U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 13, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

Consumer prices rose 0.1% in January (up 2.5% from a year ago). The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.2% in January (up 2.3% from last year). BLS Report

Initial jobless claims rose 2,000 to 205,000 last week. The four-week moving average was unchanged at 212,000. DOL Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, the International Energy Agency anticipates a decline in overall global oil demand over the first three months of 2020 – the first quarterly decline since the height of the financial crisis – due to a sharp slowdown in Chinese demand driven by the coronavirus outbreak. China accounted for more than three-quarters of global oil demand growth in 2019, and its oil demand has nearly doubled since the 2003 SARS epidemic. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 12, 2020

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that credit-card debt rose to a record high of $930 billion in the final quarter of 2019, part of the broader increase in consumer credit during the ongoing, record-long economic expansion. The share of credit-card debt in serious delinquency rose to the highest level in nearly eight years, raising concerns that some cardholders – especially younger ones – may be struggling with their debt. WSJ

According to Bloomberg, economists are increasingly pessimistic that China’s virus-hit economy will be able to make a speedy recovery, even amid signs that the spread of the disease may be slowing. Businesses in China will likely be slow to return to normality as restrictions on travel remain in place, and China’s outsized influence on the global economy suggests that other countries may still feel the impacts from the crisis for months to come. Bloomberg

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 11, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 1.6 points to 104.3 in January as six components improved, two weakened, and two were unchanged. Sales expectations and earnings trends improved significantly, while expectations for better business conditions weakened slightly. NFIB Report

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (“JOLTS”), a closely-watched measure of labor market health, indicated that the number of job openings fell 364,000 to 6.4 million in DecemberThe number of hires was little changed at 5.9 million, while the quits rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent. BLS Report

U.S. News

According to the New York Times, Fed Chair Jerome Powell will testify before Congress this week that the Chinese coronavirus epidemic could cause disruptions that spill over to the rest of the global economy, while signaling that the central bank is still comfortable holding interest rates steady for now. His prepared remarks also include a warning about the size of the federal government’s debt, arguing that a more sustainable federal budget would help ensure economic growth over the long term. NYT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 10, 2020

U.S. News

The Washington Post reports that the White House is proposing a $4.8 trillion federal budget this week that would cut net domestic discretionary spending by around 5% and set a 15-year target for closing the federal budget deficit. The budget proposal, essentially a statement of the White House’s policy priorities for the upcoming year, includes sharp cuts to the Health and Human Services Department, Education Department, and Department of the Interior while increasing spending for NASA and the Department of Homeland Security. WaPo

The Wall Street Journal reports that the number of people working at small companies was little changed last year, even as larger businesses expanded their payrolls for a record tenth straight year. Finding workers in a tight labor market is especially challenging for small firms, with those in the manufacturing, natural resources, transportation, construction, and retail sectors adding the fewest new workers in 2019. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 6, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 1.4% in Q4 and was up 1.8% compared to a year ago. Hours worked increased 1.1% and unit labor costs rose 1.4%. BLS Report

Initial jobless claims fell 15,000 to 202,000 last week. The four-week moving average fell 3,000 to 211,750. DOL Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that China has announced it will reduce tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. goods from 10% to 5% as part of its efforts to implement the phase-one trade deal with the U.S. The tariff cuts will go into effect on February 14, and indicate Beijing’s intentions to follow through on implementation of the agreement despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis. WSJ