U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

April 5, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The U.S. trade deficit increased from $56.7 billion in January (revised) to $57.6 billion in February. The goods deficit rose $0.3 billion while the services surplus fell $0.6 billion. Census Bureau Report

Initial jobless claims rose 24,000 to 242,000 last week. The four-week moving average increased 3,000 to 228,250.  DOL Report

U.S. News

Eric Morath of the Wall Street Journal writes that a new study by the University of Chicago found that recently-imposed trade barriers are unlikely to bring back many U.S. blue-collar jobs. The study reports that while tariffs may boost output for some domestic manufacturers, competition from China and other low-cost producers pushed the manufacturing sector to replace many lower-skilled workers with technology over the past two decades, a shift that is difficult to undo. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

April 4, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The ADP Employment Report shows that private-sector employment increased by 241,000 jobs in March, well above expectations of 185,000.  The services sector added 176,000 jobs and the goods-producing sector added 65,000 jobs. ADP Report
 
The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index edged down 0.7 percentage point to 58.8 in March. 
The New Orders Index fell 5.3 percentage points to 59.5 while the Employment Index rose 1.6 percentage points to 56.6. ISM Report
 
New factory orders for manufactured goods rose 1.2% in February following a 1.3% decline in January, and are up 7.9% on the year. 
New orders excluding transportation edged up 0.1% while new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft rose 1.4%. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that a growing share of apartment renters have no interest in owning a home as worsening affordability and rising mortgage rates pressure markets. Survey results show that 20% of apartment renters have no interest in owning a home, up from 17% in August and 13% in 2016. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, China has announced retaliatory tariffs on roughly $50 billion of American goods, including soybeans, cars, and planes. The actions come in response to recently-announced U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports that U.S. officials say are driven by unfair trade practices in China, including forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

April 3, 2018

 

U.S. News

According to Aaron Back of the Wall Street Journal, despite a strong economy and record-high consumer confidence, consumer spending has been slowing because banks are tightening lending standards. Back points to the Fed Senior Loan Officer Survey as evidence, which shows a net increase in banks reporting tightening lending standards in four of the past five quarters, a move that has happened as the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates and thereby increasing borrowing costs. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that automakers view the Trump administration’s move to relax fuel economy standards as a boon due to high demand for larger, less efficient vehicles. Automakers have long campaigned against the industry-wide target of 50 miles per gallon by 2025, which they say will cut too far into profits because consumers increasingly want bigger cars. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

April 2, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The ISM Manufacturing Index fell 1.5 percentage points to 59.3 in March. The Employment Index decreased 2.4 percentage points to 57.3 while the New Orders Index declined 2.3 percentage points to 61.9.  ISM Report
 
Construction spending was up 0.1% in February at an annualized rate of $1.27 trillion. 
Public construction fell 2.1% while private construction rose 0.7%.  Census Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that China has announced retaliatory tariffs on roughly $3 billion of U.S. goods in response to recent U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs. The tariffs target a wide range of luxury U.S. agricultural goods, along with specialized steel products and American pork. FT

According to the Wall Street Journal, vacancy rates in big U.S. malls in the first quarter of 2018 reached the highest level since 2012. Although the first quarter usually sees the weakest mall activity, experts say that this year has been especially weak despite strong overall economic activity. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

March 30, 2018

 

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that American businesses are seeking an increase in the number of H2-B visas due to an acute shortage in available labor. Requests for H2-B visas are set to surpass any previous year’s total, as a multi-decade low unemployment rate and an improving economy have seen the pool of available labor shrink notably. WSJ

Sharon Nunn of the Wall Street Journal writes that lower-income Americans were responsible for the improvement in consumer sentiment this month. The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose in March, driven entirely by the improving outlook of households in the bottom third of the income distribution, while households in the upper end of the income distribution expressed concerns with recent tariffs. WSJ

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