U.S. Economic News

February 16, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Privately-owned housing starts jumped 9.7% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.33 million (up 7.3% year-over-year). Housing permits rose 7.4% to a 1.40 million annual pace in January and are up 7.4% on the year.  Census Bureau Report
The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose 4.2 points to 99.9 in the preliminary February reading, and is up 3.6 points on the year.
The Index of Consumer Expectations rose 3.9 points to 90.2, while the Current Economic Conditions Index increased 4.6 points to 115.1. Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn does not believe that recent tax cuts and other fiscal stimuli would cause inflation to accelerate and overheat the economy. Cohn also said that the U.S. knows how to deal with inflation, which could be spurred by increasing deficits, but does not know how to deal with deflation. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, a new report from the Brookings Institution shows that many borrowers who take out so-called “jumbo” student loans of more than $50,000 fail to repay their debt. As of 2014 there were roughly 5 million borrowers with “jumbo” loan balances that represent 58% of all U.S. student debt, which could become problematic as interest rates rise and it becomes more difficult to refinance existing debt. WSJ

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