21st of December 2018, CNBC.com had this headline “The Dow just finished its worst week since the financial crisis.” The Dow and the Nasdaq Composite closed out their worst week since the financial crisis. The Dow skidded down losing 351.978 points and closed at its lowest level for 2018. Few analysts speculated that the Dow wouldn’t fall off the cliff. Bank of the West chief economist Scott Anderson echoes that sentiment: “We think the U.S. economy is performing better than the stock market right now, and we agree with the argument that you don’t go from 60 to zero overnight. We’re decelerating, the data is softening, but we’re not falling off a cliff.”
It is 2019 and the Dow and the U.S. stock market ended awfully on Friday after government data showed job creation slowed to a crawl in February, creating fears that the world’s largest economy might be crawling toward recession. With major indexes of Wall Street declining at a fast rate, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 107 points, or 0.4%.
The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks declined 0.6% to 2,732.38. All 11 primary sectors were in the red, with energy shares plunging more than 2% on average. Shares of consumer discretionary and information technology companies also declined sharply.
Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.6% to 7,381.08.
Payrolls have also missed mark by a wide margin of 88.89%. U.S. employers added 20,000 workers to payrolls last month, the slowest pace of hiring since September 2017 and way short of expectations of around 180,000, the Department of Labor reported Friday.
Investors are skeptical after economic data has shown signs of a sharp decline in housing activity. The resale market and housing for single- and multi-family dwellings plummeted in December to the lowest in three years. Productivity did improve in the last quarter of December; it is still in the red. Analysts consider boosting productivity growth as one of the biggest challenges to the US economy.