U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

November 15, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Retail sales rose 0.3% in October and are up 3.1% from a year ago. Core sales — which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services —  rose 0.3%. Census Bureau Report

Industrial production declined 0.8% in October (down 1.1% year-over-year) after falling 0.3% (revised) in September. Capacity utilization declined 0.8 percentage point to 76.7 in October. Fed Report

Business inventories were essentially unchanged in September but were up 3.6% from September of last year. Manufacturers’ sales declined 0.2% in September and were down 0.5% compared to a year ago. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced that Democrats are moving toward an agreement with the Trump administration to resolve key issues currently holding up passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Progressive Democrats have been pushing for stronger labor protections and enforcement provisions to prevent U.S. companies from moving across the border to cut costs. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

November 14, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The headline Producer Price Index (“PPI”) for final demand increased 0.4% in October and was up 1.1% from October of last year. The core — which removes volatile prices of food, energy, and trade services — inched up 0.1% in October (up 1.5% from a year ago). BLS Report

Initial jobless claims rose 14,000 to 225,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 1,750 to 217,000. DOL Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, the number of jobless Americans receiving unemployment benefits has flatlined near historically low levels, a consequence of stricter state eligibility requirements following the last recession and a tight labor market. Low unemployment and a rising quits rate suggest that many people are leaving jobs voluntarily to pursue better opportunities, leaving them ineligible for benefits in most cases. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that Chinese investment growth has slowed to its lowest level in two decades, the latest sign that Beijing’s attempts to prop up the domestic economy may be insufficient in the face of a deepening slowdown exacerbated by an unresolved trade war with the U.S. So far, Chinese stimulus efforts have been limited to tax and banking reforms, unlike more extensive measures taken during previous slowdowns. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

November 13, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Consumer prices rose 0.4% in October (up 1.8% from a year ago). The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.2% in October and is up 2.3% from last year. BLS Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has signaled that central bank officials are comfortable with the current monetary policy position and see little need for further interest rate cuts in the absence of materially different economic data. Investors anticipate no change in rates at the FOMC’s December meeting, while futures markets see about a 50% chance of an additional cut by the middle of 2020. WSJ

According to the Washington Post, Congress is expected to avert a government shutdown on November 21 by passing a new stopgap spending bill to fund government operations through December 20. The short-term funding bill would give lawmakers more time to agree on a spending package for the rest of the fiscal year, though there is concern that the new funding deadline will fall around the same time the House is expected to vote on articles of impeachment. WaPo

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

November 12, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 0.6 point to 102.4 in October as eight components improved and two weakened. The increase in the headline index was driven by plans to increase inventories, capital outlays, and employment. NFIB Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that the latest round of corporate earnings reports suggests that the slowdown in spending on new factories and equipment by large U.S. companies persisted into the third quarter of 2019, while executives warn that the slump is likely to continue into the fourth quarter. Company leaders appear to be deferring capital investments as they wait for greater clarity on trade negotiations. FT

According to the Wall Street Journal, West Coast imports of trans-Pacific goods plummeted last month following a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods, with the largest Pacific ports handling 14.1% fewer inbound containers than a year ago. The decline in shipments and large swings in trade volumes reflect the confusion among U.S. importers, as many had previously stockpiled goods to avoid anticipated tariff hikes but are now slowing orders as they burn off inventory. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

November 11, 2019

U.S. News

Bloomberg reports that Myanmar is poised to attract a surge of investment as manufacturers seeking to avoid U.S. tariffs shift production from China, while previous destinations such as Vietnam are experiencing capacity constraints and congested infrastructure. The U.S.-China trade war has provided an opportunity for Myanmar and other Southeast Asian countries as companies attempt to skirt tariffs on Chinese goods. Bloomberg

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Census Bureau is overhauling its data systems after discovering that published statistics from the 2020 census could be used to identify millions of individual census respondents. To better protect respondents’ identities, the Bureau has opted to both mathematically adjust results and sharply reduce the number of statistics it publishes, raising concerns among academics and businesses that rely on census data for research. WSJ