U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 18, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (“LEI”) declined 0.1 percent in September following a 0.2 percent (revised) decline in August. Weakness in the manufacturing sector and the interest rate spread more than offset improvements in stock prices and credit conditions. Conference Board Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in nearly 30 years in 2019 Q3, growing just 6% compared to a year earlier. The weak growth figure was below analysts’ expectations and underscores the collective impact of the U.S.-China trade war, slowing income growth, and cooling manufacturing investment. FT

Justin Lahart reports for the Wall Street Journal that as U.S. consumers shift away from owning physical assets like cars, houses, and movies, rental and streaming services may give consumers more flexibility to trim expenses during a downturn. The flexibility of “asset-light” consumers, however, may leave businesses that rely on rentals and subscription services especially vulnerable to the next recession. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 17, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Industrial production declined 0.4% in September (down 0.1% year-over-year) after rising 0.8% (revised) in August. Capacity utilization declined 0.4 point to 77.5 in September. Fed Report

Privately-owned housing starts fell 9.4% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.26 million (up 1.6% year-over-year). Housing permits fell 2.7% to a 1.39 million annual pace in September but are up 7.7% from last year. Census Bureau Report

Initial jobless claims rose 4,000 to 214,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 1,000 to 214,750. DOL Report

U.S. News

Bloomberg reports that Chinese officials are working on the text of a trade accord following last week’s announcement of a verbal agreement between the U.S. and China. The written agreement will include a commitment from China to increase U.S. agricultural purchases in exchange for a limited reprieve on tariffs. Bloomberg

Andrew Van Dam reports for the Washington Post that consolidation among home builders following the Great Recession has exacerbated the affordable housing crisis, costing the country approximately 150,000 additional homes per year and causing prices to rise more than twice as fast as they otherwise would have. Industry experts note, however, that the rise in builder oligopolies may be symptomatic of deeper problems such as land scarcity and labor costs. WaPo

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 16, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Retail sales fell 0.3% in September but are up 4.1% from a year ago. Core sales — which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services —  were unchanged. Census Bureau Report

Business inventories were essentially unchanged in August but were up 4.2% from August of last year. Manufacturers’ sales declined 0.1% in August and were down 0.3% compared to a year ago. Census Bureau Report

The NAHB Housing Market Index rose three points to 71 in October, the highest reading since February 2018. All of the HMI subcomponents posted gains in October. NAHB Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that a new paper by the San Francisco Fed found that negative interest rates are a viable tool for providing economic stimulus and could have buoyed U.S. economic growth during the recovery from the financial crisis. The report examined bond markets affected by negative rate policies in Europe and Japan, observing that the introduction of negative rates tends to put downward pressure on the entire yield curve for government bonds. WSJ

According to the Financial Times, the Fed’s plan to increase the amount of cash in short-term lending markets by purchasing Treasury bills may face challenges as money market funds, among the largest bill holders, are reluctant to sell. Investors expect the Fed’s planned purchases to push down yields, giving Treasury bill holders an incentive to hold on to their bills rather than sell them now and repurchase them later at a lower yield. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 15, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The October Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business activity grew slightly in October as the headline index edged up 2.0 points to 4.0. The new orders index was unchanged at 3.5, while the shipments index increased 7.2 points to 13.0; meanwhile, the index for number of employees fell 2.1 points to 7.6 and the hours worked index was positive, indicating a slightly longer workweek. NY Fed Report

U.S. News

Analysis by the Wall Street Journal finds that although women make up about half of the U.S. workforce today, many jobs remain starkly segregated along gender lines. The share of positions held by women in traditionally male-dominated professions such as business, finance, and law has risen significantly since the 1970s, while other fields, such as construction and nursing, are about as segregated today as they were fifty years ago. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that Chinese exports fell 3.2% year-over-year in September — the biggest annual decline since February — as the trade war with the U.S. and softer global demand continue to weigh on the world’s second-largest economy. Economists expect China’s GDP to have grown at its slowest pace in almost three decades in the third quarter despite Beijing’s attempts to offset impacts of global manufacturing weakness with economic stimulus measures. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 11, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose 2.8 points to 96.0 in the preliminary October reading but is down 2.6 points from October of last year. The Index of Consumer Expectations rose 1.4 points to 84.8 while the Current Economic Conditions Index rose 4.9 points to 113.4. University of Michigan

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Reserve completed new rules this week that will ease liquidity and capital provisions for many large U.S. banks, reducing capital requirements by around 0.6% and liquidity requirements by around 2%. While large domestic banks should experience a reduced regulatory burden due to the new rules, some foreign banks could face heightened regulatory burdens. WSJ

Bloomberg reports that high-level trade negotiations between the U.S. and China this week appear to be going well, as officials and analysts are optimistic about the possibility of a partial interim deal to prevent next week’s scheduled tariff increase. More controversial issues, including U.S. demands that China address IP theft and forced technology transfer, are likely to be left for later discussions. Bloomberg