U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 27, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

New orders of manufactured durable goods jumped 6.5% in June after decreasing 0.1% in May (revised), and are up 5.0% year-over-year.  Excluding transportation, new orders rose 0.2% (up 4.9% Y/Y).  Census Bureau Report

The U.S. Census Bureau Advance Economic Indicators Report shows that the goods deficit decreased 3.7% in June.  Meanwhile, wholesale inventories and retail inventories both rose 0.6%.  Census Bureau Report

Initial jobless claims increased 10,000 to 244,000 last week.  The four-week moving average was also 244,000, unchanged from the previous week. DOL Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that Federal Reserve officials plan to begin reducing the Fed’s balance sheet “relatively soon” and unanimously voted to leave interest rates unchanged. However, Fed plans to being shrinking its balance sheet may be complicated by a looming showdown over the Federal borrowing limit, which may cause turmoil in financial markets. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, persistent weakness of the U.S. dollar against a basket of currencies has put continued downward pressure on inflation outside of the U.S.  Central bankers around the world have been attempting to stimulate inflation with loose monetary policy, but the continued appreciation of foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar has been limiting these efforts. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 26, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

New home sales edged up 0.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 610,000 in June, and are 9.1% above the June 2016 rate.  The median sales price fell to $310,800 and the inventory of new homes inched up to 5.4 months at the current sales rate. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal President Trump is considering both Gary Cohn and Janet Yellen as the next chair of the Federal Reserve. Chairwoman Yellen’s term expires early next year, and there remain three vacancies on the board of governors after Daniel Tarullo stepped down earlier this year. WSJ
 
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration still has not yet decided whether to impose tariffs on steel imports for “national security” reasons.  President Trump indicated that there is extensive study required before the U.S. makes a decision on the tariffs. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 25, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index increased to 121.1 in July following a marginal decline in June.  The Present Situation Index reached a 16-year high of 147.8 and the Expectations Index rose to 103.3 after cooling last month. Conference Board Report

U.S. News

Neil Irwin of the New York Times questions whether low productivity causes slow growth (the mainstream view held by economists), or slow growth causes low productivity.  In discussing the second possibility, Irwin notes that a tight labor market and rising wages may, “get companies to consider more of those big-ticket innovations that generate productivity growth.” NY Times

The Wall Street Journal reports that although many large businesses have embraced flexible work practices, others are pulling back on remote-work arrangements.  Research has found that telecommuters are often more productive than their in-office colleagues, but managers are increasingly demanding more in-person collaboration and control over the workday. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 24, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Existing home sales fell 1.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million in June, but are 0.7% above year-ago levels.  NAR notes that demand remains strong, but that “severe housing shortages” have kept many would-be buyers on the sidelines.  NAR Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that while many states hit record-low unemployment in June, eight still have not recovered from the recession due to population losses and long-term declines in major industries.  Although the U.S. labor market as a whole appears to be at or near full employment, the data highlight the uneven state of local labor markets across the country.  WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. college tuition is growing at the slowest pace in decades.  The authors attribute the trend to demographic shifts (e.g., lower birth rates and an aging population) that have reduced the pool of traditional college-age Americans.  They also cite a tightening labor market, which has resulted in fewer individuals going back to school. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 21, 2017

 

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, a Federal Reserve-sponsored task force is releasing a report that identifies new ways to improve U.S. electronic payment transfer systems.  Many of the recommendations center around enabling the instant transfer of funds and bypassing some financial intermediaries, both of which can reduce processing costs. WSJ

The Washington Post reports that the share of Americans working past the traditional retirement age of 65 has reached a new high of 19% and is expected to continue rising.  Employers are reportedly offering older, experienced employees the option to work part time in order to retain their valuable skills even as they pass retirement age. WaPo

The Wall Street Journal reports that the International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) is failing to meet its own internal rules meant to encourage transparency.  IMF rules require that minutes be released within five years of most board meetings; however, IMF archives only have minutes through 2010, which has brought criticism from outside groups who wish to see more accountability for IMF decisions. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese officials say that bilateral trade talks with the U.S. have been positive and that both parties were working together to narrow the U.S. trade deficit.  The officials said that the two sides would work together to boost U.S. service exports and to reduce excess industrial capacity in China, among other things. WSJ

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