U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

September 27, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

New orders of manufactured durable goods rose 1.7% in August after decreasing 6.8% in July, and are up 5.0% year-over-year.  Excluding transportation, new orders rose 0.2% (up 5.3% Y/Y).  Census Bureau Report

The National Association of Realtors pending home sales index fell 2.6% to 106.3 in August (also down 2.6% Y/Y).  NAR says this summer’s “terribly low” supply levels have drained all of the momentum from the housing market.  NAR Report

U.S. News

The Washington Post reports that the United States climbed to the world’s second-most competitive economy according to the World Economic Forum’s (“WEF”) Global Competitiveness Report. WEF economists say that the U.S. improved due to innovation and sophistication factors, while the biggest barrier to conducting business in the U.S. was found to be the tax code. WaPo

According to the Financial Times, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says that policymakers should be wary of moving too gradually on monetary policy. Yellen acknowledged that low inflation may persist for longer than previously thought, but also cautioned that without further increases in the federal funds rate, a sudden surge in inflation could overheat the economy. FT

Aaron Gregg of the Washington Post writes that the U.S. government has moved to impose tariffs of up to 219% on Canadian-made jetliners. The Commerce Department ruled in favor of U.S. jetliner producers, who had argued that their Canadian counterparts have been receiving unfair taxpayer subsidies which allow the Canadian planes to be sold in the U.S. at a discount. WaPo

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

September 26, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

New home sales dropped 3.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 560,000 in August, and are 1.2% below the August 2016 rate.  The median sales price fell to $300,200 and the inventory of new homes climbed to 6.1 months at the current sales rate. Census Bureau Report
 
The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index edged down from 120.4 to 119.8 in September. 
The moderation was driven by a decrease in the Present Situation Index while the Expectations Index inched up.  Conference Board Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that a new paper shows the substantial share of prime-age men not in work is due to lack of effort in seeking jobs, not a shortage of good jobs. The author of the paper says that there is a much smaller cohort of inactive men who want jobs than many people think, largely due to increased disability enrollment and social safety nets. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that homebuilders are offering to pay off millennials’ student debt if those young individuals buy homes from the builders. Experts say that other homebuilders could copy the program, as substantial debt loads have been a hurdle for first-time homebuyers in recent years. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

September 25, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index fell from +0.03 (revised) in July to -0.31 in August.  The production and personal consumption & housing components made negative contributions while the sales and employment components contributed positively. Chicago Fed Report

U.S. News

Eric Morath of the Wall Street Journal writes that real wages in the U.S. have been rising due to persistently low inflation. While real wages have climbed more quickly over the past decade than in previous economic cycles, Morath cautions that most of the gains have been concentrated in the upper income brackets, while those in the lower brackets have experienced slight wage declines. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that many U.S. cities are in dire need of infrastructure investment or else they risk choking off economic growth. Experts say that as urban centers expand and congestion worsens, aging infrastructure require renovations and that the federal government should take the lead on investing. FT

According to the Wall Street Journal, a new study shows that the current economic expansion has spread unevenly, lifting certain cities while leaving other areas of the U.S. behind. The study shows that many formerly prosperous industrial areas of the U.S. still have not yet recovered all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession, though this struggle has been masked by the recovery of many major cities. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

September 22, 2017

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that new Federal Reserve data show that U.S. household wealth reached a new record of $96.2 trillion in the second quarter. Stock market wealth accounted for most of the rise, gaining $1.1 trillion, while the value of real estate rose $564 billion. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, OPEC is struggling to restrain oil output from Libya and Nigeria, who are both exempt from the cartel’s production limits. When OPEC’s members reached their production agreement last year both of the countries were mired by civil unrest, though they now have managed to restart production, threatening to worsen the global crude oil supply glut. WSJ

In a Washington Post op-ed Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross argues that NAFTA needs updated “rules of origin” requirements to ensure that more U.S. inputs are used in finished goods. Ross writes that NAFTA has worsened the U.S. trade deficit in automobiles and parts and, unless NAFTA is renegotiated, the U.S. auto industry will continue to suffer. WaPo

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

September 21, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

The FHFA House Price Index shows that U.S. house prices rose 0.2% in July and were up 6.3% from the same period last year.  House prices rose on an annual basis in all nine census divisions. Report
 
Initial jobless claims decreased 23,000 to 259,000 last week.  
The four-week moving average rose 6,000 to 268,750. DOL Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that retailers have already begun hiring warehouse workers for the holiday season in order to ensure they have enough staff to cover increased sales. As the unemployment rate hovers near record lows, wages for warehouse workers are expected to jump 10% compared to non-peak times of the year and 5% over last year’s level. WSJ

According to the Financial Times, new projections reveal that Federal Reserve officials expect U.S. economic growth to slow by more than half a percentage point in 2020. The projections also reveal that Fed officials expect the federal funds rate to be above its long-run rate in 2020, implying that officials will “put the brakes” on the economy to ensure that inflation does not accelerate. FT

Ben Casselman of the New York Times writes that the sluggish recovery from the Great Recession in part can be traced to the decline in the creation of new businesses. Economists say that the stagnant start-up rate could be due the growing power of large corporations, who have found it easier to drive challengers out of business or absorb them. NYT

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