U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 20, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims fell 15,000 to 233,000 last week.  The four-week moving average declined 2,250 to 243,750. DOL Report

The Philadelphia Fed’s Business Outlook Survey fell 8.1 points to 19.5 in July, suggesting that mid-Atlantic manufacturing continues to expand but at a slower pace.  The current shipments index fell 16.3 points to 12.2 and the current new orders index dropped 23.8 points to 2.1.  Report

U.S. News

According to the New York Times, the White House is taking a more pragmatic approach to corporate tax reform now that efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act are nearly dead.  In April, the White House proposed a 15 percent tax rate for corporations and small businesses, but is now considering a rate in the low 20 percent range — more consistent with the tax blueprint released by House Speaker Paul Ryan last year. NY Times

The Wall Street Journal reports that for the first time since late 2010, the lowest-earning Americans are experiencing the fastest annual growth in weekly pay. The authors attribute this to a broad tightening of the labor market, increased demand for workers in specific fields such as dining and entertainment, and (to a lesser extent) rising minimum wages in many states and cities. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Reserve is unlikely to raise short-term interest rates at its policy meeting next week.  A 4.4% unemployment rate would typically encourage the Fed to lift rates in order to prevent the economy from overheating; however, inflationary weakness appears more persistent than before, which may lead the Fed to keep borrowing costs low in order to strengthen price pressures. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 19, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Privately-owned housing starts rose 8.3% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.22 million (up 2.1% year-over-year). Housing permits jumped 7.4% to a 1.25 million annual pace in June and are up 5.1% on the year.  Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that many U.S. retailers are beginning to employ robots do to jobs that previously could not be automated.  Researchers say that tasks such as checking customers out, delivering purchased goods, and suggesting new products to customers are particularly vulnerable in coming years.  WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, insurance companies are facing new uncertainties this week after Republicans failed to secure enough votes to move ahead with healthcare reform. While it appears as though the Affordable Care Act will remain in place this year, insurers are unsure as to how key elements of the law will be enforced under the current administration. WSJ

Richard Rubin of the Wall Street Journal writes that after failing to pass comprehensive health care reform, Republicans in Congress plan to move on to tax reform. The House Budget Committee plans to release a 2018 budget resolution this week to initiate the tax reform process, which may receive more bipartisan support than the attempt at healthcare reform. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 18, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NAHB Housing Market Index fell 2.0 points to 64.0 in July, slightly below consensus.  While the outlook for the coming months remains healthy, builder confidence weakened due to concerns over increasing prices for inputs such as lumber.   NAHB Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration has released its blueprint for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”).  The outline includes provisions to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Canada and Mexico, as well as a proposal to prevent countries from manipulating their currencies for trade advantages. WSJ

According to the Washington Post, U.S. corporations are increasingly relocating their headquarters from traditional, suburban areas to metropolitan areas.  The shift away from suburban areas has been driven in part by the desire of young corporate workers to live in downtown areas of large cities, which may prove problematic for the economies of the small towns that these corporations are leaving. WaPo

The New York Times reports that California is a prime example of the housing shortage gripping many areas of the nation.  Factors such as restrictive zoning regulations, capped property taxes, and exceedingly high demand for new homes have come together to make housing increasingly unaffordable for many people. NYT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 17, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

The July Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that industrial activity in the New York region grew modestly, although the headline index fell 10 points to 9.8.  The new orders index fell to 13.3, the shipments index retreated to 10.5, and the index for number of employees moderated to 3.9; meanwhile, hours worked remained unchanged.  NY Fed Report

U.S. News

Laura Kusisto of the Wall Street Journal writes that some of the most popular places to live in the U.S. are suffering the most from the current shortage of new homes as residents resist new development. Builders face numerous hurdles such as restrictive zoning laws, the desire to preserve historic structures, and opposition from residents who believe that the new homes will add congestion to local neighborhoods. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that even as U.S. exports of crude oil have surged since the removal of the export ban in 2015, U.S. imports of crude oil have also grown. The majority of the increase in imports has come from Canadian oil, which is heavier than the light, sweet crude that is extracted from many of the U.S. shale plays. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal U.S. companies increased their contributions to employees’ 401(k) accounts in 2016 to 4.7% on average, up from 3.9% in 2015. Employers say that they need to spend more in order to retain the best workers while also ensuring that older, comparatively expensive workers have enough savings to retire on time to make way for relatively cheaper, younger workers. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 14, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Consumer prices were unchanged in June (up 1.6% on the year).  The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, inched up 0.1% in June and is up 1.7% on the year.  BLS Report

Business inventories rose 0.3% in May and were up 2.4% from last year.  Manufacturers’ sales were down 0.2% from April to May but were up 5.1% on the year. Census Bureau Report

Industrial production rose 0.4% in June (up 2.0% Y/Y) after rising 0.1% (revised) in the previous month.  Capacity utilization edged up 0.2 percentage point to 76.6.  Fed Report

Retail sales fell 0.2% in June but were up 2.8% on the year.  Core sales — which excludes autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services — edged down 0.1%.  Census Bureau Report

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell 2.0 points to 93.1 in the final July reading but is up 3.1 points on the year.  The Current Economic Conditions Index edged up but the Index of Consumer Expectations fell to 80.2 and is down over 10 points year-to-date.  Report

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