U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

November 22, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

New orders of manufactured durable goods fell 1.2% in October after increasing 2.2% (revised) in September, but are up 4.9% year-over-year.  Excluding transportation, new orders rose 0.4% (up 5.8% Y/Y).  Census Bureau Report
 
The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell 2.2 points to 98.5 in the final November reading, but is up 4.7 points on the year.  
The Index of Consumer Expectations edged down to 88.9, and the Current Economic Conditions Index moderated to 113.5.  Report
 
Initial jobless claims decreased 13,000 to 239,000 last week.  
The four-week moving average rose 1,250 to 239,750. DOL Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that Fed chair Janet Yellen is not certain whether current, low inflation is transitory. Yellen says that she is keeping an open mind about inflation and also believes that the economy is reasonably close to the central bank’s dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

November 21, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Existing home sales rose 2.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million in October, but are 0.9% below year-ago levels.  NAR notes that although the housing market gained some momentum last month, there remain significant issues of affordability and rising input costs for builders.  NAR Report
 
The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose from +0.36 (revised) in September to +0.65 in October. 
The production, sales, and employment components made positive contributions while the personal consumption & housing component contributed negatively. Chicago Fed Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that Fed Chair Janet Yellen will resign from the Fed’s board of governors after her term as chair ends. Though Yellen’s term as governor does not expire until 2024, it is customary for an outgoing Fed chair to also step down from the board of governors, which will leave four open spots on the board for the current administration to fill. WSJ

According to The Wall Street Journal, merger and acquisition activity has taken off in the U.S. in recent months. The leaders of companies that are contributing to this surge say that they are pursuing these deals to establish a bulwark against large technology firms, who are gaining an ever-increasing share of market power. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

November 20, 2017

U.S. News

Sharon Nunn of The Wall Street Journal writes that although Tennessee’s unemployment rate has fallen sharply in recent months, much of the decline is due to people leaving the workforce. Nunn highlights the issues of educational attainment and health outcomes, two factors that have caused individuals to fall out of the labor force and may make the labor market appear healthier than other measures would suggest. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration is increasing scrutiny in the employment-visa application process, which could make it harder for businesses to hire foreign workers. Some business leaders have expressed concern that they will be unable to hire highly-skilled workers who are currently in short supply, while administration officials say that they are adding much-needed security to the application process. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

November 17, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Privately-owned housing starts jumped 13.7% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.29 million (down 2.9% year-over-year). Housing permits rose 5.9% to a 1.30 million annual pace in October and are up 0.9% on the year.  Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that House Republicans have passed their tax reform bill. Now that the House has passed its bill, the Senate must pass a bill and then the two chambers must reconcile the differences between the two bills or the House must accept the Senate’s bill in its entirety. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, a new Brookings Institution paper concludes that jobs with the highest degree of digitization over the past decade have seen the fastest wage growth. The findings support the conclusion that when technology does not eliminate an occupation it often complements it, boosting worker productivity and wages. WSJ

Michael S. Derby of the Wall Street Journal writes that San Francisco Fed President John Williams argues that policymakers need to rethink how they conduct monetary policy in a changing economic and financial landscape. Williams says that the current low interest rate environment will leave the Fed little room to cut rates in the event of another economic downturn, so policymakers should consider other options for combating a recession. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

November 16, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Industrial production jumped 0.9% in October (up 2.9% Y/Y), after rising 0.4% in September.  Capacity utilization rose 0.6 point to 77.0 in October.  Fed Report
 
The NAHB Housing Market Index rose 2.0 points to 70.0 in November.  
The outlook for the next six months improved modestly, though builders still face increased shortages of labor and rising material prices as rebuilding efforts continue after recent hurricanes.  NAHB Report
 
Initial jobless claims increased 10,000 to 249,000 last week.  
The four-week moving average rose 6,500 to 237,750. DOL Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the top trade officials from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will not attend the next round of NAFTA negotiations. Although officials have targeted March 2018 for the conclusion of the talks, the three nations have made little meaningful progress towards an agreement on how to reform NAFTA. WSJ

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Treasury Department plans to increase the share of short-term debt it issues while reducing its long-term debt issuance. The Treasury hopes to reduce some of the upward pressure on long-term debt yields, a pressure that is expected to worsen as the Federal Reserve continues to reduce the size of its balance sheet in the coming years. WSJ

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