WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. job growth accelerated sharply in February despite the icy weather that gripped much of the nation, easing fears of an abrupt economic slowdown and keeping the Federal Reserve on track to continue reducing its monetary stimulus.
Employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls last month after creating 129,000 new positions in January, the Labor Department said on Friday. The unemployment rate, however, rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low of 6.6 percent, as Americans flooded into the labor market to search for work.
“It reinforces the case for the economy being stronger than it’s looked for the last couple of months,” said Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services in Boston. “It makes life easier for the Fed and feeds into continuing the tapering process.”
March 7, 2014 No Comments
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks mostly rose on Thursday, with the S&P 500 closing at a record high after better-than-expected jobless claims data ahead of Friday’s closely watched nonfarm payrolls report.
Based on the latest available data, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 63.90 points, or 0.39 percent, to close unofficially at 16,424.08. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 3.22 points, or 0.17 percent, to finish unofficially at 1,877.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 5.85 points, or 0.13 percent, to end unofficially at 4,352.13.
March 6, 2014 No Comments
Military families, military retirees and others with shopping privileges on military bases redeemed nearly $104 million worth of food stamps at commissaries in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. That’s a 5 percent increase from 2012 and the highest it’s ever been.
According to CNN Money, food stamp usage at military commissaries has more than tripled since the Great Recession in 2008.
That outpaces the growth in food stamp use by the general population, says CBS MoneyWatch.
February 23, 2014 No Comments
WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve officials agreed at their January meeting that further gradual reductions in their stimulus would be appropriate as long as the economy keeps improving.
Officials weighed the need to stress to investors that the Fed’s key short-term interest rate would remain near zero, according to the minutes of the Jan. 28-29 meeting released Wednesday. But Fed officials couldn’t agree on how to modify their commitment to keep the rate near zero “well past” the time the unemployment rate falls below 6.5 percent. The rate is now 6.6 percent.
At its January meeting, the Fed voted 10-0 to trim its monthly bond purchases to $65 billion. In December, the Fed had decided to make a first reduction from $85 billion to $75 billion. The bond purchases have been intended to keep long-term borrowing rates low to spur spending and growth.
February 19, 2014 No Comments
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve will probably have to return to more “traditional” policy-making now that the U.S. jobless rate has fallen to 6.6 percent, so close to the U.S. central bank’s existing 6.5-percent threshold for considering an interest-rate rise, a top Fed official said on Wednesday.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, speaking on a panel at the New York Stock Exchange, said the Fed will have to adjust its so-called forward guidance on monetary policy. He expects the Fed to drop its economic thresholds and have to “make more qualitative judgments” on when to tighten policy.
The debate over what to do about the increasingly less relevant thresholds is growing within the central bank.
As it stands, the Fed has said it expects not to raise benchmark rates until well after the unemployment rate falls below 6.5 percent, especially if inflation remains below target. Joblessness has fallen to 6.6 percent last month from 7.9 percent a year earlier, a drop Bullard called “dramatic.”
February 12, 2014 No Comments
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, in a boost to the labor market outlook and the broader economy.
Other data on Thursday showed a weakening in exports in December, which if it extends to January could see trade being a drag on growth in the first quarter after it helped to buoy the economy in the last three months of 2013.
“The underlying economic trend is still positive,” said Craig Dismuke, chief economic strategist at Vining Sparks in Memphis.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 331,000, the Labor Department said. That was a bit lower than economists’ expectations for a fall to 335,000 in the week ended February 1.
February 6, 2014 No Comments
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, but the underlying trend suggested the labor market continued to heal.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 3,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits rising to 330,000 in the week ended Jan. 25.
January 30, 2014 No Comments
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. employers hired the fewest workers in nearly three years in December, but the setback was likely to be temporary amid signs that unusually cold weather may have had an impact.
The surprisingly weak job growth figures reported by the Labor Department on Friday, however, could cause some discomfort at the Federal Reserve, which last month announced plans to scale back its massive monetary stimulus program.
January 11, 2014 No Comments
Nov 6 (Reuters) – (The following statement was released by the rating agency)
As U.S. home prices continue to increase nationally, several cities are approaching inflated bubble-year peaks, according to the latest sustainable home price update from Fitch Ratings.
U.S. home prices have risen 13%. However, Fitch sees the growth as unsustainable. In fact, national prices are approximately 17% overvalued as per Fitch’s Sustainable Home Price (SHP) Model. Many of those cities, not surprisingly, are in California, according to Director Stefan Hilts.
‘Home prices in San Francisco have gone up over 20% year-over-year, the highest rate of increase than at any point in the last 10 years,’ said Hilts. ‘In fact, San Francisco and San Jose will set new home price records in the next six months. Fitch’s SHP model currently identifies much of coastal California to be more than 20% overvalued. Other California cities nearing bubble-year peaks include Oakland, San Diego and Los Angeles.
November 6, 2013 No Comments
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. private-sector employers hired the fewest workers in six months in October while tepid domestic demand kept inflation benign last month, suggesting the economy was still in need of stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
The slowdown in private job growth was the latest signal that the labor market has taken a step back in recent months, and the clearest indication yet that a 16-day government shutdown weighed on economic activity.
Officials from the central bank are expected to keep their monthly $85 billion bond-buying pace unchanged when they conclude a two-day meeting later on Wednesday.
October 30, 2013 No Comments