U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 23, 2018

 

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that President Trump has imposed stiff tariffs on imports of solar panels and washing machines. The tariffs, coming after U.S. producers of solar panels and washing machines complained to the administration about a flood of cheap imports, are aimed mainly at Asian manufacturers but apply to imports from nearly every country. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, China’s shift from coal to natural gas has driven up the price of liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) around the world. China still suffers from severe pollution issues, and the shift away from coal should help boost U.S. exports of LNG in the coming years. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 22, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose from +0.11 (revised) in November to +0.27 in December.  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 the IMF expects the global economy to accelerate in 2018 due in part to recently-passed tax cuts in the U.S. The IMF revised its estimate for global growth up to 3.9% from 3.7% and also increased its estimate for U.S. growth to 2.7%, up 0.4 percentage point from October. WSJ

According to Harriet Torry of the Wall Street Journal, the economic effects of the government shutdown that began Saturday are expected to be muted. Torry writes that although a significant number of federal workers may be furloughed, which could cause weaker payroll growth, the effects on GDP are expected to be mild, especially if the shutdown is short-lived. WSJ

Nick Timiraos of the Wall Street Journal writes that the recently-passed tax cuts are projected to balloon U.S. federal deficits to a trillion dollars per year, which could make it more difficult for federal stimulus in the event of an economic downturn. Experts warn that worsening deficits and a significant expansion of publicly-held debt will leave future policymakers with less ammunition to enact expansionary policies during the next recession. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 19, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell 1.5 points to 94.4 in January, and is down 4.1 points on the year. The Index of Consumer Expectations inched up 0.5 point to 84.8, while the Current Economic Conditions Index dropped 4.6 points to 109.2 Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House is considering San Francisco Fed President John Williams for the position of Federal Reserve Board Vice Chair. Williams has led the San Francisco Fed since 2011 and has recently proposed reevaluating the Fed’s 2% inflation target. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, less-educated Americans are seeing faster hourly wage growth than higher-educated Americans as employers in lower-skilled industries search for increasingly scarce workers. Data show that wages for workers with only a high-school diploma rose 2.3% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2017, while wages for workers with a college education inched up only 0.8% over the same period, a sign that employers are offering higher wages to attract or retain workers. WSJ

Christopher Alessi of the Wall Street Journal writes that U.S. oil output is set to surpass that of Saudi Arabia this year and move in line with Russia, the world’s leading producer. U.S. oil production is poised to exceed 10 million barrels a day in 2018, the highest level since 1970, in a production boost that has been supported by strengthening crude prices and production cuts by OPEC and its allies. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 18, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Privately-owned housing starts fell 8.2% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.19 million (down 6.0% year-over-year). Housing permits edged down 0.1% to a 1.30 million annual pace in December but are up 2.8% on the year.  Census Bureau Report
 
Initial jobless claims decreased 41,000 to 220,000 last week. The four-week moving average fell 6,250 to 244,500.  DOL Report
 
The Philadelphia Fed’s Business Outlook Survey fell 5.7 points to 22.2 in January, suggesting that mid-Atlantic manufacturing continues to expand but at a slightly slower pace. 
The current shipments index increased 6.4 points to 30.3 while the current new orders index dropped 18.1 points to 10.1.  Report

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 17, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NAHB Housing Market Index edged down 2.0 points to 72.0 in January, but remains near record highs.  The outlook for the next six months remained solid, though builders still face increasing materials prices and shortages of labor and buildable lots.  NAHB Report
 
Industrial production jumped 0.9% in December (up 3.6% Y/Y), after contracting 0.1% (revised) in November. 
Capacity utilization also jumped 0.7 point to 77.9 in December.  Fed Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that U.S. oil and gas producers are among the companies set to suffer the most under the recently-passed tax legislation due to restrictions on tax deductions for interest payments. Limits on the amount of interest that American firms can deduct from their tax bills will affect oil and gas producers because many of those firms took on large debt burdens when oil prices collapsed in mid-2014. FT

According to the Washington Post, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is urging Congress and the White House to raise the federal gas tax by twenty-five cents in order to help fund an infrastructure bill. While advocates of the plan acknowledge that raising the federal gas tax for the first time since 1993 would be challenging in the current political environment, they say that the proposal could raise $375 billion over a decade and provide a solid foundation for an infrastructure-spending fund. WaPo

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