- The ISM Manufacturing Index registered 57.5 in November while the ISM Services Index recorded 55.9
- Nonfarm payrolls grew by 245,000 in November while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7%
- The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech SE is reported to have an efficacy rate of 95%
Top Three Market Headlines
ISM Indices Signal Continued Recovery: The U.S. economy continued its recovery in November, albeit at a modestly slower pace, according to surveys from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM). The ISM reported that its Manufacturing Index, which is based on surveys of manufacturing company executives, registered 57.5 in November, down 1.8 points from the October reading of 59.3. (A reading above 50 indicates an expansion of activity while a sub-50 mark reflects contraction.) This marked the seventh consecutive month of expansion for the manufacturing sector. Meanwhile, the ISM Services Index registered 55.9 in November, indicating the sixth-straight month of expansion, although at a slower pace than October’s reading of 56.6.
Jobs Expansion Slows: The Labor Department last week reported that U.S. nonfarm payrolls grew by 245,000 in November, down nearly 60% from the prior month and representing the slowest job growth since the employment recovery started in May. The warehousing and professional and business services sectors achieved the strongest growth, while the retail sector realized losses due to less demand for seasonal workers as online shopping has consistently grown. The unemployment rate continued to trend down, falling to 6.7% from 6.9% in October, but remains above the February pre-pandemic rate of 3.5%.
U.K. First Nation to Authorize Covid-19 Vaccine: The U.K. became the first Western nation to authorize the use of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech SE, which is reported to be 95% effective in preventing the virus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is set to announce its decision shortly after a review of the vaccine on December 10, while the European Medicines Agency plans to announce its decision by December 29. Two additional vaccines, developed separately by Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca, are also up for review, having reported efficacy rates of 94.5% and 69-90%, respectively. Global distribution of the vaccinations are expected to play a key role in the global containment of Covid-19 and the full reopening of the world’s economy.