TheGrio and CNBC team up to deliver a weekly report of money matters and market updates for our community.
CNBC’s Shartia Brantley reports:
Last week there was quite a bit of economic data to sift through. ISM manufacturing sector data showed slower growth in July, while the service sector surprisingly shifted to the upside. The NAR Pending Home Sales Index, which measures housing contract activity, dipped nearly 3 percent in June to its lowest rate since record keeping began in 2001.
Investors also anxiously awaited the July jobs report from the Dept. of Labor. The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.5 percent as the private sector added 71,000 jobs. African-American unemployment edged up to 15.6 percent, while black teen unemployment rose to 40.6 percent, the highest of any group.
In the week ahead, investors await a Fed decision on interest rates, and reports on small business and consumer sentiment.
The Federal Reserve Board will meet to discuss the economy and determine interest rates. The Fed funds rate, which affects mortgage, credit card and student loan rates, has been in the zero to 0.25 percent range since December 2008.
We’ll check the pulse of small businesses with the July 2010 Index of Small Business Optimism from the NFIB. Small business optimism dropped 3.2 points to an 89 reading in June, reflecting company owners’ pessimism about the economy and reluctance to invest in equipment and hire workers.
We’ll get a read on the economy with the preliminary August Consumer Sentiment report from Thompson Reuters and the Univ. of Michigan. In July, consumer sentiment dropped to a 67.8 reading, its lowest level in nine months, as Americans worried about their jobs and their finances. Consumers account for nearly 70 percent of our economic activity.