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Economic Update 05/12/14

By Robert Pagliarini on May 12, 2014

ISM: SERVICE SECTOR VERY HEALTHY At 55.2, the Institute for Supply Management’s April non-manufacturing PMI climbed 2.1 points above the March reading. The nation’s service sector expanded for a 51st straight month, and the survey saw big monthly leaps in its new orders index (up 4.8 points to 58.2) and its business activity index (which…

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Economic Update 05/05/14

By Robert Pagliarini on May 5, 2014

HIRING & MANUFACTURING PICK UP America’s economy created 288,000 new jobs in April, the most in any month since January 2012. Labor Department data showed the jobless rate falling dramatically to 6.3%, largely due to more people abandoning the job hunt. Still, the U-6 rate (unemployment + underemployment) was at 12.3% in April, a 4½-year…

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Economic Update 04/28/14

By Robert Pagliarini on April 28, 2014

CONSUMER OPTIMISM INCREASES At a final April mark of 84.1, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index hit a 9-month high. It climbed 4.1 points above the final March reading. The survey’s sub-index of current economic conditions came in at a 7-year high of 98.7. HOME SALES TAIL OFF While the National Association of Realtors…

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Economic Update 04/21/14

By Robert Pagliarini on April 21, 2014

CONSUMER PRICES ADVANCE 0.2% In reviewing March’s mild increase in household inflation, two statistics stand out. The Consumer Price Index measured a 2.7% year-over-year rise in shelter costs (the largest annual gain in six years). Americans also paid 0.4% for food last month. Annualized consumer inflation reached 1.5% in March, up from 1.1% for February.…

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Economic Update 04/14/14

By Robert Pagliarini on April 14, 2014

HOUSEHOLD SENTIMENT REACHES 9-MONTH PEAK The University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment rose 2.6 points in its preliminary April reading, bouncing back from a 4-month low of 80.0 at the end of March to a high unseen since last July. From 2003-07, the index averaged a reading of 89.0; during the 2007-09 recession, its…

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Economic Update 04/07/14

By Robert Pagliarini on April 8, 2014

PAYROLLS EXPAND BY 192,000 IN MARCH This gain almost met Wall Street’s expectations. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast 200,000 new jobs. March’s hiring didn’t move the Labor Department’s unemployment indicators much: the jobless rate remained at 6.7%, the labor force participation rate rose just slightly to 63.2, and the population of long-term unemployed still…

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Economic Update 03/31/14

By Robert Pagliarini on March 31, 2014

A SENSE OF OPTIMISM ON MAIN STREET The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index reached a six-year peak this month, climbing 4.0 points to 82.3. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a gain of 0.3 points to 78.6. Additionally, new Commerce Department data showed household spending rising 0.3% in February with household incomes up by the…

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Economic Update 03/24/14

By Robert Pagliarini on March 24, 2014

FED TAPERS, CHANGES CRITERIA FOR A RATE HIKE Last week, the Federal Reserve disclosed another $10 billion cut for QE3 in April, and a view that declining unemployment would not necessarily prompt interest rate increases. Rather than peg rate hikes on the jobless rate dipping below 6.5%, the Fed will give greater weight to inflation…

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Economic Update 03/17/14

By Robert Pagliarini on March 17, 2014

RETAIL SALES UP 0.3% IN FEBRUARY Weather didn’t stop Americans from shopping last month. February’s headline gain in retail sales was the first in three months and represented a nice turnaround from the (revised) 0.6% drop measured by the Commerce Department for January. Minus car and truck buying, the February increase was still 0.3%. Sales…

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Economic Update 03/10/14

By Robert Pagliarini on March 10, 2014

ECONOMY ADDS 175,000 MORE JOBS February’s payroll growth was decent, and seemingly unimpeded by the weather. Last month’s net jobs gain approximated the 12-month average of 179,000 recorded by the Labor Department, which also revised January and December totals north by a collective 25,000 hires. Few of the 264,000 new participants in the job hunt…

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