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Weekly Economic Update

January 26, 2018

The Economy

Preliminary readings of Markit’s January purchasing managers’ index (PMI) pointed to mildly accelerating growth. Services came in below expectations, due to weak output; manufacturing hit a three-year high, on export sales, production and employment.

Durable-goods orders jumped by 2.9% in December, reaching a six-month high. Strength in orders for civilian aircraft and aviation parts mitigated weakness in nondefense capital goods, pointing to expanding business investment.

Initial jobless claims grew by a... More >

Weekly Update

January 19, 2018

The Economy

 

Initial jobless claims sank by 41,000 to a 45-year low of 220,000 in the week ending January 13, as companies continued to retain high numbers of employees’ due to a shortage of skilled labor. The less-volatile four-week moving average dipped by 6,250 to 244,500. The four-week moving average of continuing claims increased by 4,000 to 1.92 million in the week ending January 6, but remained near its 44-year low.

The latest Federal Reserve (Fed) Beige Book pointed to a moderate economic expansion; wages gained modestly on labor-market... More >

Weekly Update

January 12, 2018

The Economy

 

Retail sales showed a solid 0.4% gain in December, supported by the holiday season and high consumer confidence in the economy that translated into a willingness to spend.

Job openings (a measure of labor demand) remained at a historically strong level in November despite falling from 5.93 to 5.88 million, according to the Department of Labor’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Hires slowed by 104,000 to 5.49 million and continued to lag the number of available jobs. Analysts suggested that the survey’s low quit-rate reading... More >

Weekly Update

January 5, 2018

The Economy

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) strengthened in December, remaining in expansion territory for the sixteenth straight month, driven by solid new orders and production. A similar report from Markit also showed acceleration in new orders as well as the fastest rate of job creation in over three years.

The Federal Open Market Committee’s December meeting minutes revealed disagreement among members regarding the rate hike last month; some wanted additional time to assess the economic... More >

Weekly Update

December 15, 2017

The Economy

 

The U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs in November—better than economists’ expectations, but less than the previous month’s strong gain. The unemployment rate held at 4.1%, its lowest level since December 2000. Wage growth remained historically low, rising by only 2.5% year over year.

Revised non-farm productivity was flat at 3% in the third quarter. Output climbed by 4.1%, while unit labor costs retreated by 0.2%.

Initial jobless claims slid by 2,000 to 236,000, their third straight weekly decline, in the week ending December... More >

Weekly Update

December 6, 2017

The Economy

An upward revision to third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) produced a better-than-expected preliminary reading of 3.3% annualized growth, thanks to nonresidential fixed investments and state and local government spending, as well as a holiday-related uptick in inventory investment. Federal Reserve (Fed) watchers believe that the report should keep the central bank on track for this year’s third interest-rate increase at its meeting later this month.

October new-home sales jumped by 6.2% to an annualized rate of 685,... More >

Weekly Update

November 28, 2017

The Economy

The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index (which measures Americans’ financial conditions and attitudes about the economy) edged higher in November, with sustained strength in the current conditions and expectations components.

The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators rebounded from last month’s hurricane-impacted report to a better-than-expected 1.2% surge in October. The reading, used by economists to gauge the health of the U.S. economy, points to continued economic acceleration and strength... More >

Weekly Update

November 17, 2017

The Economy

Consumer prices increased by 0.1% in October and by 2.0% year over year; moderating energy prices mitigated the effects of climbing rental and healthcare costs. The more closely followed core rate (which removes the effects of food and energy) firmed to 1.8%, likely keeping the Federal Reserve (Fed) on track for this year’s third interest-rate hike in December. Producer prices rose by 0.4% for the month, as trade service prices gained and energy expenses declined.

Import prices inched up by 0.2% in October, as lower food... More >

Weekly Update: Flat Fall for September Hiring

November 15, 2017

The Economy

Job openings (a measure of labor demand) remained at a historically strong 6.09 million in September, according to the Department of Labor’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Hires were flat at 5.3 million as employers continued to struggle with finding qualified staff at competitive wages. A lack of skilled employees (who require higher pay) may provide further impetus for the Federal Reserve (Fed) to keep a December rate hike on the table. Outstanding consumer credit (which measures non-mortgage debt) accelerated by 6.6% in September, the fastest pace in 10... More >

U.S. Weekly Economic Update

November 9, 2017

The Economy

The U.S. economy added 261,000 jobs in October—less than economists’ expectations of over 300,000, but significantly more than the previous month’s tiny gain. Unemployment sunk to 4.1%, its lowest level since December 2000. Wage growth remained challenged, rising by only 2.4% year over year. The Federal Reserve (Fed) left interest rates unchanged in a unanimous vote, despite moderate economic expansion and a solid labor market. The central bank’s official statement reinforced the likelihood of a third rate hike at the December meeting, in addition to the three hikes... More >

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