The U.S. economy added 528,000 jobs in July as the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%. This is despite expectations that job growth would cool as tighter monetary conditions and company layoffs only increased fears of a recession.
However, the U.S. economy shrank from April through June for a second straight quarter, contracting at a 0.9% annual pace. The decline in gross domestic product (GDP) followed a 1.6% annual drop from January through March. Consecutive quarters of declining GDP constitute a (although not definitive) indicator of a recession.
Architecture firm billings continued to grow in June after a burst of stronger growth in spring. The Architecture Billings Index stands at 53.2 for June. While this is a slight decrease from May, any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.
The July Purchasing Managers Index registered at 52.8%, down 0.2 points from June’s reading. This score still indicates expansion in the overall economy as a score above 50 represents expansion.
The Consumer Confidence Index decreased again in July to 95.7 from 98.4 in June. The Present Situation Index fell to 141.3 from 147.2 and the Expectations Index decreased slightly from 65.8 to 65.3 in July.
Russia’s war on Ukraine has had a major impact on global steel supply. Ukraine is the world’s eighth largest steel producer and third largest steel exporter. When the Russian invasion first took place, steel prices increased drastically.
According to the CEO of Kyiv-based GMK Center, Stanislav Zinchencko, the war has significantly affected supply chains, leaving 90% of steel capacities non-operational.
Regardless, Ukraine is still producing steel, just at reduced capacity. And in an effort to boost the country’s economy, the Biden Administration lifted tariffs on Ukrainian steel exports in early May.
The other side, however, is that Russia remains the third-largest steel exporter in the world, even with the U.S. and Europe banning steel imports from the country.
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