US Employers Sit On Huge Piles Of Cash

Source: Richard Davies / ABC News

Today’s employment report from the Labor Department is the most closely watched monthly economic survey and is expected to be by far the biggest concern for the stock market today. If the number of new jobs created last month comes in somewhere above 160,000 and below 200,000, investors may be happy. But a very strong report could re-ignite fears of interest rate hikes and an early end to the Federal Reserve’s bond buying program. A weak survey would add to speculation growth is slowing down. The Dow Jones index gained 80 points yesterday after losses during the two previous days.

The jobs market has improved in the past year, but unemployment is still way above average levels. Brian Hamilton, CEO of the financial research firm Sageworks says businesses are very cautious. “Not only are companies not really hiring a ton but they’re not borrowing a bunch either.” Most firms have solid balance sheets. “The default rate for private companies is going down meaning they’re much more credit worthy and they’re much more solvent.”

But Hamilton says companies and their senior executives are also risk averse. “They really are just reluctant to take on overhead much more so than in the past.” Hamilton’s views are echoed in a new report from Federal Reserve, which says US firms are sitting on a record pile of cash. Nonfinancial corporations held $1.78 trillion in cash and other liquid assets in the first three months of this year.

To read this article in its entirety visit ABC News.