Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

Unexpectedly strong U.S. data may have helped pull the stock market out of its funk over the past few days.

Driving the news: Following Tuesday’s stronger-than-expected consumer confidence report from the Conference Board, ADP reported the biggest increase in private-sector job growth in three months Wednesday and a measure of business conditions in the Midwest rose to the highest level since the end of 2018.

  • The Chicago PMI jumped to 62.4 in September from 51.2 in August, and was well above Wall Street’s expectations of 52 (a reading above 50 indicates improving conditions).

One level deeper: New orders and production both rose to nearly two-year highs and all five main components of the index rose.

  • The Midwest region, which had suffered in 2019 as President Trump's trade war with China weighed heavily on demand, has seen particularly strong readings for its manufacturing sector in recent months thanks to a jump in car sales.

Yes, but: Like all purchasing managers indexes, the Chicago PMI only measures sentiment.

  • And while the surveys show things have radically improved, manufacturing’s sales, shipment and employment figures continue to lag well behind January and February’s levels.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet)

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If the impasse between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House on a new stimulus deal is supposed to be a crisis, you wouldn't know it from the stock market, where prices continue to rise.

  • That's been in no small part because U.S. economic data has held up remarkably well in recent months thanks to the $2 trillion CARES Act and Americans' unusual ability to save during the crisis.

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

AOC: "Extremely important" that Biden offer Bernie Sanders a Cabinet position

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes it's "extremely important" that Joe Biden offer Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions if he's elected president.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez was pressed repeatedly on policy differences between her and the more moderate Biden, including her opposition to fracking and support for Medicare for All. She responded that it would be a "privilege" and a "luxury" to be able to lobby a Biden administration on progressive issues, insisting that the focus right now should be on winning the White House.

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