U.S. Economic News

March 11, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

Consumer prices rose 0.1% in February (up 2.3% from a year ago). The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.2% in February and is up 2.4% from last year. BLS Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Treasury is likely to push back the April 15 tax filing deadline as a part of an effort to mitigate the economic consequences of the coronavirus on households and businesses. While delaying required tax payments would effectively operate as a bridge loan for struggling individuals and businesses, it could also force the Treasury to temporarily increase borrowing due to the short-term loss of tax revenues. WSJ

Gwynn Guilford writes for the Wall Street Journal that although falling mortgages rates should boost housing activity somewhat amid coronavirus fears, the lower contribution of the housing sector to overall GDP growth since the housing bubble suggests it may not help overall growth as much as hoped. Supply constraints in the form of higher land costs, restrictive zoning, and scarce labor, coupled with softer demand as renting becomes more and more popular, mean that lower mortgage rates will primarily contribute to refinancing activity rather than lead to new housing starts. WSJ