When it comes to all of the different indicators used to measure the country’s economic health, especially during the run up to the presidential election, the unemployment rate is the Big Man on Campus.
“Once a month, the jobs report is going to get the most attention from the public, the politicians and the media,” says John Canally, an economist for LPL financial.
He says other numbers, like consumer spending and durable goods, deserve attention too. “Those types of reports tend to look ahead and the markets pay a little more attention to those."
As other indicators improve, Jack Ablin with BMO Private Bank says, they’re stealing some of the spotlight from the unemployment numbers, “there are more current indicators that economists can look at that to show the economy is starting to percolate.”
But given that the unemployment rate is expected to remain high for a while, people still want to hear what the Big Man has to say.