After several months of less-than-stellar readings on the U.S. economy, including last week’s lackluster print on Q3 GDP, a few positive data points released this week offer at least some hope for optimism going forward. Both the ISM manufacturing and non-manufacturing indexes registered gains compared to the previous month and some of the key components of each index (new orders, production, exports, etc.), suggest conditions in the economy-at-large are improving, albeit at a slow pace. Today’s employment report also underpins the slow-jog recovery story as well, with payrolls increasing 151,000 during October and upward revisions to the previous two months. Of course, this pace is not enough to make a dent in the unemployment rate, which held steady at 9.6 percent last month, or significantly reduce the ranks of the long-term unemployed, but it is a considerable improvement from a 71,000 average monthly decline the previous four months.

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