U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

September 11, 2017

U.S. News

According to Ian Talley of the Wall Street Journal, economic sanctions have a mixed track record in achieving their desired geopolitical outcome. Talley says that the success of sanctions against North Korea will depend on cooperation from the international community and the forcefulness of specific sanction measures. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that damage from major hurricanes in the U.S. will worsen the global oil supply glut as large areas of the U.S. are shut-down, weakening demand for energy. Market watchers say that millions of barrels of crude oil will be forced into oil caverns and tankers, likely serving to depress oil prices despite efforts from OPEC countries to prop them up. WSJ

Jennifer Levitz of the Wall Street Journal writes that companies struggling to hire qualified workers are opening offices in cities with high levels of underemployed workers. Levitz says that tech firms are especially desperate for workers and are moving to cities that traditionally have not been hubs for high-tech jobs as workers are increasingly unwilling to relocate to a new city. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

September 8, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that wholesale merchant inventories rose 0.6% in July to $602.4 billion.  Inventories were up 3.3% year-over-year.  Census Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the House has passed a combined three-month debt ceiling extension and disaster relief bill that passed the Senate yesterday. The bill, which comes after President Trump reached an agreement with Senate Democrats, gives Congress much-needed time to formulate a longer-term debt ceiling extension. WSJ

Gregory Meyer of the Financial Times writes that both the Panama Canal and U.S. east coast ports have been expanded in recent years to accommodate larger ships, which could reshape the flow of goods across North America. The expansions that have been completed this year may make it cheaper to ship goods from Asia to Atlantic ports instead of Pacific ports. FT

According to the Wall Street Journal, persistently low inflation readings have forced Federal Reserve officials to reconsider the path of future rate hikes. While the Fed was planning another rate hike for this coming December, officials recently have indicated that they would like to see prices begin to rise before enacting another rate hike. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

September 7, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 1.5% in Q2 (revised) after inching up 0.1% in Q1.  In year-over-year terms, productivity rose 1.3% (revised).  Hours worked increased 2.5% in Q2 and unit labor costs edged up 0.2% (revised).  BLS Report
 
Initial jobless claims rose 62,000 to 298,000 last week, mostly due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey in the Gulf Coast region.  
The four-week moving average rose 13,500 to 250,250. DOL Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal writes that only 49% of Americans believe that earning a four-year college degree will lead to a good job and higher lifetime earnings. The skepticism about the value of a four-year degree is concentrated especially amongst people under the age of 30 and people with less than a college education. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, President Trump has agreed to a plan put forward by Congressional Democrats to raise the debt ceiling for three months and increase disaster relief for the Gulf Coast area. If the plan is approved by Congress, the threat of a government default or shutdown would be delayed until mid-December and Congress could work on a longer-term solution to the debt ceiling. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that Federal Reserve vice-chair Stanley Fischer will resign in October before his term ends in 2018. Fischer has chaired the Fed’s committee on financial stability and recently criticized attempts to loosen financial regulations put in place after the  financial crisis. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

September 6, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index rose 1.4 percentage points to 55.3 in August.  The new orders index increased 2.0 percentage points to 57.1 and the employment index improved 2.6 percentage points to 56.2. ISM Report

The U.S. trade deficit increased from $43.5 billion in June (revised) to $43.7 billion in July.  The goods deficit decreased less than $0.1 billion while the services surplus edged down $0.2 billion.  Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that Fed governor Lael Brainard says that persistently low inflation is “troubling” and that the Fed should be cautious about future rate hikes. The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, the core personal consumption expenditure index, has largely remained below the 2% target for the last five years, and Brainard argues that this may be a result of underlying shifts in the economy rather than short term factors. FT

Greg Ip of the Wall Street Journal argues that jobs lost in the brick and mortar retail industry are likely to be regained in other industries such as warehousing and shipping. Ip contends that automation and other productivity-boosting technologies usually create more jobs than they destroy by lowering prices and increasing demand for the goods or services produced in a given industry. WSJ

The New York Times writes that the U.S., Canada, and Mexico have concluded the second round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) but have made little progress. While the U.S.’ main goal is to reduce trade deficits, other key sticking points are minimum wages in Mexico and increased cross-border energy investment. NYT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

September 5, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

New factory orders for manufactured goods fell 3.3% in July following a 3.2% increase in June, but are up 5.6% on the year. New orders excluding transportation inched up 0.5% while new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft rose 1.0%. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that Canada is taking a tough stance on certain provisions in the second round of NAFTA negotiations, which may prove difficult for U.S. and Mexican negotiators. Canada is pushing provisions that will prevent countries from purposely cutting environmental regulatory policies to draw investment, and is advocating for international labor standards. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration’s threat to restrict trade with countries doing business with North Korea could be near impossible to enforce without severely harming the U.S. economy. Some analysts contend that unilateral sanctions on individuals or firms seen helping North Korea develop weapons would prove more viable than entirely cutting off trade with countries conducting business with North Korea. WSJ

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