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It's been a painful year for J.C. Penney. After nearly two years of sales declines, JCP finally fired iPad-obsessed CEO Ron Johnson last spring since his aggressive rebranding strategy was simply not appealing to consumers. Mike Ullman now has the reins, and he's been helping sales steadily improve over the past six months.
Boom! Here come the jobs. According to the huge payroll company ADP, 215,000 private-sector jobs were added to the U.S. economy in November, crushing the 178,000 economists expected. ADP's numbers are an estimate -- investors are mainly focused on the official jobs report from the Labor Department due Friday morning (think of ADP as a nice appetizer).
Small-Business Saturday paid off, with a shocking 102,000 of the new jobs coming from companies of 49 workers or less in size (where incentives include the best Christmas parties and more intimate intra-company dating drama). Small businesses are able to pounce on smaller growth opportunities to create jobs, which is why politicians mention their importance over and over in speeches. Speaking of politicians ...
Despite a horrible climate in D.C., the economy actually seems to be gaining steam -- businesses are moving on from the buzz-killing vibes of Congress after the government shutdown. On the flip side, Wall Street interprets this good jobs news as fuel for the Federal Reserve to slow down its stimulus policies -- but we'll have to wait till Friday's report. That's the real good blue stuff.
3. New home sales crush expectations
- Revised third-quarter U.S. GDP numbers
- Weekly Jobless Claims