The Labor Department announced on Wednesday that employer job postings increased to 3.23 million in August, up from 3.17 million the prior month, according to the Associated Press. This was the largest surge in new job openings since August of 2008. While the number of new jobs opportunities is growing , there are still 14 million unemployed which results in roughly 4.3 individuals for every job opening.
Dow up on Wednesday. Futures up on Thursday
The Dow closed at 11,414 on Wednesday, an increase of 275 points or 2.5%, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The increase was led by bank stocks, including Bank of America that announced a major reshuffling of management. Additionally, a German court supported the European bailout, also increasing market relief. The markets in Asia were mixed on Thursday but European markets are up.
Beige Book notes moderate economic growth
The Federal Reserve indicated that 12 regions of the country grew slightly over the summer, based upon information from the Federal Reserve chiefs compiled on a regular basis. The increases, as reported by the Associated Press, were primarily due to an increase in consumer spending, primarily autos. Other consumer spending was flat to down. Manufacturing slowed in New York, Philadelphia and Richmond.
Fewer people self-employed
USA Today reports that fewer people are currently self-employed than in the past. In 2006, 16.6 million people indicated they were "self-employed". Self-employed means income received through a non-incorporated business. In August, 14.5 million individuals indicated they were self-employed. Why the change? Banks have tightened their credit make it harder for individuals to start a business. Vocations are changing. With the market downturn there are fewer independent contractors and real estate agents, vocations that were traditionally self-employed. Psychological issues also impact starting a business. Why take a risk in a bad economy? It is easier to continue taking an unemployment check than risk a new business venture.
Power usage falls
Residential power usage is falling, according to a report by the Associated Press. From 1980-2000, power usage grew 2.5% each year. From 2000-2010, power usage grew only 2% each year. In the future it is predicted that power usage growth will diminish by .5% each year. Why the change? Inefficient light bulbs are being replaced by more efficient lighting. Homes are becoming more efficient. Additionally, people may even be becoming more cognizant of power usage.
Norwegian krone becomes new safe haven
As the Swiss decided to limit the usage of their currency, investors looking for a new safe haven have turned their eyes to the north, with the Norwegian krone and the Swedish krona both increasing rapidly in usage in the last few days. The Krone rose 2.5% this week and the Krona rose 2%. According to the Financial Times, both economies are seen as strong and their currencies are not subject to market volatility.
Outlet malls become the back-to-school favorite
Unlike the early days of the recession when consumers avoided designer brand names, a new wave of desire for the hip clothes has returned. Yet with pocketbooks remaining slim, parents are crowding to the outlet malls to replace their children's back to school wardrobes. According to the Associated Press, 25% of parents are going to outlet malls, compared to only 16% who are going to malls. Sales at outlet malls were up 18% in August. The average family is spending $609 on back-to-school items. This totals $69 billion for retailers, slightly lower than 2010. Many traditional brands are seeing greater success in their outlet stores than in their traditional stores. This includes Ann Taylor, American Eagle and the Gap.