IN FOCUS: Trending – Cold snap

Posted on Jun 1, 2015 :: Features
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Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

This past winter in Wisconsin and across the nation was brutal and never-ending.

There were weeks of subzero temperatures and snowfall in places where it usually doesn’t snow. During times like these, everything moves a little slower, including economic activity.

Recent economic reports show that although some parts of the economy did well, many others missed expectations. After two quarters of good numbers in 2014, economic growth slowed from 2.2 percent to 0.2 percent in 2015. The winter weather certainly holds some of the blame, but summer is here and other factors are at play. For example, declining oil prices have forced energy-dependent states to cut jobs. Texas and Oklahoma were hit the hardest with layoffs even though overall, the unemployment rate for the U.S. has fallen.

Despite weakening economic growth, John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, says the job market has shown “good momentum.” The U.S. created 223,000 jobs in April and unemployment is down to 5.4 percent. Hopefully, this momentum will carry through the rest of the year.

clearTREND research produced by our firm in Appleton indicates upward trends in most U.S. stocks despite weakness in small-cap stocks and real estate. Our U.S. Economic Health Index shows that 70 percent of U.S. sectors are expanding while 17 percent are contracting.

“It’s especially important to watch for good economic news,” says Alexander Hunt, advisor to Private Clients and Retirement Plans. “The Federal Reserve is looking for opportunities to raise rates this year and good news moves us closer to that goal.”

Click here to view this month’s economic data in our digital issue.