U.S. Economic News

September 6, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index rose 1.4 percentage points to 55.3 in August.  The new orders index increased 2.0 percentage points to 57.1 and the employment index improved 2.6 percentage points to 56.2. ISM Report

The U.S. trade deficit increased from $43.5 billion in June (revised) to $43.7 billion in July.  The goods deficit decreased less than $0.1 billion while the services surplus edged down $0.2 billion.  Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that Fed governor Lael Brainard says that persistently low inflation is “troubling” and that the Fed should be cautious about future rate hikes. The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, the core personal consumption expenditure index, has largely remained below the 2% target for the last five years, and Brainard argues that this may be a result of underlying shifts in the economy rather than short term factors. FT

Greg Ip of the Wall Street Journal argues that jobs lost in the brick and mortar retail industry are likely to be regained in other industries such as warehousing and shipping. Ip contends that automation and other productivity-boosting technologies usually create more jobs than they destroy by lowering prices and increasing demand for the goods or services produced in a given industry. WSJ

The New York Times writes that the U.S., Canada, and Mexico have concluded the second round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) but have made little progress. While the U.S.’ main goal is to reduce trade deficits, other key sticking points are minimum wages in Mexico and increased cross-border energy investment. NYT

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