U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 30, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The U.S. Census Bureau Advance Economic Indicators Report shows that the goods deficit narrowed to $63.2 billion in November from $66.8 billion in October. Meanwhile, wholesale inventories were unchanged and retail inventories fell 0.7%. Census Bureau Report

The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index rose 1.2% in November (up 7.4% Y/Y).  NAR reports that despite the ongoing decline in housing inventory, favorable conditions for home contracts are expected to last throughout 2020. NAR Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that an additional 1.3 million American workers will be eligible for overtime pay in the new year under the first federal overhaul of overtime requirements in more than 15 years. The change in the annual salary threshold from $23,660 to $35,568 is largely acceptable to businesses and falls far short of the more sweeping version pursued by the Obama administration. WSJ

According to the Financial Times, business loans held by U.S. banks have essentially stalled in the second half of 2019 as a slowdown in capital investment and weakness in the industrial economy weigh on demand for loans. Growth has been largely confined to small and midsized banks whose clients are less exposed to global trade frictions and less likely to turn to bond markets to raise funds. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 27, 2019

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that wages for nonsupervisory, rank-and-file workers are rising at the fastest pace in more than a decade, a sign that the U.S. labor market has tightened sufficiently to result in pay increases for lower-paid employees. Pay for the bottom 25% of wage earners rose 4.5% in November compared to a year earlier, while wages for the top 25% of earners rose 2.9%. WSJ

David Lynch reports for the Washington Post that although the “Phase One” trade agreement has created the appearance of closer relations between the United States and China, the two countries are still heading towards a partial economic divorce as they pursue policies aimed at reducing mutual technological and economic dependence. Even as trade talks show signs of progress, Washington is preparing new regulations to further restrict exports of advanced technologies to China, while Beijing has stepped up efforts to reduce Chinese reliance on American technology suppliers. WaPo

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 26, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims fell 13,000 to 222,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 2,250 to 228,000. DOL Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that strong online purchases provided a boost to holiday retail sales, underlining both the strength of U.S. consumer spending and the challenges facing traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. E-commerce sales accounted for almost 15% of total sales during the crucial holiday shopping season, rising 18.8% over the period between November 1 and Christmas Eve compared to just 1.2% sales growth for physical stores. FT

According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House could soon face significant legal challenges to its use of Section 301 tariffs on Chinese goods as part of its broader trade war strategy. Recent court victories by companies and business groups challenging the administration’s authority to impose tariffs under other sections of trade law may encourage new legal challenges to China-specific duties. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 23, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

New orders of manufactured durable goods fell 2.0% in November after rising 0.2% (revised) in October and are down 1.3% compared to a year ago. Excluding transportation, new orders were unchanged last month (up 0.4% from last year). Census Bureau Report

New home sales rose 1.3% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 719,000 and are up 16.9% from November 2018. The median sales price rose to $330,800, while the inventory of new homes edged down to 5.4 months at the current sales rate. Census Bureau Report

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose from -0.76 (revised) in October to +0.56 in November. Production- and employment-related indicators made positive contributions to the index, while the personal consumption & housing and sales, orders, & inventories categories made negative contributions. Chicago Fed Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that China has announced it will reduce tariffs on imports of frozen pork, pharmaceuticals, and certain high-tech components starting January 1 as Beijing and Washington work to complete a phase-one trade agreement. The plan will reduce import levies on more than 8,000 products from 23 countries and regions that have free-trade agreements with China, paving the way for China to import more U.S. goods without violating international trade rules banning managed trade. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 20, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The third estimate of Q3 GDP indicates that the U.S. economy expanded at an annualized rate of 2.1%, unchanged from the prior estimate. The increase in real GDP reflects positive contributions from consumer spending, government spending, and residential investment that were partly offset by declines in business investment and net exports. BEA Report

Real disposable personal income rose 0.4% in November, while real personal consumption expenditures (PCE) ticked up 0.3%. The PCE price index rose 0.2% (up 1.5% Y/Y), and the core price index rose 0.1% (up 1.6% Y/Y). BEA Report

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose 2.5 points to 99.3 in the final December reading and is up 1.0 point from December of last year. The Index of Consumer Expectations rose 1.6 points to 88.9, while the Current Economic Conditions Index rose 3.9 points to 115.5. University of Michigan

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the House of Representatives successfully passed legislation to implement the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement with overwhelmingly bipartisan support. The Senate is expected to pass the legislation early next year, leaving ratification by Canada as the final step needed for the trade pact to enter into force. WSJ