin pressure. This issue has been especially prevalent in lumber, which is now four times its typical price, and copper, which recently shot through to record prices. But the widespread nature of the price pressures is what is concerning many with regards to inflation. Crude oil is putting pressure on gasoline prices, and even soybeans are trading at their highest in a decade.2
Evaluating Your Net Worth and Why It Matters!
Are you looking to improve your long-term investment strategy? Well, evaluating your net worth is a great place to start! The market is currently very volatile, and in times like these, it’s better for investors, especially those who are looking to retire, to prepare and protect their finances for what’s ahead. Here at Zacks, we want to help make the retirement process easier! One step you can take is understanding your current net worth. To help you do this, we are offering our guide, Measuring Your Net Worth.
If you have $500,000 or more to invest and want to understand how to measure your net worth, download our guide Measuring Your Net Worth.3 Simply click on the link below to get your copy today!
Download Zacks Guide, Measuring Your Net Worth3
Credit Card Debt Continues to Fall, Spurring Issuers to Step-Up Offers – Despite many of the economic struggles endured in the months after the pandemic, American households appear to be in reasonably good financial shape. One anecdotal piece of evidence: U.S. consumers are paying down credit cards at a pace not seen in years. According to Equifax, U.S. credit card balances totaled $749 billion in March, which was down 14.5% from a year prior. Consumers were also using an average of 18% of their available credit, which was down from 21% the previous year and also marks the lowest level since 2009 (according to Equifax’s records). This is great news for U.S. households, but not so much for the credit card issuers. Big issuers like Discover Financial, Capital One, and Synchrony Financial (which issues store credit cards), are reporting that balances are down – which means interest payments are also down. Of course, a few installments of government stimulus payments may have helped many families save and pay down debt, but credit card issuers are also wondering if historically low credit card balances are a by-product of the pandemic that could become more permanent. In response, many are stepping up their marketing efforts and sending new offers. If you notice more offers in the mail, now you know why.4
The Importance of Knowing Your Net Worth – If the uncertainty of today’s market has shown us anything, it is that we never know what the future holds. But that does not mean there are not steps you can take to prepare for what’s to come. Knowing your net worth can be critical to your financial well-being and can help you prepare for what’s ahead.
Evaluating your net worth may give you a better idea of where you stand in terms of your long-term investment goals. If you do not currently know your net worth, then now may be a great time to calculate it.
If you have $500,000 or more to invest and want to understand how to measure your net worth, download our guide Measuring Your Net Worth.5 Simply click on the link below to get your copy today!
2 Wall Street Journal. May 10, 2021. https://www.wsj.com/articles/corn-is-the-latest-commodity-to-pop-11620644400
3 ZIM may amend or rescind the “Measuring Your Net Worth” guide for any reason and at ZIM’s discretion.
4 Wall Street Journal. May 11, 2021. https://www.wsj.com/articles/credit-card-debt-keeps-falling-banks-are-on-edge-11620725580
5 ZIM may amend or rescind the “Measuring Your Net Worth” guide for any reason and at ZIM’s discretion.
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