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Economy

Reuters | Equities.com |

The way Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sees it, the U.S. labor market has a long way to go to meet the central bank’s maximum employment goal and a lot of boxes to tick along the way.

In his most extensive effort to explain how the Fed will measure progress toward a goal prioritized last month under the Fed’s new framework, Powell was clear on Wednesday that he and other policymakers were not focused on any single number, such as the ...


AP News | Equities.com |

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to 860,000, a historically high figure that reflects economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak.

Before the pandemic hit the economy, the number signing up for jobless aid had never exceeded 700,000 in a week, even during the depths of the 2007-2009 Great Recession. Now they’ve topped 700,000 for 26 straight weeks.

The Labor Department said Thursday that U.S. jobless claims fell by 3...


AP News | Equities.com |

The Federal Reserve expects to keep its benchmark interest rate pegged near zero at least through 2023 as it strives to accelerate economic growth and drive down the unemployment rate.

The central bank also said Wednesday that it will seek to push inflation above 2% annually. The Fed left its benchmark short-term rate unchanged at nearly zero, where it has been since the pandemic intensified in March.

The Fed’s benchma...


AP News | Equities.com |

Americans kept spending in August, but the pace of that growth is slowing as millions of people who lost jobs have now lost a $600 a week boost in their unemployment checks.

Retail sales rose 0.6% last month, the fourth consecutive month of growth, the U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday, but lower than the 0.9% increase in July. It’s also below the 1.1% increase analysts expected.

“These are disappointing numbers,” sa...


Reuters | Equities.com |

U.S. single-family homebuilder confidence increased to a record high in September as historically low mortgage rates continue to boost the housing market despite the COVID-19 recession, which has left tens of millions of Americans unemployed.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) rose five points to an all-time high of 83 this month, data showed on Wednesday. A reading above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than ...


Reuters | Equities.com |

U.S. import prices increased more than expected in August and gains in the prior month were revised sharply higher, supporting the view that inflation pressures were building up.

The report from the Labor Department on Tuesday followed data last week showing further increases in both consumer and producer prices in August. Firming inflation, however, is unlikely to discourage the Federal Reserve from injecting more money into the ec...


AP News | Equities.com |

The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that U.S. industrial production slowed to a modest increase of 0.4% in August, far weaker than the strong bounce back recorded in previous months when factories were coming back to life.

The slight uptick followed gains of 3.5% in July and 6.1% in June, when the industrial sector knocked down by the pandemic began to rebound.

For August, manufacturing rose 1% but mining, whi...


AP News | Equities.com |

The U.S. budget deficit hit an all-time high of $3 trillion for the first 11 months of this budget year, the Treasury Department said Friday.

The ocean of red ink is a product of the government’s massive spending to try to cushion the impact of a coronavirus-fueled recession that has cost millions of jobs.

The deficit from October through August is more than double the previous 11-month record of $1.37 billion set in 2009. At that time the...


AP News | Equities.com |

U.S. consumer prices rose 0.4% in August as energy prices moderated after big gains in the previous two months.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the August increase in the consumer price index followed a 0.6% jump in both July and June as prices rebounded following the virus-related shutdowns in earlier months.

The slowdown in August inflation reflected moderation in energy costs, which were up 0.9% last month following gains of 5.1% n June and...


AP News | Equities.com |

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits was unchanged last week at 884,000, a sign that layoffs remain stuck at a historically high level six months after the viral pandemic flattened the economy.

The latest figures released by the Labor Department Thursday coincide with other recent evidence that the job market’s improvement may be weakening after solid gains through spring and most of summer. The number ...