The economy is getting stronger and consumer optimism is rising. We have had a string of positive economic reports which tell us that we are moving in the right direction. For example, retail sales have indicated that consumers are spending, we added close to one million jobs in June and the first reading of economic growth for the second quarter showed that our economy grew by a robust 6.5%, though this did not meet even more lofty expectations.
Yet, every so often we get a reminder that COVID remains a lurking danger in our path to normalcy. The stock market has roared this year, but a 700+ point drop in the Down in one day in the middle of July indicated that the markets recognize this danger. Those who sold stocks seemed to have purchased bonds, because long-term Treasury rates are moving lower as the year moves on.
What happened to the higher interest rates analysts projected as the economy recovered and inflation rose? The statement of the Fed after their meeting last week, reiterated the fact that we still have a long-way to go—even without taking into consideration the danger of COVID variants. This week’s jobs report will give us an indication of whether the economy is continuing to gain strength – though the data in the report is not likely to reflect the more recent increase in COVID cases.