Unemployment hits six-year low, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) cyber breach affected 76 million and U.S. trade gap shrunk in August

Markets were heading higher on Friday after news was released that the U.S. unemployment rate hit a 6-year low in September. The Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate sank to 5.9%, a low not seen since July 2008. The drop in jobless numbers was largely attributed to a burst in new hiring last month. There was an addition of 248,000 new jobs and the department upwardly revised July and August’s numbers to add 69,000 more jobs than previously thought. This takes the economy one step closer to the 5.5% unemployment rate, which is considered a healthy level. The jobs gains were strong amongst all sectors. There was an addition of 81,000 jobs in the professional sector, which was the most in seven-months. There was also an addition of 16,000 jobs in construction and 4,000 in manufacturing. Despite the strong growth news, there was no hourly growth in September, which is uncommon in times of healthy job growth. Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said, “Policymakers will certainly be worried by the lack of wage growth. Without substantially higher wage growth, the fear is that households will pull back on consumption if interest rates and borrowing costs start rising, snuffling out the wider economic recovery.”

Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) were trading higher after the company announced that the data breach they endured hit nearly 76 million households. The bank was affected be a cyber-security breach over the summer and was disclosed in August. The attackers were said to have stolen customers contact information, names, email addresses, phone numbers and addresses. This marks one of the largest breaches of a financial institution. The bank did say that the attackers were unable to retrieve sensitive information like account numbers, passwords and Social Security numbers.

In a separate report, the U.S. trade gap shrunk in August. The Commerce Department announced that the gap fell 0.5% to $40.1 billion, the smallest since July. The average estimate from economists was a decline to $40.8 billion. This was partially attributed to record exports. Exports were up 0.2% to $198.5 billion, while imports crept up 0.1% to $238.6 billion. The rise in exports was primarily attributed to a rise in demands for capital goods, like telecommunications equipment.

That’s all for today,

Warren Gates, Normandy Research

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