U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 15, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Retail sales inched up 0.1% in September and were up 4.7% on the year.  Core sales — which excludes autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services — increased 0.5%. Census Bureau Report

Business inventories rose 0.5% in August and were up 4.1% from last year.  
Manufacturers’ sales increased 0.5% and were up 7.9% on the year. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

Laura Kusisto of the Wall Street Journal writes that the U.S. housing market is running out of steam but faces a milder slowdown than it did in 2007. Kusisto argues that rising mortgage rates and slowing building activity are likely to worsen in the coming months, but because the housing market has been so slow to recover after the last recession the next slowdown will likely not be as sharp as the last. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. oil exports to China have collapsed amid the ongoing trade conflict between the two countries. Even though Beijing has not placed tariffs on American crude, the significant uncertainty arising from the trade dispute has caused many firms in China to seek other sources of crude oil because of the possibility that tariffs could be implemented on short notice. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 12, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell 1.1 points to 99.0 in the preliminary October reading, and is down 1.7 points on the year. The Index of Consumer Expectations declined 1.4 points to 89.1, while the Current Economic Conditions Index edged down 0.8 point to 114.4. Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, a recent survey of economists suggests that the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement is unlikely to affect long-run economic growth in the U.S. A majority of economists who were surveyed also said that they don’t expect the new trade deal to increase manufacturing employment, and may even reduce manufacturing employment due to higher labor costs. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that mortgage rates climbed to their highest level in over seven years this week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.9%, the largest weekly jump in nearly two years, further worsening affordability issues for many homebuyers who already face a historic shortage of homes for sale. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 11, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Consumer prices edged up 0.1% in September (up 2.3% on the year).  The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, also increased 0.1% in September and is up 2.2% on the year.  BLS Report
 
Initial jobless claims rose 7,000 to 214,000 last week.
The four-week moving average increased 2,500 to 209,500. DOL Report

U.S. News

Neil Irwin of the New York Times writes that rising long-term interest rates may indicate that the current economic expansion still has “room to run.” Irwin points out that long-term bond yields have risen in lockstep with inflation-protected bond yields, which suggests that a surge in inflation is not likely in the near-term and that economic growth should remain healthy. NYT

The Washington Post reports that the Treasury Department will soon impose new limits on foreign investment in U.S. technology companies. The new actions will limit foreign investment that includes minority, non-controlling stakes in key technologies such as aircraft development and computer manufacturing. WaPo

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 10, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The headline Producer Price Index (“PPI”) for final demand rose 0.2% in September and is up 2.6% since September of last year.  The core — which removes the volatile prices of food, energy, and trade services — surged 0.4% and is up 2.9% on the year.  BLS Report

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that wholesale merchant inventories rose 1.0% in August to $642.7 billion. Inventories were up 5.3% year-over-year. Census Report

U.S. News

Former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Edward Lazear writes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the U.S. economy is not yet overheating. Lazear argues that because the U.S. labor market is still adding jobs at a rate above that which is needed to match the population growth rate there must still be slack in the economy. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has warned China not to competitively devalue the renminbi. The renminbi is now approaching its weakest point against the U.S. dollar since 2008, which may be an intentional devaluation but also likely reflects a slowing Chinese economy, a broader emerging-market selloff, and a strengthening U.S. dollar. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 4, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims fell 8,000 to 207,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 500 to 207,000. DOL Report
 
New factory orders for manufactured goods rose 2.3% in August following a 0.5% (revised) decline in July, and are up 8.6% year-to-date. 
New orders excluding transportation edged up 0.1% while new orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft fell 0.9%. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says that the U.S. economy is benefiting from “a remarkably positive set of economic circumstances,” and believes that the current expansion could continue for the foreseeable future. Powell also stated that while the labor market seems to be approaching full employment, it does not appear to be at risk of overheating. WSJ

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