The economic recovery has slowed down a bit in the past month and could be setting up for another Spring Economic Swoon. This morning, ADP reported that private employers created 119,000 jobs in April, below the 155,000 expected, while revising the March figure to 131,000. The job market continues to jump through hurdle after hurdle as employers are loathe to take on additional employees in a somewhat shaky economy. The 2% payroll tax increase coupled with the expiration of the Bush era tax cuts, could be one of the catalysts behind the lower economic numbers.
Over in the manufacturing sector, the slowdown has already begun and is a negative factor moving forward for the U.S. economy. The ISM National Manufacturing Index was reported this morning showing activity slowed in April and barely expanded falling to 50.7 from 51.3 in March. Readings above 50 signals expansion, but this was the lowest rate so far in 2013. Within the report it showed that the employment component fell to 50.2 from 54.2 in March. The report follows weak manufacturing data from the New York and Philadelphia regions.
In a further sign of a slowing economy, the Commerce Department reported that construction spending in March declined and was due in part to the largest drop in government projects in more than a decade. Construction spending fell by 1.7% and was the second decrease in the last three months. There was some decent news within the report – residential construction gained 0.4%, while multi-family construction rose 0.3%. Overall construction activity was up 4.8% from March of 2012.
Americans across the nation were eager to borrow money to refinance their current mortgages last week, as reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The MBAs Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, rose by 1.8% in the latest week as home loan rates continue to hover near record low levels. The refinance gauge increased by 3%, but the purchase index slipped by 1.4%.