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The U.S. is starting the 2021 budget year the way the old year ended, with soaring deficits.

The Treasury Department reported Thursday that the federal government ran up a record October deficit of $284.1 billion, nearly double the red ink of the same month a year ago, as revenues declined while spending to deal with the impact of the coronavirus soared.

The October deficit was almost double the $134.5 billion deficit logged in October 2019. It smashed the previous October record of a $176 billion deficit set in 2009, when the government was spending heavily to lift the country out of a deep recession caused by the 2008 financial crisis.


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U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in October, the lowest reading in five months, suggesting that a price spike over the summer is beginning to fade as coronavirus cases spread.

The flat reading for last month followed a gain of 0.2% in September. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, also showed no changed in October, another indication that inflation remains well-behaved, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Over the past 12 months, overall inflation is up a moderate 1.2% while core inflation is up 1.6%. Both readings are well below the Federal Reserve’s 2% target for annual price gains.


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The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week to 709,000, a still-high level but the lowest figure since March and a further sign that the job market might be slowly healing.

Yet the improvement will be put at risk by the sharp resurgence in confirmed viral infections to an all-time high well above 120,000 a day. Cases are rising in 49 states, and deaths are increasing in 39. The nation has now recorded 240,000 virus-related deaths and 10.3 million confirmed infections.


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U.S. employers added 638,000 jobs in October, a solid pace though far fewer than needed to regain most of the jobs lost to the pandemic recession just as new viral cases are setting record highs.

The gain suggested that a tentative economic recovery may remain intact even in the face of a surging viral outbreak.

The report Friday from the Labor Department said the unemployment rate fell to 6.9% from 7.9% in September. But eight months after the virus struck the United States, the economy still has recovered barely half the 22 million jobs that were lost to the pandemic.


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The Federal Reserve kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low near zero Thursday and signaled its readiness to do more if needed to support an economy under threat from a worsening coronavirus pandemic.

The Fed announced no new actions after its latest policy meeting but left the door open to provide further assistance in the coming months. The central bank again pledged to use its “full range of tools to support the U.S. economy in this challenging time.” The economy in recent weeks has weakened after mounting a tentative recovery from the deep pandemic recession in early spring.


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751,000 seek US jobless benefits as virus hobbles economy
By PAUL WISEMAN
today

FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2020 file photo, a customer wears a face mask as they carry their order past a now hiring sign at an eatery in Richardson, Texas. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 751,000, the lowest since March, but it's still historically high and indicates the viral pandemic is still forcing many employers to cut jobs. (AP Photo/L...


Reuters | Equities.com |

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. private payrolls increased less than expected in October and activity in the services industry cooled, providing early signs of a slowdown in economic growth as fiscal stimulus diminishes and new COVID-19 infections surge across the country.

The recovery from the coronavirus pandemic could also be impacted over the next few months by political uncertainty following Tuesday’s cliffhanger presidential election, which economists warned could cause businesses to be more cautious about spending decisions.


Reuters | Equities.com |

New orders for U.S.-made goods increased solidly in September, but further gains could be limited amid an anticipated slowdown in consumer spending as government money for businesses and workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic runs out.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that factory orders rose 1.1% after climbing 0.6% in August. Orders were boosted by increased demand for primary metals, computers and electronic products as well as motor vehicles and fabricated metal products. But orders for machinery, furniture and electrical equipment, appliances and components fell.


Reuters | Equities.com |

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturing activity accelerated more than expected in October, with new orders jumping to their highest level in nearly 17 years amid a shift in spending toward goods like motor vehicles as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.

The survey on Monday from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) was the last piece of major economic data before Tuesday’s presidential election. The strength in manufacturing will likely keep the economy floating, with growth expected to slow sharply in the fourth quarter after a historic 33.1% annualized rate of expansion in the July-September period.


Reuters | Equities.com |

U.S. consumer spending increased more than expected in September, but decreasing benefits for millions of unemployed Americans and a resurgence in COVID-19 cases across the nation could crimp spending in the fourth quarter.

The report from the Commerce Department on Friday also showed inflation remaining muted last month, which could allow the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates near zero for a while to aid the recovery from the COVID-19 recession as fiscal stimulus runs out. More than $3 trillion in government pandemic relief, which included a weekly unemployment benefits subsidy, spurred record economic growth in the third quarter.