- Chart of the Week: Getting ahead in business with body language
- Video of the Week: The stock market explained
- Inc.: 5 questions great job candidates ask
- Bloomberg: 21 best and worst investments of 2013
- Business Insider: 18 best start-ups launched in 2013
- The Big Picture: 10 business lessons from The Beatles
- The Atlantic: Why millennials are so cheap
- New Republic: Statistically speaking, the greatest person in history is ...
Now that's a jobs report. According to the Labor Department, the U.S. added 203,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell from 7.3% to 7% (its lowest level since '08). That crushed economists' expectations of 180,000 jobs and a 7.2% unemployment rate. We're still 1.3 million total jobs short of pre-crisis 2008 (back when Kim Kardashian was an unknown), but the economy's gained momentum, averaging 193,000 fresh new jobs monthly since September. Now Wall Street's beginning to wonder if the Fed will slow down its stimulus policies as soon as this month.
Despite generating more media hype than a Miami Heat trade, Black Friday weekend saw 141 million shoppers hit stores -- that's just 2 million more than last year, and spending dropped by 3% to $57 billion (its first decline since '09). Shares of Macy's (NYSE:M) and Target fell early in the week as their Thanksgiving Day sales weren't as popular as your mom's turkey. Cyber Monday was dressed to impress, however, with 20% higher sales than last year.
3. Apple and Microsoft had big weeks (one good, one bad)
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) got in on some early holiday shopping, dropping a cool $200 million to buy Topsy Labs, a company that processes Twitter data, from your cousin's pseudo-inspirational sorority quotes to the world's mass wardrobe-malfunction reactions. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) took a hit after Ford CEO Alan Mulally said he won't leave the car company to replace the tech company's CEO, Steve Ballmer, who's stepping down in 2014. Rejection hurts.
4. Tesla and November car sales both pop
November motor vehicle sales hit another gear last month, accelerating 9% from a year ago for its strongest sales rate in six years. Despite the Ferrari-caliber news, shares of Ford and General Motors fell because the jump was boosted by early holiday "drive-this-car-off-the-lot-immediately" deals, so average prices of cars sold were $200 less on average from last year. In the electric world, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) jumped on word the German government isn't holding the company responsible for its recent burning-car incidents.
5. Econ data was good all around
It wasn't just the jobs market that came to play last week -- housing, manufacturing, consumer, and GDP data all brought their A-games. New home sales jumped 25% in October, rebounding from their lowest point in 2013. Manufacturing activity hit a two-year high. The Reuters/UMich Consumer Sentiment poll showed optimism surged after that pesky government shutdown. And U.S. GDP crushed expectations of 2.8% growth with a 3.6% annualized third-quarter pace. Mazel tov.
What MarketSnacks is checking out this week:
- Monday: 3 Federal Reserve presidents give public speeches
- Tuesday: NFIB Small Biz Optimism Survey
- Wednesday: The U.S. Treasury releases its budget surplus/deficit
- Thursday: Weekly Jobless Claims
- Friday: Producer Price Index
Fool contributors Jack Kramer and Nick Martell have no position in any stocks mentioned.The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Ford, General Motors, and Tesla Motors and owns shares of Apple, Ford, Microsoft, and Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.