U.S. Economic News

February 21, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims fell 23,000 to 216,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 4,000 to 235,750. DOL Report

New orders of manufactured durable goods rose 1.2% in December after rising 1.0% (revised) in November, and are up 8.1% year to date.  Excluding transportation, new orders edged up 0.1% (up 7.0% YTD).  Census Bureau Report

Existing home sales decreased 1.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million in January, and are 8.5% below year-ago levels. NAR notes that existing home sales are likely to have reached a cyclical low, however moderating home prices, rising household income, and lower mortgage rates are expected to raise home sales. NAR Report

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index declined 0.1% to 111.3 in January. The slight decrease suggests economic growth may be peaking. Conference Board Report

U.S. News

Nick Timiraos of the Wall Street Journal reports that most Federal Reserve officials last month indicated they were ready to end the run off of the central bank’s $4 trillion balance sheet this year and believed an action plan should be released soon. The Fed began to shrink its balance sheet in 2018, and believed an announcement regarding a halt in that action would provide more certainty in the process of normalizing the Fed’s balance sheet. WSJ

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