Down an additional 130 points to approximately 17,291, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is beginning to near lows not seen since the beginning of 2015. Year-to-date, the Dow has given up approximately 3%. The NASDAQ and the S&P 500 are both down during today's session as well, however, they have managed to hold onto the gains achieved since the start of 2015.
Ahead of the open, the major equity indices had gotten a slight lift before plunging back down. At first glance, observers were excited to review the July Employment report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During the month, 215,000 nonfarm payrolls were added to the economy. This surpassed expectations of 212,000. Also, June figures were upwardly revised to 231,000 from 223,000. Focusing on July, employees saw hourly wages increase by 0.2% month-over-month (after remaining unchanged in June) and their workweek increase fractionally to 34.6 hours from 34.5 hours the prior month. Surprisingly, there was not a mass exodus of workers from the labor force; the amount of workers and the labor force participation rate (62.6%) were unchanged. The unemployment rate also remained the same at 5.3%. Retail businesses created the most jobs during the month (+36,000). This is a good sign for the economy. Though consumer sentiment has remained rather low, retailers must being seeing higher traffic if they are making the decision to expand their workforces.