08/19/2018

News

Home Building Disappoints Again, Raising the Specter of a Cementing Trend

Home construction across the U.S. staged a modest rebound last month after a big June drop, but was weaker than Wall Street had expected, with many analysts taking a bleak view of the housing market. Housing starts grew 0.9% in July from the prior month, significantly weaker than the 8.3% bounce back economists surveyed by […]

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Retail Sales and Manufacturing Are Powering U.S. Growth This Summer

A surge in retail sales and rising manufacturing output suggest the U.S. economy’s strong growth in the second quarter continued into the third. Retail sales—a measure of spending at U.S. stores, websites and restaurants—rose a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in July from the prior month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That was well ahead of economists’ […]

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U.S. Worker Productivity Improves at Best Pace in Three Years

U.S. worker productivity accelerated this spring at the best pace in more than three years, a possible sign stronger business investment is giving workers the tools they need to boost output. The productivity of nonfarm workers, measured as the output of goods and services for each hour on the job, increased at an annualized and […]

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Chinese Reversing Big U.S. Real Estate Buying Spree That Had Helped Boost Prices

Chinese real-estate investors, facing pressure from Beijing, are reversing a yearslong buying spree in the U.S. where they often paid record prices for marquee properties like New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel. Chinese insurers, conglomerates, and other investors have turned net sellers of U.S. commercial real estate for the first time in a decade. They have […]

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U.S. Economy Grew at 4.1% Rate in Second Quarter

The U.S. economy grew at the strongest pace in nearly four years during the second quarter, powered by a rebound in consumer spending, strong exports and firm business investment. Gross domestic product—the value of all goods and services produced across the economy—rose at a seasonally and inflation-adjusted annual rate of 4.1% from April through June, […]

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Manufacturing Sector Hits a Sweet Spot

The manufacturing sector staged a quick turnaround in June after a fire at the plant of a Ford pickup-truck supplier knocked output lower the previous month, extending a solid run of growth for U.S. industrial activity. The fire, which occurred May 2 at a parts plant in Michigan operated by a unit of China’s Wanfeng […]

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U.S. Jobless Claims Hit Lowest Level Since 1969

The number of Americans claiming new unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in nearly five decades. Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., decreased by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 207,000 in the week ended July 14, the Labor Department said Thursday. This marks the lowest level for claims […]

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The Economy Is Growing Faster Than the Government Says

If you’re looking for the most accurate view of economic growth, you won’t find it in the government’s top-line statistics. Last month the Bureau of Economic Analysis revised its estimate for the first quarter of 2018; the BEA now says gross domestic product grew 2%, annualized, down from the previous figure of 2.2%. This dramatically […]

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U.S. CO2 Levels Drop Again — So Why Aren’t Green Groups Rejoicing?

Global Warming: Once more, science provides bad news for global warming alarmists. U.S. CO2 levels again declined during 2017, despite overall global output again rising. Credit U.S. fracking and the natural gas boom. But don’t worry: the hysteria won’t end. The new report, based on U.S. data, shows clearly the U.S. continuing downward trend. “The […]

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Rising Transportation Costs Help Drive Up U.S. Business Prices

A gauge of U.S. business prices rose broadly in June, driven in part by a rise in transportation costs that underscores the sector’s climbing labor expenses. The producer-price index, a measure of the prices businesses receive for their goods and services, rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in June from a month earlier, the Labor Department […]

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U.S. Consumer Price Increases Are Eating Away Worker Wage Gains

U.S. consumer prices rose for a third straight month in June, eating away at modest wage gains and sending inflation to its highest rate in more than six years. The consumer-price index, which gauges what Americans pay for everything from veterinarian services to baby clothes, rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in June from the prior […]

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Factory Activity Heats Up as Manufacturers Position for Tariffs

American factory activity accelerated for the second straight month this summer, in part because manufacturers were scrambling to move goods ahead of threatened tariffs. The Institute for Supply Management on Monday said its manufacturing index rose to 60.2 in June from 58.7 in May. Numbers above 50 indicate activity is expanding across the manufacturing sector, […]

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Disability Applications Plunge as the Economy Strengthens

The number of Americans seeking Social Security disability benefits is plunging, a startling reversal of a decades-old trend that threatened the program’s solvency. It is the latest evidence of a stronger economy pulling people back into the job market or preventing workers from being sidelined in the first place. The drop is so significant that […]

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Economic Confidence Rises Among Lower-Income Americans

Economic confidence among lower-income Americans has taken a recent leap, the latest evidence that benefits of the economic expansion are reaching a broader swath of workers. Sentiment among lower-income consumers still trails that of their higher-earning counterparts. But the gap has narrowed in recent months. In the University of Michigan’s consumer-sentiment index, confidence among households […]

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Thefts rise after California reduces criminal penalties

California voters’ decision to reduce penalties for drug and property crimes in 2014 contributed to a jump in car burglaries, shoplifting and other theft, researchers reported. Larcenies increased about 9 percent by 2016, or about 135 more thefts per 100,000 residents than if tougher penalties had remained, according to results of a study by the […]

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