U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 25, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims increased 17,000 to 233,000 last week. The four-week moving average fell 3,500 to 240,000.  DOL Report

New home sales fell 9.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 625,000 in December, but are 14.1% above the December 2016 rate.  The median sales price increased to $335,400 and the inventory of new homes jumped to 5.7 months at the current sales rate. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

Ben Leubsdorf of the Wall Street Journal writes that the recent recovery in U.S. business investment has been driven in large part by the rebound in oil prices. Firming oil prices and healthy global demand have spurred robust investment in nonresidential structures and equipment, including oil rigs and associated infrastructure. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration’s infrastructure push aims to reduce regulations and permitting times in order to encourage spending on infrastructure projects. The infrastructure program proposed by the Trump administration will also seek the majority of its funding from non-federal sources, and fewer regulatory barriers will expand the pool of available funds, supporters say. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 24, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Existing home sales fell 3.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million in December, but are 1.1% above year-ago levels.  NAR notes that despite significant headwinds, the housing market performed remarkably well in 2017 and that rising wages should help more first-time buyers purchase homes.  NAR Report
 
The FHFA House Price Index shows that U.S. house prices rose 0.4% in November and were up 6.5% from the same period last year.
  House prices rose on an annual basis in all nine census divisions, with the largest gains coming in the Mountain division. Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Senate has confirmed Jerome Powell as the Federal Reserve Chairman. Powell, who was confirmed in an 84-13 vote, will take over in February and is expected to continue Janet Yellen’s approach of cautious and gradual rate hikes. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is unconcerned that eleven nations forged a Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) agreement after the U.S. withdrew from the deal. Mnuchin reiterated that the Trump administration is amenable to bilateral deals where they do not yet exist and will continue to pursue “America First” trade policy. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 23, 2018

 

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that President Trump has imposed stiff tariffs on imports of solar panels and washing machines. The tariffs, coming after U.S. producers of solar panels and washing machines complained to the administration about a flood of cheap imports, are aimed mainly at Asian manufacturers but apply to imports from nearly every country. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, China’s shift from coal to natural gas has driven up the price of liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) around the world. China still suffers from severe pollution issues, and the shift away from coal should help boost U.S. exports of LNG in the coming years. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 22, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose from +0.11 (revised) in November to +0.27 in December.  The production, sales, and employment components made positive contributions while the personal consumption & housing component contributed negatively. Chicago Fed Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the IMF expects the global economy to accelerate in 2018 due in part to recently-passed tax cuts in the U.S. The IMF revised its estimate for global growth up to 3.9% from 3.7% and also increased its estimate for U.S. growth to 2.7%, up 0.4 percentage point from October. WSJ

According to Harriet Torry of the Wall Street Journal, the economic effects of the government shutdown that began Saturday are expected to be muted. Torry writes that although a significant number of federal workers may be furloughed, which could cause weaker payroll growth, the effects on GDP are expected to be mild, especially if the shutdown is short-lived. WSJ

Nick Timiraos of the Wall Street Journal writes that the recently-passed tax cuts are projected to balloon U.S. federal deficits to a trillion dollars per year, which could make it more difficult for federal stimulus in the event of an economic downturn. Experts warn that worsening deficits and a significant expansion of publicly-held debt will leave future policymakers with less ammunition to enact expansionary policies during the next recession. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 19, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell 1.5 points to 94.4 in January, and is down 4.1 points on the year. The Index of Consumer Expectations inched up 0.5 point to 84.8, while the Current Economic Conditions Index dropped 4.6 points to 109.2 Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House is considering San Francisco Fed President John Williams for the position of Federal Reserve Board Vice Chair. Williams has led the San Francisco Fed since 2011 and has recently proposed reevaluating the Fed’s 2% inflation target. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, less-educated Americans are seeing faster hourly wage growth than higher-educated Americans as employers in lower-skilled industries search for increasingly scarce workers. Data show that wages for workers with only a high-school diploma rose 2.3% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2017, while wages for workers with a college education inched up only 0.8% over the same period, a sign that employers are offering higher wages to attract or retain workers. WSJ

Christopher Alessi of the Wall Street Journal writes that U.S. oil output is set to surpass that of Saudi Arabia this year and move in line with Russia, the world’s leading producer. U.S. oil production is poised to exceed 10 million barrels a day in 2018, the highest level since 1970, in a production boost that has been supported by strengthening crude prices and production cuts by OPEC and its allies. WSJ

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