Lower unemployment, more jobs, and records on Wall Street start the 6th year of economic recovery since the Great Recession ended in June of 2009.
According to the Labor Department nearly 290,000 jobs were created last month pushing the unemployment rate down to 6.1 percent.
The infusion of more than 200,000 jobs for the 5th straight month in a row was the best showing in nearly 6 years. However, many have stopped looking for work and more than 30 states have failed to recover jobs lost in the worst downturn since the 1930s.
While the number of jobs created has risen, orders for factory goods declined 0.5 of one percent in May ending 3 months of gains.
And the U.S. trade deficit fell 5.6 in June, as U.S. exports hit an all-time high and imports dipped slightly.
All the news had the bulls running the bears out of Wall Street during the holiday-shortened trading week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average burst through the 17,000 point barrier to close at 17,068 and the S&P shattered previous records closing at just over 1,985.
As the bulls were charging through Wall Street, summer storms were pounding the nation’s midsection and wild fires were burning in the West. A deluge of rain, tornadoes and damaging winds hit the Corn Belt this week. And as June came to a close, inclement weather had killed at least three people and done more than $30 million worth of damage in Minnesota alone.
Mother Nature’s month of rain ended this week, but not before leaving her mark across the Upper Midwest.
Tornadoes were limited this week, but severe weather was not. Hail damaged several acres in central Iowa. Near Adair, field after field looked like a weed eater had been taken through it, knocking over several hundred acres of corn.
The torrential rain caused problems on busy roads, even washing some of them away. In the eastern Iowa community of Fairfax, the foundation of this highway was washed away and a section of pavement collapsed. Hawkeye State Governor Terry Branstad toured this location, offering assistance to those affected. The governor has issued disaster declarations in just over ten percent of the state.
Gov. Terry Branstad, R - Iowa: “We saw a lot of down crops on the way over here. It is also bad in western Iowa as well.”
The month of June in Iowa was the third wettest on record, almost double the month’s average.
Illinois’ state climatologist says their region also was in the same boat. Four out of the past five Junes have been wetter than average. This year, it was the eighth wettest on record.
Several states have well exceeded twice the normal rainfall for the month of June.
As pumps and tile lines work to drain the water, the damage left behind in area farm fields has yet to be determined.
The old saying “rain makes grain” is holding more weight in government reports.
According to USDA, 95 percent of U.S. corn and soybeans are listed as fair to excellent.
The rain has also slowed the harvest of the winter wheat crop. USDA estimates put 43 percent of the crop is in the bin, which is 5 points off the 5-year pace.
The latest Drought Monitor from the University of Nebraska indicates slight improvement as most of the rain fell in places that already emerged from drought.
At the other end of the scale, drought conditions are beginning to take their toll in the west. Wildfires are still ravaging California and Arizona. This fire in northeastern Arizona has charred more than 2,000 acres in the White Mountain Range. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, nearly 900,000 acres have been charred this year, which is actually less than the ten-year average.