U.S. Economic News

December 18, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NAHB Housing Market Index rose 5.0 points to 74.0 in December, the highest reading in over 18 years.  The outlook for the next six months improved, as the buyer traffic, current sales conditions, and sales expectations components all posted gains.  NAHB Report

U.S. News

Ben Leubsdorf of The Wall Street Journal writes that the limiting of deductions for state and local taxes in the current Republican tax plan would raise the cost of living for many individuals in high-tax states, though it is unclear whether this will lead to wealthier individuals leaving those states. Leubsdorf writes that while the cost of living may go up for high-earners, community and familial ties could limit the number of taxpayers who leave these high-tax areas. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that despite rising food costs, grocery stores are holding down prices in order to keep their business. Food costs rose 3.5% over the past year, though consumers only paid 0.6% higher prices on average, as grocers have held down prices for many staples such as milk, eggs, and meat in order to preserve their market share. WSJ

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed Former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman argues that there are significant policy changes necessary to decrease the number of prime-age men who are out of the labor force. Furman writes that many of the policies will require more spending, such as transitional unemployment insurance and training programs for workers who lose their jobs. WSJ