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The U.S. June 2013 Jobs Numbers: Tread Softly

Sarah Quinlan |

Many were cheered on by what seemed like a very strong U.S. jobs report for June late last week, but the numbers may not tell the whole story. Bottom line: MasterCard SpendingPulse™ believes the new jobs recovery (not a recovery, N.B., in the unemployment rate itself) to be more brittle than it appears. More importantly for the payments business, it doesn’t tell the whole story about the U.S. consumer.

While hiring may have beat the odds, some prominent questions remain: how many of these new hires were full-time jobs? How did the anticipatory disincentive of the Affordable Care Act affect hiring by small-to medium-sized employers?

These kinds of doubts are borne out by the MasterCard SpendingPulse™ U.S. Luxury Report—which excludes jewelry, by the way. In brief, the report shows luxury retail sales year-over-year declined in June 2013. As the report itself shows (subscription required) this lack of performance may indicate that consumers are in fact feeling more comfortable with the conservatism they’ve been adopting since the crisis’ inception. It is a value-for-money world since the recession.

And that kind of conclusion accords with Global Insights’ findings over the past four years.  Have consumers started to spend again? Absolutely. Are they spending as they used to? Absolutely not.

Topics: Economic Outlook

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