U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 19, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Privately-owned housing starts rose 3.3% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.30 million (up 12.9% year-over-year). Housing permits declined 1.4% to a 1.30 million annual pace in November but are up 3.4% on the year.  Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that San Francisco Fed President John Williams says that the U.S. economy is entering 2018 with solid momentum and the Fed should be on track for three rate hikes next year. Williams also said that Fed officials’ economic forecasts haven’t changed significantly due to the current tax plan moving through Congress, which he believes will not fundamentally alter what lies ahead for the U.S. economy. WSJ

Michael S. Derby of The Wall Street Journal reports that Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari warned yesterday that the Federal Reserve could trigger a recession by enacting too many rate hikes too soon. Kashkari also expressed concern at the flattening of the yield curve, which in the past has often signaled a looming recession. WSJ

According to The Wall Street Journal, The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the current tax bill today, with the Senate following later Tuesday or Wednesday. The bill’s passage has been seen as increasingly likely, as the House is expected to pass it comfortably, and key Senate Republicans have expressed their support for the bill in recent days. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 18, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NAHB Housing Market Index rose 5.0 points to 74.0 in December, the highest reading in over 18 years.  The outlook for the next six months improved, as the buyer traffic, current sales conditions, and sales expectations components all posted gains.  NAHB Report

U.S. News

Ben Leubsdorf of The Wall Street Journal writes that the limiting of deductions for state and local taxes in the current Republican tax plan would raise the cost of living for many individuals in high-tax states, though it is unclear whether this will lead to wealthier individuals leaving those states. Leubsdorf writes that while the cost of living may go up for high-earners, community and familial ties could limit the number of taxpayers who leave these high-tax areas. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that despite rising food costs, grocery stores are holding down prices in order to keep their business. Food costs rose 3.5% over the past year, though consumers only paid 0.6% higher prices on average, as grocers have held down prices for many staples such as milk, eggs, and meat in order to preserve their market share. WSJ

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed Former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman argues that there are significant policy changes necessary to decrease the number of prime-age men who are out of the labor force. Furman writes that many of the policies will require more spending, such as transitional unemployment insurance and training programs for workers who lose their jobs. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 15, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Industrial production edged up 0.2% in November (up 3.4% Y/Y), after rising 1.2% (revised) in October.  Capacity utilization inched up 0.1 point to 77.1 in November.  Fed Report
 
The December Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that industrial activity in the New York region grew at a solid rate, as the headline index fell slightly to 18.0, still among the highest levels in three years. 
The new orders index held steady 19.5, the shipments index edged up to 22.4, and the index for number of employees fell to 5.1; meanwhile, hours worked remained unchanged.  NY Fed Report

U.S. News

Ben Eisen of The Wall Street Journal writes that the last time policymakers ignored the flattening of the yield curve the U.S. economy was quick to enter a recession. While Fed Chair Janet Yellen says that there is reason to believe that the relationship between the yield curve and the probability of a recession may have changed, Eisen reminds readers that the last time policymakers made the same argument the U.S. entered a deep recession soon after. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that several Republican lawmakers have expressed doubts about the tax-reform process moving through Congress. Some senators have signaled opposition to the bill because they wish to see an expanded child tax credit, while other key senators have held back support for the bill until they are able to read the final version in its entirety. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 14, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Retail sales rose 0.8% in November and were up 5.8% on the year.  Core sales — which excludes autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services — also jumped 0.8%. Census Bureau Report

Business inventories edged down 0.1% in October but were up 3.3% from last year.  Manufacturers’ sales increased 0.6% and were up 7.4% on the year. Census Bureau Report

Initial jobless claims decreased 11,000 to 225,000 last week.  The four-week moving average fell 6,750 to 234,750. DOL Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Reserve voted to raise interest rates again at its recent meeting. The Fed also indicated that they expect to raise rates three more times in 2018, and that GDP growth would be 2.5% next year, up from the Fed’s 2.1% estimate in September. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 13, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Consumer prices rose 0.4% in November (up 2.2% on the year), mainly due to increases in energy costs.  The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, edged up 0.1% in November and is up 1.7% on the year.  BLS Report

U.S. News

According to The Wall Street Journal, economists expect the Fed to raise interest rates at their meeting this week and hike rates three more times in 2018. Expectations of higher interest rates have grown in recent months as the U.S. labor market continues to post solid job gains and the unemployment rate hovers near multi-decade lows. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that Congressional Republicans are moving closer to a deal on a tax reform bill. The new bill may include a corporate tax rate of 21% or 22%, a mortgage-interest deduction capped at loans of up to $750,000, and a lower top individual tax rate. WSJ

Benoit Faucon of The Wall Street Journal writes that OPEC production in November fell to its lowest point in sixth months, but U.S. producers largely filled that gap. OPEC expects U.S. production to grow by more than one million barrels per day in 2018 due to investment in shale plays and increasing well efficiency. WSJ

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