U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 15, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The October Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business activity grew slightly in October as the headline index edged up 2.0 points to 4.0. The new orders index was unchanged at 3.5, while the shipments index increased 7.2 points to 13.0; meanwhile, the index for number of employees fell 2.1 points to 7.6 and the hours worked index was positive, indicating a slightly longer workweek. NY Fed Report

U.S. News

Analysis by the Wall Street Journal finds that although women make up about half of the U.S. workforce today, many jobs remain starkly segregated along gender lines. The share of positions held by women in traditionally male-dominated professions such as business, finance, and law has risen significantly since the 1970s, while other fields, such as construction and nursing, are about as segregated today as they were fifty years ago. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that Chinese exports fell 3.2% year-over-year in September — the biggest annual decline since February — as the trade war with the U.S. and softer global demand continue to weigh on the world’s second-largest economy. Economists expect China’s GDP to have grown at its slowest pace in almost three decades in the third quarter despite Beijing’s attempts to offset impacts of global manufacturing weakness with economic stimulus measures. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 11, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose 2.8 points to 96.0 in the preliminary October reading but is down 2.6 points from October of last year. The Index of Consumer Expectations rose 1.4 points to 84.8 while the Current Economic Conditions Index rose 4.9 points to 113.4. University of Michigan

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Reserve completed new rules this week that will ease liquidity and capital provisions for many large U.S. banks, reducing capital requirements by around 0.6% and liquidity requirements by around 2%. While large domestic banks should experience a reduced regulatory burden due to the new rules, some foreign banks could face heightened regulatory burdens. WSJ

Bloomberg reports that high-level trade negotiations between the U.S. and China this week appear to be going well, as officials and analysts are optimistic about the possibility of a partial interim deal to prevent next week’s scheduled tariff increase. More controversial issues, including U.S. demands that China address IP theft and forced technology transfer, are likely to be left for later discussions. Bloomberg

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 10, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Consumer prices were unchanged in September (up 1.7% from a year ago). The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.1% in September and is up 2.4% from last year. BLS Report

Initial jobless claims fell 10,000 to 210,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 1,000 to 213,750. DOL Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, mortgage rates aren’t falling nearly as fast as interest rates, with the gap between the average mortgage rate and 10-year Treasury yields at its highest level in over seven years. Although home sales have been lackluster, lenders have been able to avoid lowering mortgage rates amid borrowers’ strong demand for refinancing. WSJ

Bloomberg reports that the U.S. is considering including a previously-agreed currency pact with China as part of an interim deal aimed at avoiding next week’s tariff hike. The currency accord, which was originally agreed to before talks broke down in July, could help de-escalate trade tensions but is unlikely to have a significant impact on China’s exchange rate policy. Bloomberg

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 9, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (“JOLTS”), a closely-watched measure of labor market health, indicated there were 7.1 million job openings at the end of August, little changed from JulyHires edged down to 5.8 million, while the quits rate was essentially unchanged at 2.3 percent. BLS Report

U.S. News

According to the Financial Times, Chinese officials are offering to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural products in an attempt to reach an interim trade agreement similar to the limited agreement reached between the U.S. and Japan earlier this year. Both sides are looking for reasons to stave off the next round of tariff hikes scheduled for October 15 and to “reset” negotiations before a potential November meeting between President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. FT

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Reserve is planning to increase its purchases of short-term Treasuries to prevent recurrence of recent cash shortages in short-term lending markets. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell emphasized that the central bank’s move to increase bank reserves is not quantitative easing as it is intended to help officials better control the benchmark federal funds rate and not to provide economic stimulus. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 8, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 1.3 points to 101.8 in September as seven components eased and three were unchanged. Despite edging downward, the Index remains historically high and signals continued job creation, capital spending, and inventory investment. NFIB Report

The headline Producer Price Index (“PPI”) for final demand decreased 0.3% in September and was up 1.4% from September of last year. The core — which removes volatile prices of food, energy, and trade services — was unchanged in September and was up 1.7% from a year ago. BLS Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that the U.S. has added 28 Chinese technology groups to the entity list which will require U.S. suppliers to obtain a special license to continue selling to them, citing the Chinese organizations’ involvement in human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. While the Chinese foreign ministry has publicly criticized the U.S. decision, trade talks between the U.S. and China are set to resume this week as planned. FT

The Wall Street Journal reports that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell emphasized the importance of an independent U.S. central bank while discussing the legacy of 1930s Fed leader Marriner Eccles earlier this week. Powell’s remarks come amid unprecedented political pressure on the Fed to lower rates to stimulate economic activity. WSJ