U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 20, 2020

U.S. News

The New York Times reports that there has been an uncharacteristic surge in corporate borrowing during the ongoing economic downturn, driven largely by the Fed’s actions to stabilize markets by keeping interest rates near zero and buying corporate debt. Even high-risk and heavily indebted companies have issued new bonds during the crisis, implying that the low cost of borrowing may help companies stay afloat that otherwise would have gone bankrupt this year. NYT

The Washington Post reports that the White House is pushing for a payroll tax cut and liability protections for businesses ahead of negotiations in Congress over the structure of a new coronavirus stimulus bill. GOP lawmakers are exploring options to limit the cost of the bill while returning people to the workforce, including reducing enhanced unemployment benefits and limiting benefits to those at the lower end of the income distribution. WaPo

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 17, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

Privately-owned housing starts rose 17.3% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.19 million (down 4.0% year-over-year). Housing permits rose 2.1% to a 1.24 million annual pace in June (down 2.5% year-over-year). Census Bureau Report

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell 4.9 points to 73.2 in the preliminary July reading and is down 25.2 points from July of last year. The Index of Consumer Expectations fell 6.1 points to 66.2, while the Current Economic Conditions Index fell 2.9 points to 84.2. University of Michigan

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the labor market recovery is showing signs of slowing down, with fewer job openings, weaker growth in worker hours, and persistently high numbers of new applications for unemployment benefits. Job postings declined in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. in July, suggesting that the slowdown reflects a broader sense of economic uncertainty and is not limited to states experiencing a surge in virus cases. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 16, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims fell 10,000 to 1,300,000 last week. The four-week moving average fell 60,000 to 1,375,000. DOL Report

Retail sales rose 7.5% in June and were up 1.1% from a year ago. Core sales – which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services – increased 5.6%. Census Bureau Report

Business inventories fell 2.3% in May and were down 4.8% from May of last year. Manufacturers’ sales increased 3.1% in May but were down 19.5% compared to a year ago. Census Bureau Report

The NAHB Housing Market Index rose 14 points to 72 in July, back to its pre-pandemic reading from March. NAHB reports that the housing market may lead the economic recovery as builders are seeing increased demand due to the small existing home inventory. NAHB Report

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 15, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business activity increased in July, as the headline index rose 17.4 points to 17.2 – its first positive reading since February. The new orders index rose 14.5 points to 13.9, the shipments index rose 15.2 points to 18.5, and the index for the number of employees rose 3.9 points to 0.4. NY Fed Report

Industrial production increased 5.4% in June but is down 10.8% year-over-year. Capacity utilization increased 3.5 points to 68.6. Fed Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that spending on cars and homes by higher-income consumers, encouraged by historically low interest rates, is helping support the U.S. economy during the downturn. Sales of pricier vehicles, luxury homes, and other big-ticket goods are outpacing expectations as the coronavirus weighs heavily on spending on services. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

July 14, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 6.2 points to 100.6 in June as eight components improved and two weakened. Sales expectations and the economic outlook improved, while earnings trends and expected credit conditions declined. NFIB Report

Consumer prices increased 0.6% in June (up 0.6% from a year ago) after falling 0.1% in May. The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.2% in June – the first monthly increase since February – and is up 1.2% from last year. BLS Report

U.S. News

The Washington Post reports that White House officials have expressed willingness to extend a narrower version of enhanced unemployment benefits as economists warn that an abrupt withdrawal of government support could impede economic recovery. Lawmakers are running out of time to reach a compromise on what an extension could look like as the current $600 per week bonus is set to expire at the end of this month. WaPo