U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 27, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

New orders of manufactured durable goods rose 7.3% in June after rising 15.1% (revised) in May. Excluding transportation, new orders rose 3.3% last month after rising 3.6% the month before. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, Federal Reserve officials warn that the economic recovery could be impeded by low consumer confidence, extended joblessness, and business failures unless the public health response to the coronavirus improves. The FOMC is not expected to announce new stimulus measures at this week’s meetings, instead focusing on how to provide more support for the recovery once the economic outlook becomes more certain. WSJ

The Washington Post reports that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated inequality in the U.S. housing market, as wealthier Americans take advantage of low mortgage rates to buy new homes while millions of renters face eviction. Homeowners have also taken advantage of attractive refinancing options to save money, while renters are rapidly losing pandemic lifelines including a federal eviction moratorium and expanded unemployment benefits. WaPo

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 24, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

New home sales increased 13.8% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 776,000 and were up 6.9% from year-ago levels. The median sales prices rose to $329,200 and the inventory of new homes declined to 4.7 months at the current sales rate. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Washington Post reports that workers around the country are experiencing a second round of layoffs as Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan money runs out while the pandemic rages on. Although PPP loans are estimated to have saved between 1.5 million and 3.5 million jobs up to this point, economic conditions have not recovered sufficiently for many companies to continue operating once PPP funds run out. WaPo

Bloomberg reports that the phase-one U.S.-China trade deal agreed to earlier this year has come under intense pressure recently as tensions mount over the coronavirus pandemic and the closing of China’s consulate in Houston. Analysts note that both countries should have a strong incentive to stick to the deal to avoid threatening their respective economic recoveries. Bloomberg

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 23, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims rose 109,000 to 1,416,000 last week. The four-week moving average decreased 16,500 to 1,360,250. DOL Report

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (“LEI”) increased 2.0% in June following a 3.2% increase in May. While improvements in the labor market and stock prices helped bolster the LEI in June, the resurgence of the virus in several states combined with consumers’ weak economic outlook imply that the U.S. economy will remain in recessionary territory in the near term. Conference Board Report

U.S. News

The Washington Post reports that new data from the online review site Yelp shows that permanent business closures now outweigh temporary ones, with the greatest losses occurring in the restaurant and retail sectors. As many commercial leases expire in the coming months, business owners may choose not to renew given the poor economic outlook, which could lead to additional strain on the labor market. WaPo

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 22, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

Existing home sales jumped 20.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million in June but were down 11.3% compared to a year ago. Home sales increased in all four major regions, with the West experiencing the greatest sales recovery. NAR Report

U.S. News

The New York Times reports that although the pandemic has prompted many companies to shift supply chains away from China, they aren’t necessarily moving production back to the United States. Production and labor costs remain much cheaper in countries such as Vietnam and Mexico, and the economic hit from the pandemic has manufacturers hesitant to invest in new American factories. NYT

The Wall Street Journal reports that more U.S. retailers have already filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy thus far in 2020 than all of last year, underscoring the financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Even retailers considered relatively healthy before the pandemic have been forced to adopt numerous measures to try and stay afloat, including obtaining additional debt, pivoting to e-commerce, reducing workforces, and delaying rent payments. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 21, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index improved from +3.50 in May to +4.11 in June. Three of the four broad categories of indicators – employment, consumption, and production – contributed positively to the index, while the sales, orders & inventories category contributed negatively. Chicago Fed Report

U.S. News

The New York Times reports that the coronavirus pandemic may shift activity away from big cities, especially if companies find work from home policies to be successful in the longer term. Cities have traditionally benefitted from dense networks of innovative businesses and highly skilled workers, but skyrocketing rents – coupled with fewer urban amenities and increased teleworking due to the pandemic – may make them less attractive for both companies and workers. NYT

The Wall Street Journal reports that hotels are performing poorly in areas that are experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, reflecting consumer fears of the virus and an ebbing of pent-up demand in recent weeks. High vacancies at hotels across the country give consumers increased flexibility in their travel plans but limit the consistency of reservations (and revenues) for hotel owners. WSJ