U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 25, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

New orders of manufactured durable goods rose 2.2% in September after increasing 2.0% (revised) in August, and are up 5.2% year-over-year.  Excluding transportation, new orders rose 0.7% (up 5.5% Y/Y).  Census Bureau Report

New home sales jumped 18.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 667,000 in September, and are 17.0% above the September 2016 rate.  The median sales price rose to $319,700 and the inventory of new homes fell to 5.0 months at the current sales rate. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

Laura Kusisto of the Wall Street Journal reports that 76% of renters believe that renting is cheaper than owning a home, up from 65% a year ago. Kusisto argues that this may explain lagging homeownership rates since the recession, as young people increasingly put off purchasing a home due to skyrocketing prices. WSJ

The Washington Post reports that House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady says that there could in fact be changes to 401(k) retirement plans in the GOP tax reform effort. Brady also said that individuals are saving too little for retirement and that tax reform may create new incentives to save. WaPo

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 24, 2017

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that Florida and Texas lost nearly 135,000 jobs in the wake of recent hurricanes, but are poised for an economic resurgence. Experts expect construction spending and consumer spending to rebound strongly in the coming months as consumers replace damaged or destroyed vehicles and homes. WSJ

Natalie Kitroeff of the New York Times writes that e-commerce warehouses and fulfillment centers are creating jobs for people living in areas suffering from the decline of manufacturing and mining industries. Kitroeff argues that occupations in these e-commerce hubs generally pay better than other occupations in the same area, and that demand for workers in warehouses and fulfillment centers will continue to rise. NYT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 23, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose from -0.37 (revised) in August to +0.17 in September.  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 federal budget deficit widened to $666 billion dollars in fiscal year 2017, the sixth largest deficit on record. The federal deficit, which rose 14% from a year ago, is expected to worsen due to the combined effects of an aging population and declining government revenues. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, President Trump says that there will be no changes to 401(k) plans under the Republican tax reform plan. Congressional Republicans had previously considered limiting the amount of tax-free contributions that could be made to a 401(k) plan as a way to generate more revenue to offset tax cuts. WSJ

Sam Fleming of the Financial Times writes that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says that the Fed may have to turn to quantitative easing in the event of another recession. The comments come as President Trump considers his pick for the next Fed Chair, though the White House has signaled that Yellen is still in the running to retain her position. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 20, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Existing home sales inched up 0.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in September, but are 1.5% below year-ago levels.  NAR notes that demand remains healthy, but inventory remains scarce, especially at the lower end of the market.  NAR Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that U.S. Senate Republicans passed a budget resolution last night, a key step towards enacting tax reform. The budget resolution allows Republicans to pass tax reform legislation via reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority in the Senate instead of the usual 60-vote supermajority. FT

According to the Wall Street Journal, professionals in the retirement industry are worried that the Republican tax plan may limit the amount of pre-tax contributions individuals can make to retirement savings plans. Republicans have been searching for ways to generate revenue to offset massive tax cuts, and congressional staffers say that committee members have been suggesting a cap of $2,400 for tax-free contributions. WSJ

William Mauldin of the Wall Street Journal writes that Congressional trade lawyers have begun outlining legal strategies for challenging a possible U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA. Lawyers say that the administration is sure to face legal challenges from industry associations whose members depend on North American supply chains, which would be threatened if the U.S. were to withdraw from NAFTA. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 19, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims decreased 22,000 to 222,000 last week.  The four-week moving average fell 9,500 to 248,250. DOL Report

U.S. News

Sarah Chaney of the Wall Street Journal reports that while consumer confidence among older Americans has improved drastically in recent months, their consumer spending has been weak. Data show that Americans over age 55 are currently more confident than any other age group, although their consumer spending has been contracting for nearly three years. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, foreign companies operating in the U.S. could face significant changes to their tax bills under new rules being considered by lawmakers. Congressional Republicans say that they need to establish rules that will “level the playing field” considering foreign companies are currently able to use complex tax strategies to reduce the income that is subject to the U.S. corporate tax rate. WSJ

The Washington Post writes that new data show that income inequality among older Americans is among the highest of developed countries. The data also suggest that income inequality is worsening for older Americans with the aging of every generation, and the effects are especially evident in the lack of retirement savings among those in lower income brackets. WaPo

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