U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 16, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

Retail sales rose 1.9% in September and were up 5.4% from a year ago. Core sales — which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services —  increased 1.4%. Census Bureau Report

Industrial production declined 0.6% in September – the first monthly decline since April – and is down 7.3% year-over-year. Capacity utilization fell 0.5 point to 71.5. Fed Report

Business inventories edged up 0.3% in August but were down 5.5% from August of last year. Manufacturers’ sales rose 0.3% in August but were down 5.3% compared to a year ago. Census Bureau Report

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose 0.8 point to 81.2 in the preliminary October reading but is down 14.3 points from October of last year. The Index of Consumer Expectations rose 3.2 points to 78.8, while the Current Economic Conditions Index fell 2.9 points to 84.9. University of Michigan

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 15, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims rose 53,000 to 898,000 last week. The four-week moving average increased 8,000 to 866,250. DOL Report

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business activity expanded modestly in October as the headline index eased 6.5 points to 10.5. The new orders index rose 5.2 points to 12.3, the shipments index rose 3.7 points to 17.8, and the index for number of employees increased 4.6 points to 7.2. NY Fed Report

U.S. News

Bloomberg reports that the ongoing pandemic-induced recession has spurred an unexpected wave of entrepreneurship, with new business formations jumping 82% in the third quarter compared to a year ago. Census data compiled from Employer Identification Number (EIN) applications show a surge in applications for both sole proprietorships and businesses likely to turn into employers, a potential tailwind for the labor market outlook in the months ahead. Bloomberg

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 14, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

The headline Producer Price Index (“PPI”) for final demand rose 0.4% in September and is up 0.4% year-over-year. The core – which removes the volatile prices of food, energy, and trade services – also rose 0.4% and is up 0.7% from a year ago. BLS Report

U.S. News

According to the Financial Times, some of the largest U.S. banks have a more positive outlook on the U.S. economy after profits rebounded and loan loss provisions tumbled in the third quarter. While strong bank performance may hint at a the start of a broader economic recovery, bank leaders stress that the economic outlook remains contingent on positive developments with respect to virus control and federal stimulus measures. FT

The Wall Street Journal reports that the World Trade Organization ruled that the E.U. may impose tariffs on nearly $4 billion worth of U.S. goods as part of a long-running U.S.-E.U. dispute over aircraft subsidies. While the award amount is far less than the $7.5 billion worth of European goods the WTO authorized the U.S. to impose tariffs on last year, it is substantial enough to give both sides a strong incentive to reach a negotiated settlement. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 13, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 3.8 points to 104.0 in September as nine index components improved and one weakened. Expectations for future business conditions improved sharply while expectations for future credit conditions ticked down. NFIB Report

Consumer prices rose 0.2% in September (up 1.4% from a year ago). The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, also rose 0.2% and is up 1.7% from last year. BLS Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the International Energy Agency’s latest annual report finds that while overall capital spending on energy is projected to plunge 18% this year due to the pandemic, investment in renewable energy sources has held up much better than investment in fossil fuels. Renewables have benefited from government support and low financing costs as efforts intensify to meet international climate goals. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 9, 2020

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that despite U.S. tariffs and the global economic downturn, Chinese exports to the U.S. have increased in recent months as American companies import more coronavirus-related products such as PPE and work-from-home equipment. Virus-related products were responsible for two-thirds of Chinese export growth in July and August, bolstered by China’s ability to more quickly bring manufacturing capacity back online relative to other pandemic-hit countries. WSJ

According to the New York Times, the rising popularity of curbside pickup is yet another example of how major U.S. retailers are adapting their business models to survive the pandemic in the age of e-commerce. Curbside pickup accommodates Americans’ preference for driving to stores while allowing traditional retailers to maintain their workforces by converting stores into mini fulfillment centers. NYT