U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 18, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Privately-owned housing starts plunged 12.3% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million (down 4.2% year-over-year). Housing permits edged down 2.2% to a 1.27 million annual pace in June and are down 3.0% on the year.  Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says that the U.S. economy is performing well and that the Fed should continue raising interest rates. However, Powell also highlighted the risk of permanently higher tariffs resulting from escalating trade tensions, which could force the Fed to slow the pace of rate hikes. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. seaborne imports into west-coast ports surged in June as importers stocked up on key goods in advance of new tit-for-tat tariffs. Although Chinese goods make up some 70% of imports to key ports in California, just 7% of goods would be affected by this round of tariffs. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 17, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NAHB Housing Market Index was unchanged at 68.0 in July.  Builder confidence remained strong due to robust consumer demand for new homes. NAHB Report 

Industrial production rose 0.6% in June (up 3.8% Y/Y), after decreasing 0.5% (revised) in May.  Capacity utilization rose 0.3 point to 78.0 in June.  Fed Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration has filed WTO claims against key trade partners in response to recent retaliatory tariffs. The U.S. says that the retaliatory tariffs, which came after the U.S. imposed tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, violate WTO rules while the U.S. tariffs are justified under international agreements. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 16, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Retail sales rose 0.5% in June and were up 6.6% on the year.  Core sales — which excludes autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services — were unchanged in June. Census Bureau Report
 
Business inventories rose 0.4% in May and were up 4.4% from last year.  
Manufacturers’ sales increased 0.6% and were up 5.1% on the year. Census Bureau Report
 
The July Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that industrial activity in the New York region
continued to grow at a brisk pace, as the headline index edged down 2.4 points to 22.6, still a high level.  The new orders index dipped to 18.2, the shipments index fell to 14.6, and the index for number of employees edged down to 17.2; meanwhile, the index for hours worked declined but remains in expansionary territory.  NY Fed Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that productivity growth has become increasingly concentrated within the top 5% of firms in developed nations while growth has stagnated for the bottom 95% of firms. Many of the firms enjoying strong productivity growth are large, multinational firms that can exploit economies of scale and have significant revenue streams, allowing them to better shoulder the cost of major investments. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 12, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Consumer prices edged up 0.1% in June (up 2.9% on the year). The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.2% in June and is up 2.3% on the year.  BLS Report

Initial jobless claims dropped 18,000 to 214,000 last week. 
The four-week moving average decreased 1,750 to 223,000.  DOL Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that according to a recent survey, economists expect the unemployment rate to drop to a 50-year low of 3.6% by 2019. Many surveyed economists predict that recent tax cuts and increased federal spending will strengthen demand, which should provide a boost to hiring throughout this year and into 2019. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 11, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The headline Producer Price Index (“PPI”) for final demand rose 0.3% in June and is up 3.4% since June of last year.  The core — which removes the volatile prices of food, energy, and trade services — edged up 0.3% and is up 2.7% on the year.  BLS Report

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that wholesale merchant inventories rose 0.6% in May to $633.5 billion. 
Inventories were up 5.9% year-over-year. Census Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. unveiled tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese imports, targeting products ranging from fish to luggage. Though China will likely retaliate against this latest round of tariffs, China imports less than $200 billion from the U.S., making a tit-for-tat retaliation difficult. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, stronger economic momentum has convinced some Federal Reserve officials to get on board with a faster rate hike schedule. Though some Fed officials previously advocated for a slower pace of rate hikes to avoid stifling growth, building inflationary pressures have pushed officials to consider compressing the rate hike schedule in order to prevent the economy from overheating. WSJ

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