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

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 5, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

The ADP Employment Report shows that private-sector employment increased by 291,000 jobs in January, well above expectations. The services sector added 237,000 jobs, while the goods-producing sector added 54,000 jobs. ADP Report

The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index rose 0.6 point to 55.5 in January. The New Orders Index rose 0.9 point to 56.2, while the Employment Index declined 1.7 points to 53.1. ISM Report

The U.S. trade deficit widened from $43.7 billion (revised) in November to $48.9 billion in December. The goods deficit increased by $5.1 billion while the services surplus edged down $0.1 billion. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that a bipartisan group of lawmakers is pushing for the SEC to make changes in the credit-ratings industry to eliminate the conflict of interest where entities that sell bonds also pay for ratings, considered one of the causes of the financial crisis. A previous study by the Journal found evidence that competition among credit ratings firms incentivized loosening standards to win business. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 4, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

New factory orders for manufactured goods rose 1.8% in December following a 1.2% (revised) decrease in November but are down 0.6% compared to a year ago. New orders excluding transportation were up 0.6%, while new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft fell 0.8%. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Commerce Department has announced new rules that would clear the way for the U.S. to start imposing punitive tariffs on goods from countries accused of having undervalued currencies, even if such countries have not been found guilty of currency manipulation by the U.S. Treasury. The new rule would allow U.S. companies to file complaints over specific imported products by treating undervalued currencies as a form of unfair subsidy. Bloomberg

According to the New York Times, the rapidly spreading coronavirus is likely to slow China’s progress in meeting its commitments under the initial U.S.-China trade deal. With factories and stores closed throughout China and officials focused on containing the virus, Beijing has less capacity to start purchasing the large amounts of American products necessary to fulfill the terms of the deal. NYT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 3, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

The ISM Manufacturing Index rose 3.1 points to 50.9 in January, returning to expansionary territory for the first time since July 2019. The Employment Index rose 1.4 points to 46.6, while the New Orders Index rose 4.4 points to 52.0. ISM Report

Construction spending declined 0.2% in December to an annualized rate of $1.33 trillion. Private construction fell 0.1% and public construction fell 0.4%. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

According to the Washington Post, efforts to contain the Chinese coronavirus threaten to cut off U.S. manufacturers from critical parts and materials produced in China. Even if Chinese factories are able to resume normal operations in a week or two (which seems unlikely), there will be lasting supply constraints from commercial flight cancellations that reduce overall space available for trans-Pacific shipments. WaPo

The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. businesses are being granted fewer exemptions from tariffs on Chinese imports, with the approval rate for the most recent tranche of tariffs falling to just 3% compared to 35% for previous rounds of levies. More than 4,500 companies have requested at least one exemption, arguing that they have no viable or cost-effective alternatives to Chinese products. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

January 31, 2020

U.S. Economic Indicators

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose 0.5 points to 99.8 in the final January reading and is up 8.6 points from January of last year. The Index of Consumer Expectations rose 1.6 points to 90.5, while the Current Economic Conditions Index fell 1.1 points to 114.4. University of Michigan

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

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that eurozone economic growth slowed to a six-year low in 2019, reflecting both near-term weakness in the auto manufacturing sector and longer-term issues stemming from an aging population and a lack of high-growth sectors. Although the manufacturing sector is expected to steady this year as global demand gradually improves, the slump may continue or worsen depending on developments in E.U-U.S. and E.U.-U.K. trade relationships. WSJ