June 25, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index fell from 131.3 (revised) in May to 121.5 in June. Consumer Confidence declined after three consecutive monthly increases, as consumers’ assessment of business and labor market conditions became less favorable. Conference Board Report

New home sales fell 7.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 626,000 in May and are 3.7% below the May 2018 rate. The median sales price fell to $308,000 and the inventory of new homes rose to 6.4 months at the current sales rate. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

Bloomberg reports that tariffs imposed by the U.S. on Chinese goods have caused production to shift to other countries, indicating that globalization is being disrupted but has not gone into reverse. Trade among major economies including the U.S., Japan, and South Korea has fallen sharply from last year amid fracturing global supply chains. Bloomberg

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Labor Department released a proposal to create a new type of apprenticeship program administered directly by business groups, labor unions, and educational institutions rather than the federal government. U.S. job openings in April outnumbered unemployed Americans by the largest margin since 2000; most U.S. jobs, however, are in private-sector service fields, which currently have few apprenticeship programs. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

June 24, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose from -0.48 (revised) in April to -0.05 in May. The production category contributed positively, while the employment and housing & consumption categories contributed negatively and the sales, orders, & inventories category made a neutral contribution. Chicago Fed Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that U.S. companies are increasingly looking for legal loopholes to avoid or reduce costs associated with tariffs on Chinese goods. Many companies are attempting to take advantage of the “321 de minimus rule,” which allows shipments worth less than $800 to be imported tariff-free. FT

According to the Wall Street Journal, eurozone employment has begun to cool as manufacturers cut back on hiring in response to weaker global demand, putting the region’s tenuous economic recovery in peril. Germany has been hit especially hard, as tensions between the U.S. and its trading partners have created uncertainty about where companies will locate production to avoid tariffs. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

June 20, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims fell 6,000 to 216,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 1,000 to 218,750. DOL Report

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (“LEI”) was unchanged in May, following a 0.1% increase in April. Positive contributions from financial conditions and consumers’ outlook were offset by weakness in stock prices and manufacturing, with economic growth expected to moderate to 2.0% by the end of the year. Conference Board Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that home purchases by investors such as private-equity firms and real estate speculators have reached an all-time high, posing a challenge for first-time homebuyers. Growing home purchases by investors reflect strong consumer demand for rentals and unappealing alternate investments. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that Mexico has ratified the USMCA free trade deal even though the U.S. and Canada have yet to do so. President Trump’s administration is pushing Congress to ratify the agreement before their August recess but faces resistance from House Democrats concerned about labor standards, environmental provisions, and drug pricing components of the agreement. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

June 19, 2019

U.S. News

According to the Financial Times, President Trump has announced he will meet with China’s president Xi Jinping at this month’s G-20 summit to resume U.S.-China trade discussions. Despite market hopes that the meeting will culminate in an agreement to resolve rising trade tensions, President Trump indicated that the U.S. would walk away from negotiations if they are deemed unfair. FT

The Wall Street Journal reports that the boom in employee bonuses resulting from the 2017 tax cuts has faded, according to data released by the Labor Department. Smaller bonuses at the beginning of this year are consistent with data that suggest some benefits of the tax law were short-lived; another possibility is that employees are negotiating for pay raises rather than one-time bonuses in the current tight labor market. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

June 18, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Privately-owned housing starts fell 0.9% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.27 million (down 4.7% year-over-year). Housing permits rose 0.3% to a 1.29 million annual pace in May but are down 0.5% from last year. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the choice facing Fed officials at this week’s FOMC meeting is between cutting rates now if they expect the economic outlook to worsen or holding off until next month to acquire more information. The case for cutting rates is notably stronger than it was last month given increasingly mixed U.S. economic data and escalating trade tensions, and officials are mindful that historically low interest rates mean they have less room to cut in the event of a downturn. WSJ

According to the Washington Post, India has imposed tariffs as high as 70% on certain U.S. agricultural, chemical, and metal products in retaliation for the revocation of India’s preferential trade privileges. Although the retaliation affects just $241 million worth of goods – far less than the hundreds of billions affected in trade conflicts with China and Mexico – they represent a new pressure point in an increasingly tense global economy ahead of next week’s G-20 summit. WaPo