U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

June 17, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The June Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business activity took a sharp downturn this month, as the headline index fell 26.0 points to -8.6, its largest monthly decline on record. The new orders index declined 22.0 points to -12.0 while the shipments index fell 7.0 points to 9.7; meanwhile, the index for number of employees declined 8.0 points to -3.5 and the hours worked index turned negative, indicating a slightly shorter workweek. NY Fed Report

The NAHB Housing Market Index fell 2.0 points to 64.0 in June. All major components of the index inched lower this month, driven by persistent lot shortages and a lack of skilled labor. NAHB Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Reserve’s most recent dot plot, a chart of individual Fed officials’ interest rate expectations, shows that most officials expect the federal funds rate to remain unchanged in 2019, despite bond markets predicting at least two rate cuts this year. Escalating trade tensions have made the dot plot less useful than in the past, as the Fed’s economic outlook depends on which of two uncertain scenarios – resolved or worsening trade frictions – ultimately comes to pass. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce submitted a letter to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative calling for a reversal of tariffs imposed over the last two years and condemning proposed tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese goods. The letter comes ahead of a week of hearings on the latest proposed tariffs with a range of specialist industry groups and large U.S. companies. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

June 14, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index declined 2.1 points to 97.9 in the preliminary June reading and is down 0.3 point from last year. The Index of Consumer Expectations fell 4.9 points to 88.6, while the Current Economic Conditions Index rose 2.5 points to 112.5. University of Michigan

Retail sales rose 0.5% in May and are up 3.2% from a year ago. Core sales — which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services —  increased 0.5%. Census Bureau Report

Industrial production rose 0.4% in May (up 2.0% year-over-year) after falling 0.4% (revised) in April. Capacity utilization increased 0.2 point to 78.1 in May. Fed Report

Business inventories rose 0.5% in April and were up 5.3% from April of last year. Manufacturers’ sales declined 0.5% in April but were up 3.2% compared to a year ago. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the International Energy Agency announced a cooling global economy will likely slow growth in oil demand in 2019, despite burgeoning supply. The IEA emphasized that softening demand amid weakening economic sentiment is the market’s primary concern, echoing similar concerns expressed by OPEC and the U.S. Energy Information Administration. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

June 13, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims increased 3,000 to 222,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 2,500 to 217,750. DOL Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, China’s Vice Premier Liu He announced that external economic pressures will ultimately serve China’s long-term interests by spurring China to create stronger domestic capital markets and more innovative industrial supply chains. While avoiding mention of U.S.-China trade tensions specifically, Liu urged economists to ignore China’s monthly indicators, which have deteriorated during the trade war. WSJ

Bloomberg reports that a recent World Economic Forum report found that retirement account balances for older adults aren’t increasing on pace with life expectancies across the globe. The average 65-year-old American has enough savings to cover just 9.7 years of retirement, leaving an average retirement savings gap of 8.3 years for men and 10.9 years for women. Bloomberg

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

June 12, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Consumer prices rose 0.1% in May (up 1.8% from a year ago). The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.1% in May and is up 2.0% from last year. BLS Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that U.S. homeowners are increasingly choosing to refinance their mortgages to take advantage of low borrowing costs. Demand has also risen among home buyers, though signs of caution remain amid an uncertain economic outlook. FT

According to the Wall Street Journal, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney stated that the USMCA deal has a “better than two-thirds chance” of approval by the end of this year, though its passage is dependent on support from a majority of House Democrats. Democratic lawmakers are demanding key changes to USMCA — including stronger enforcement mechanisms and Mexican labor rights provisions — before the agreement can be brought to a vote. WSJ

United States: Macroeconomic Effects of Rising Student Loan Debt

United States: Macroeconomic Effects of Rising Student Loan Debt

June 11, 2019

Student debt is weighing strongly on the minds (and bank accounts) of many Americans. Data suggest that borrowing for college benefits the U.S. economy overall by improving access to education and increasing students’ lifetime earning potential, but it may also cause young adults to delay important milestones like getting married or buying a home. Student debt is unlikely to trigger an economic or financial crisis, but individual borrowers will be especially vulnerable during a recession.

Related Documents: Key Insight – United States: Macroeconomic Effects of Rising Student Debt