U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 1, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims decreased 1,000 to 230,000 last week. The four-week moving average fell 5,000 to 234,500.  DOL Report

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased 0.1% in Q4 after rising 2.7% (revised) in Q3. Hours worked increased 3.3% in Q4 and unit labor costs rose 2.0%. BLS Report

The ISM Manufacturing Index edged down 0.2 percentage point to 59.1 in January.  The New Orders Index decreased 2.0 percentage points to 65.4 and the Employment Index fell 3.9 percentage points to 54.2.  ISM Report
 
Construction spending increased 0.7% in December to an annualized rate of $1.25 trillion. 
Public construction edged up 0.3% and private construction rose 0.8%.  Census Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Reserve held short-term interest rates steady after its recent meeting. Officials also said that they expect inflation to pick up this year, acknowledging a recent increase in market-based inflation expectations. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 31, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The ADP Employment Report shows that private-sector employment increased by 234,000 jobs in January, well above expectations of 195,000.  The services sector added 212,000 jobs and the goods-producing sector added 22,000 jobs.  ADP Report
 
According to the Employment Cost Index, compensation costs for civilian workers rose 0.6% in the fourth quarter and are up 2.6% on the year. 
Wages and salaries were up 2.5% on the year and benefit costs were also up 2.5%. BLS Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. homeownership rate rose in 2017 for the first time in thirteen years. Housing experts say that the increase in homeownership was driven by millennials, who saw the largest jump in ownership rates of any age group, from 34.7% to 36%. WSJ

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed former vice-chair of the Federal Reserve Alan Blinder argues that now is the wrong time to expand the federal deficit. Blinder contends that borrowing for productive purposes, such as combating the effects of a recession, makes sense in specific instances, but the relative health of the U.S. economy at present means there is no need for stimulative fiscal measures. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 30, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose from 123.1 (revised) in December to 125.4 in January.  The increase was driven by an improvement in the Expectations Index from 100.8 to 105.5.  Conference Board Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer says that NAFTA renegotiations are moving too slowly. Lighthizer also said that the group of negotiators had begun to make progress on some of the more difficult points of contention, including rules for domestic content in automobiles and a future review process for NAFTA. FT

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed dean of the Tuck School of Business Matthew J. Slaughter argues that withdrawing from NAFTA would cost the U.S. $50 billion a year in gross domestic product. Slaughter contends that GDP would suffer because the end of NAFTA would make it more difficult for U.S. multinational firms to invest in Canada and Mexico and would also limit export opportunities for small U.S. firms. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 29, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Real disposable personal income rose 0.2% in December while real personal consumption expenditures (PCE) rose 0.3%. The PCE price index edged up 0.1% (up 1.7% Y/Y) and the core price index rose 0.2% (up 1.5% Y/Y). BEA Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, Canada and Mexico have rejected the Trump administration’s proposal to rework NAFTA’s existing corporate arbitration system. The current system, which allows multinational firms to avoid protracted and costly legal battles, would be modified to allow countries to opt out of the dispute-settlement process, though Canada and Mexico’s opposition to these changes means that the entire system could be removed from NAFTA. WSJ

The Washington Post reports that the NAFTA renegotiation process may stretch into 2019, as Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. have failed to reach agreement on the most contentious trade topics. Looming elections in Mexico and the U.S. may mean that negotiations will be dragged out until new politicians have taken office. WaPo

The Bitter U.S. Immigration Fight: Lower Economic Growth and Maybe Also a Government Shutdown

The Bitter U.S. Immigration Fight: Lower Economic Growth and Maybe Also a Government Shutdown

January 26, 2018

Over the past year, the Trump administration has worked behind the scenes to implement dramatic new restrictions on legal immigration and crack down on illegal immigration. In this analysis, Keybridge examines the impact of recent changes as well as potential future shifts in U.S. immigration policy.

Related Documents: Key Insight – The Bitter U.S. Immigration Fight – January 2018

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