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Monthly Market Observations - May 2017


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During the month of April, the markets were preoccupied with several geopolitical issues including cruise missiles fired at a Syrian air strip, escalation of hostilities with North Korea, and the existential threat to the Eurozone tied to the outcome of the first round of the French elections. The US unemployment rate fell to 4.4% in April, the lowest level in 10 years, as employers added 211,000 non-farm payroll jobs, with little net revision for February and March. The U6 unemployment rate, which includes discouraged and part-time workers seeking full-time employment, dropped 0.3% to 8.6%, again down to pre-recession levels. The April release confirmed that the anemic March payrolls number was largely a weather specific aberration. Along with the latest Job Openings (JOLTS) at 5.7 million and ever lower jobless claims, these results confirm the continuation of a healthy US labor market which is at, or very close to, full employment.

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