US & World Economy –
Weak second quarter job growth and earnings have dominated recent headlines. After a healthy 226,000 per month average job growth in the first quarter of 2012, a measly 80,000 jobs per month were added in the second quarter of 2012 – stalling the decline in the unemployment rate (currently 8.2%). Corporate earnings growth is also slowing. Combined with the start of a recession in Europe, this resulted in a strengthening dollar and weak commodities. The price of oil dropped, despite the continued rumbling from Iran. Add the continuing drama from Greece and Spain and you end up with heightened volatility in the financial markets and lack of confidence from investors.