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Oct. 12, 2017

U.S. consumer prices rose 0.5% in September, the largest increase in eight months. The result reflects another big jump in energy prices in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which shut Gulf Coast refineries and caused gasoline prices to jump across the country.

The September increase in the closely watched consumer price index was the biggest one-month gain since a 0.6% rise in January, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Energy prices shot up 6.1%, led by a 13.1% surge in gasoline. Analysts believe that the impact of the hurricane will be temporary.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy, rose a tiny 0.1% in September.

Over the last year, overall prices are up 2.2%, while core inflation has risen 1.7%.

News
Oct. 12, 2017

The Sacramento region’s largest local governments will see pension costs go up by an estimated 14 percent next fiscal year, starting a series of annual increases that many city officials say are “unsustainable” and will force service cuts or tax hikes.

The increases come after CalPERS in December reduced the expected rate of return from investments, forcing local governments and other participants in the state’s retirement plan to pay more to cover the cost of pensions.

. . . Leyne Milstein, the city of Sacramento’s finance director, said the city’s pension costs will double in seven years. While city revenues have also increased in recent years, thanks in part to a strong real-estate market, they have not increased as much as pension costs in actual dollars.

“It’s not sustainable,” Milstein said. “These costs are going to make things incredibly challenging.”

News
Oct. 11, 2017

Southern California wages are rising but a new report from University of Southern California shows that’s not going to make rents more affordable in the long run.

The annual USC Casden Real Estate Economics Forecast found that rents will keep rising over the next two years because the supply of apartments is tight and not enough new housing is coming online.

In Los Angeles County, average monthly rents are expected to rise to $2,373 by 2019 — up $136 from the 2017 average.

News
Oct. 11, 2017

The rate at which workers quit their jobs—seen by many economists as a sign of confidence in the labor market—fell slightly to a seasonally adjusted 2.1% in August from 2.2% in July, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, known as Jolts, released Wednesday.

The quits rate, or the share of employed people who voluntarily leave their jobs in a month, has held nearly steady for two years after slowly climbing after the recession ended in mid-2009. The sideways move in the quits rate comes at a time when the unemployment rate has fallen to a 16-year low and the number of available jobs has touched the highest level on records back to 2000.

News
Oct. 10, 2017

Companies have grown more reluctant to borrow after an initial surge of optimism following the election, said Jeff Glenzer, vice president at the Association for Financial Professionals, a group for corporate finance and treasury professionals. “All the turmoil and the inability to move policy through Washington set in,” he said.

But analysts say the prolonged slowdown in commercial-loan growth may simply be a function of the metric returning to its normal level in recent decades. Growth in the category ran far above gross domestic product growth in the years following the financial crisis, a streak that is difficult to maintain for any prolonged period.

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