All eyes were on the March jobs report last week, which showed an improving labor market.
The unemployment rate held steady at 6.7% as 192,000 jobs were created. Professional and business services added the most jobs. However, African American unemployment rose to 12.4%, while black teen unemployment jumped to 36.1%, remaining by far the highest of any group. In the week ahead, we expect earnings reports from J.P Morgan, Wells Fargo and Family Dollar as well as FED, consumer credit and sentiment data.
We’ll gain insight on the health of the economy with minutes from the March Federal Reserve meeting. When the FED cut its bond buying program by another $10 billion per month and left its key interest rate, which affects mortgage, credit and student loan rates unchanged.
We’ll check on Consumer Finances with the February Consumer Credit Report, which tracks credit card, auto and student loans. In January consumer credit increased by nearly fourteen billion dollars with auto and student loans surging to a four month high.
We’ll also get the preliminary consumer sentiment report for April. In March sentiment fell to a four month low, with an 80 reading, as higher energy bills dampened outlook. Sentiment is a gauge of spending.