U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims fell 3,000 to 223,000 last week. The four-week moving average fell 3,000 to 226,250. DOL Report

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 1.9% in Q4 and was up 1.8% on the year. Hours worked increased 1.2% in Q4 and unit labor costs rose 2.0%. BLS Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that economic activity expanded across the U.S. at the beginning of 2019, although many parts of the country noted the government shutdown led to slower economic activity, according to a Federal Reserve report. The shutdown dampened growth in various sectors, such as auto sales, tourism, and retail. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, the European Central Bank signaled a major policy reversal by identifying plans to stimulate the eurozone’s faltering economy less than three months after ending a $2.9 billion bond buying program. The reversal makes the ECB the first rich-country central bank to ease policy in response to a global slowdown, as they will hold interest rates at their current levels and issue cheap long-term loans for banks. WSJ