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AP News | Equities.com |

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell slightly last week to 900,000, still a historically high level that points to ongoing job cuts in a raging pandemic.

The Labor Department’s report Thursday underscored that President Joe Biden has inherited an economy that faltered this winter as virus cases spiked, cold weather restricted dining and federal rescue aid expired. The government said 5.1 million Americans are continuing to receive state jobless benefits, down from 5.2 million in the previous week. That suggests that while some of the unemployed are finding jobs, others are likely using up their state benefits and transitioning to separate extended-benefit programs.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Janet Yellen, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, urged lawmakers on Tuesday to “act big” on coronavirus relief spending, arguing that the economic benefits far outweigh the risks of a higher debt burden.

In more than three hours of confirmation hearing testimony, the former Federal Reserve chair laid out a vision of a more muscular Treasury that would act aggressively to reduce economic inequality, fight climate change and counter China’s unfair trade and subsidy practices.


AP News | Equities.com |

The number of people seeking unemployment aid soared last week to 965,000, the most since late August and a sign that the resurgent virus has likely escalated layoffs.

The latest figures for jobless claims, issued Thursday by the Labor Department, remain at levels never seen until the virus struck. Before the pandemic, weekly applications typically numbered around 225,000. They spiked to nearly 7 million last spring, after nationwide shutdowns took effect. Applications declined over the summer but have been stuck above 700,000 since September.


AP News | Equities.com |

The U.S. trade deficit jumped to $68.1 billion in November, the highest monthly deficit in 14 years, as a surge in imports overwhelmed a smaller increase in exports.

The November gap between what America buys from abroad compared to what it sells abroad rose by 8% from the October deficit of $63.1 billion, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

The increase reflected a 2.9% increase in imports of goods and services to $252.3 billion on a se...


Reuters | Equities.com |

A recent rise in U.S. bond yields and market inflation expectations has bolstered Federal Reserve officials’ hopes that the central bank’s new monetary policy approach is taking hold and could be further buoyed if a Democratic-led Congress rolls out more spending.

“I am encouraged to see the rise in market indicators of inflation expectations. ... That is what we are trying to support,” Richmond Federal President Thomas Barkin said on Thursday in an interview with Reuters.


AP News | Equities.com |

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell slightly last week to 787,000, a historically high number that points to a weak job market held back by the viral pandemic.

Thursday’s figure from the Labor Department, a slight decline from the previous week, shows that even with the pandemic recession in its 10th month, many businesses are still laying off workers. Before the recession, weekly jobless claims typically numbered around 225,000.

The renewed surge in virus cases has caused millions of consumers to avoid eating out, shopping and traveling. And states have imposed new restrictions on restaurants, bars and other businesses. Economists at TD Securities estimate that more than half of states are now restricting gatherings to 10 people or fewer, up from roughly a quarter in September.


AP News | Equities.com |

Saudi Arabia said Tuesday it will cut its oil production by one million barrels a day, taking on the burden of supporting prices in the energy market as a “goodwill gesture” after a meeting with other crude-producing countries.

The decision came after a meeting between countries that are part of the OPEC oil cartel and allies like Russia that have coordinated their production levels in recent years in an effort to sway the market. The pandemic has sowed uncertainty about when an economic recovery might arrive and boost sagging demand for energy.


AP News | Equities.com |

American factories grew in December at the fastest pace in more than two years as manufacturing continued to weather the pandemic better than the battered services sector.

The Institute for Supply Management reported Tuesday that its gauge of manufacturing activity rose to 60.7% last month, the highest reading since it stood at 60.8 in August 2018. The gauge was up 3.2 percentage points from a November level of 57.5.

Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector.


AP News | Equities.com |

Spending on U.S. construction projects increased 0.9% in November as strength in home building offset weakness in other parts of the construction industry.

The November gain followed a bigger 1.6% rise in October and left construction spending up 4.4% through the first 11 months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, according to the Commerce Department.

For November, spending on residential construction rose 2.7% with single-family construction surging 5.1%


Reuters | Equities.com |

OPEC sees plenty of downside risks for oil markets in the first half of 2021, its secretary general said on Sunday, a day before meeting allies led by Russia to discuss output levels for February.

“Amid the hopeful signs, the outlook for the first half of 2021 is very mixed and there are still many downside risks to juggle,” said OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo.

He was speaking at a meeting of experts of OPEC and allies, a group known as OPEC+, according to remarks published by OPEC.

OPEC+ will meet on Monday.