- U.S. non-farm payrolls rose by 150,000 in September
- The Federal Reserve held the federal-funds target rate range at 5.25%-5.50%
- The ISM Manufacturing Index registered 46.7% in October
Top Three Market Headlines
Hiring Slows in October: The Labor Department reported last week that employers in the U.S. added 150,000 jobs in October, which was approximately half the number of additions in the prior month and the smallest monthly gain since June. At the same time, the previously-reported estimated gains for August and September were revised downward by a combined 101,000. Industries seeing the most job additions in October were health care and government, while employment in manufacturing declined due to strike activity. The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9% from 3.8% in September, while average hourly wages rose at a 4.1% annual rate, down from September's 4.3% pace.
Federal Reserve Holds Rates Steady: The Federal Reserve's policy-setting committee voted last week to maintain the federal-funds interest rate target range at 5.25% to 5.50%. This was the second straight meeting at which the Fed held the target steady after having raised it to this level in July. At the same time, the Fed continues to reduce its portfolio of securities holdings. Between these combined moves, Fed Chair Jerome Powell stated that current monetary policy is 'restrictive' and pressuring economic activity and inflation, but also noted that the latter remains well above the central bank's longer-run goal of 2%.
Business Surveys Weaken in October: Business activity across the U.S. manufacturing and services sectors weakened in October, according to surveys of executives conducted by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The ISM Manufacturing Index recorded 46.7% for the month of October, down from 49.0% in September. This was the 12th consecutive month the index fell below the 50% threshold that differentiates expansion of activity from contraction. Activity in the services sector continued to expand, as the ISM Services Index registered 51.8% for October, though this was down from 53.6% in the prior month.