Vorisek Financial Weekly Market Update for August 9, 2017

Good morning!

How good is July’s unemployment rate of 4.3%?  The last time our nation reported a lower jobless rate was in February 2001 (16 ½ years ago).  The 7.0 million out-of-work Americans as of the end of last month (7/31/17) is less than half the 14.6 million jobless Americans that existed 8 years ago (7/31/09) in the midst of the worldwide real estate recession that had enveloped the globe (source: Department of Labor).     

Of the 524 bank failures that have occurred in the United States during the 10 years ending 6/30/17, more than half have taken place in just 4 states.  51% of the total bank failures (269) in the last decade have happened in Georgia (92), Florida (72), Illinois (65) and California (40).  9 states have had zero bank failures in the last 10 years, including Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and Vermont.  Only 6 banks have failed YTD in 2017, a far cry from the 140 banks that failed in 2009 and the 157 banks that required a bailout in 2010 (source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation).

The number of households in the United States has reached 118.90 million as of 6/30/17, an increase of 8.56 million (+7.8%) in the last 10 years.  The growth has come almost entirely in the number of families that rent instead of own.  In the last decade, the number of “renter households” has grown by 8.13 million, dwarfing the 0.43 million increase in “owner households” (source: Census Bureau).        

Notable Numbers for the Week:

1.     NOT OFTEN THIS MONTH - The last year when the high close for the S&P 500 occurred during August was in 1987 or 30 years ago.  Since 1987, the high close for the index has occurred in December 16 times (source: BTN Research). 

2.     WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY? - Of the 24 stocks in the S&P 500 stock index that gained at least +45% in calendar year 2016, 10 of those stocks have a negative return YTD through 7/31/17 (source: BTN Research).  

3.     GETTING PAID IN DIFFERENT WAYS - Wages paid to “state and local” government workers have increased +37% in the last 15 years (through 6/30/17), less than the +41% increase enjoyed by workers in the private sector over the same time period.  However, benefits (e.g., pensions, health insurance) for “state and local” government workers have increased +84% over the last 15 years while benefits have increased just +55% for workers in the private sector (source: Department of Labor). 

4.     BIG DEBT - The Congressional Budget Office predicted on 6/30/17 that “government debt held by the public” would equal 91% of the size of the US economy in 2027, its highest level since 1947 (source: CBO). 

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