Examining Employment

WEEKLY UPDATE – May 7, 2018

Domestic indexes posted strong results on Friday, May 4, as the latest labor report data lessened investors’ concerns about inflation and interest rates. Nonetheless, stocks had mixed results last week. [1]The S&P 500 dropped 0.24% and the Dow gave back 0.20%, which marked both indexes’ 2 nd week of losses in a row. [2] Thanks to a bounce in tech stocks, however, the NASDAQ gained 1.26%. [3] International stocks in the MSCI EAFE decreased by 0.57%. [4]

Amid this relatively tepid performance, we reached a big milestone on May 1: Our current economic expansion is now officially the 2 nd longest on record. For 8 years and 10 months, the economy has been growing, and many sectors still have room to advance. [5] 

As we look to better understand where we stand today, Friday’s employment report provides key insights into our economic health.

What We Learned About Employment

1. Growth Slowed

The report indicated that the economy added fewer jobs than expected in April, and average hourly wage growth also grew more slowly than forecast. Federal Reserve members watch this data closely to help anticipate changes in inflation. [6]

2. Participation Dropped

The percentage of working-age people participating in the labor force dropped by 0.1%. [7] This decline may result from people retiring or returning to school but can also come from people choosing to stop looking for work. The lower participation rate may contradict some of the more positive trends we’ve seen recently. [8]

3. Unemployment Declined

Despite missing growth projections, unemployment fell to 3.9%, the lowest point in 18 years. [9] The rate has only dropped below 4% during 3 other periods. [10] The low unemployment numbers came more from the lower labor force participation rate than from more people finding jobs. [11]

Key Takeaway

Lower participation rates could affect long-term economic growth. However, the combination of low unemployment and reasonable wage growth are likely a positive scenario for the economy. Many people who want jobs have them, but inflation should remain under control. [12]

As the bull market lumbers toward its 9 th year, many reports continue to indicate a solid economy. [13] If the economic expansion continues through July 2019, it would be the longest in history (with records going back to the 1850s).[14] While that accomplishment would be noteworthy, our focus remains on current circumstances, and striving to find insight that affects your financial future. From trade to jobs to manufacturing and beyond, we have many details to watch on your behalf.

Tuesday: JOLTS
Thursday: Consumer Price Index, Jobless Claims
Friday: Consumer Sentiment
Notes:  All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on  Morningstar.com and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
Quote Of The Week
“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
– Yogi Berra
Recipe Of The Week
Shrimp Curry Potstickers
Yield: 30 dumplings
Shrimp Curry Potstickers
  • ½ pound peeled and deveined shrimp, finely chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (about ½ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon green curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ¼ cup basil, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • About 30 round dumpling wrappers
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, optional, for frying
Thai Lime Dipping Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon green curry paste

Make filling:
  1. Stir shrimp, zucchini, curry paste, fish sauce, basil, and scallions together.
  2. Put 1 rounded tablespoon of filling in the center of a wrapper. Wet the wrapper’s edges with water using your fingers.
  3. Fold in half and seal. Pleat the seal if desired.
  4. Put sealed dumpling onto a floured or parchment-lined baking sheet. Do the same with the rest of the filling and wrappers.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon salt to a large pot of simmering water. Cook dumplings in 3 batches, stirring until the filling is cooked through, 3-6 minutes.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to move dumplings to paper-towel-lined plate.
For pan-fried dumplings:
  1. Heat a large skillet on medium-high.
  2. Put in canola oil and pan-fry boiled dumplings until golden brown and crisp, 1-2 minutes per side.
Make Thai lime dipping sauce:
  1. Stir water, lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, and green curry paste together.
  2. Serve with potstickers.
Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping [15]
Golf Tip
How to Make Your 1st Tee Your Best Shot
Your 1 st shot kind of sets the tone for the rest of your game. If you get off to a solid start, you can take confidence in knowing your game is going to go well. Knock the ball into the rough or sand bunker, and the rest of your game may take on a sour tone.
Here are 7 steps to making your 1 st shot a hot shot:
  1. Get permission from yourself to play your own game, said Dr. Bob Winters, an internationally renowned sport psychologist. Be persistent with yourself: Nothing’s going to spoil your game.
  2. Ignore the other players. Once you step up to the tee, disconnect yourself from others and don’t worry about what they think about your game.
  3. Create for yourself a safe space. Nothing matters around you. Don’t think about the other people or players on the course. Focus only on your upcoming shot.
  4. Decide before you step up to tee what kind of shot you’re going to make. Decisiveness instills confidence.
  5. Rehearsal time. Imagine your swing first in your mind. Then do a few practice swings. The real one is merely an expression of the one you’re already created in your imagination.
  6. The final strike. You’ve done all the mental preparation. Step up to the tee, and prepare to do the actual swing. Do the swing with muscle memory.
  7. Acceptance. Once you finish your swing, accept the results. If you’re on target, that’s good. If not, move on. You have 8 or 17 more chances to improve.
Tip adapted from Golfweek[17]
Healthy Lifestyle
How Do You Choose a Doctor?
Choosing a doctor may be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make in your lifetime.
Here’s what you should expect your primary-care doctor to do:
  • Recommend preventative services.
  • Treat most health problems.
  • Refer you to a specialist when needed.
Here’s what your doctor should do during your visit:
  • Treat you with respect.
  • Listen to your opinions and concerns.
  • Encourage you to ask questions.
  • Explain matters in ways you understand.
How do you find a doctor to suit your needs? 
  • Get recommendations from friends.
  • Ask your doctor for recommendations if your doctor is retiring.
What about insurance and coverage? 
  • Contact your health insurance company for a list of doctors in the insurer’s network.
  • Confirm with your chosen doctor to see if the office accepts your insurance.
Material adapted from Office of Disease Promotion and Health Promotion [18]
Zack Alkhamis CRPC, CFS
Matthew Jarrell, CFS, AIF
Timothy A. McAfee, CPA, CFP, PPC, MST

The Retirement Wealth Management Group 
7900 Kirkland Court 
Portage, MI 49024 

Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved. 
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[1]  www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/wall-st-rallies-as-inflation-fears-ebb-apple-hits-record-high-idUSKBN1I51CG
[2]  http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=SPX®ion=usa&culture=en-US
[3]  http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=@CCO

[4]  www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search

[5]  www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-01/as-u-s-expansion-hits-endurance-milestone-here-s-what-s-next
[6]  www.cnbc.com/2018/05/04/us-stock-futures-dow-earnings-trade-talks-and-nonfarms-on-the-agenda.html
[7]  www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-04/tepid-wages-participation-mute-celebration-on-u-s-jobless-rate

[8]  www.usnews.com/news/articles/2018-05-04/unemployment-hits-lowest-level-since-2000

[9]  www.cnbc.com/2018/05/04/us-stock-futures-dow-earnings-trade-talks-and-nonfarms-on-the-agenda.html

[10]  www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-04/tepid-wages-participation-mute-celebration-on-u-s-jobless-rate

[11]  www.usnews.com/news/articles/2018-05-04/unemployment-hits-lowest-level-since-2000

[12]  www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/wall-st-rallies-as-inflation-fears-ebb-apple-hits-record-high-idUSKBN1I51CG

[13]  www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-04/nine-days-one-signal-u-s-economy-is-doing-fine-if-not-great

[14]  www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-01/as-u-s-expansion-hits-endurance-milestone-here-s-what-s-next

[15]  www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a47678/shrimp-curry-potstickers-recipe/

[16]  www.irs.gov/newsroom/the-right-to-appeal-an-irs-decision-in-an-independent-forum-taxpayer-bill-of-rights-5

[17]  golfweek.com/2017/01/26/the-brain-game-how-to-make-your-best-shot-off-the-1st-tee/
[18]  healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/doctor-visits/regular-check-ups/choosing-a-doctor-quick-tips
[19] www.conservation.org/pages/tips-to-live-green.aspx#reduce-your-energy-consumption