Last week, investors received quite a few economic reports. The manufacturing sector expanded in April, while growth slowed in the services sector. But it was all about jobs. In April, the national unemployment rate dipped to 8.1 percent as 115,000 jobs were created. Business services and retail posted some of the biggest gains.
African American unemployment declined to 13 percent, and black teen unemployment dropped to 38.2 percent, but remains by far the highest of any group. In the week ahead, we expect earnings from Toyota, Macy’s and Kohl’s as well as reports on small business, consumer credit and sentiment.
We’ll check the pulse of small business with the April survey from the NFIB. In March, small business optimism declined to a 92.5 reading – its first decline in six months – as businesses expect lower sales and plan to hire fewer workers.
We’ll gain insight on consumer finances with the March consumer credit report, which tracks credit card, auto and student loans. In February, consumer credit rose by $8.7 billion, boosted by strong auto sales but credit card use is down.
Are you feeling better about the economy? We’ll find out with the preliminary consumer sentiment report for May. Consumer sentiment is a gauge of consumer spending. In April, sentiment rose to a 76.4 reading as consumers’ outlook on the economic recovery improved.