Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell expressed optimism about the prospects for the U.S. economy and said he expects it will grow at a solid pace, though it still faces risks from slower growth overseas and trade tensions.
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The longest streak of sentiment gains in two years is the latest sign that low unemployment, record stock prices and Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts are brightening the outlook for consumers.
U.S. employers added a solid 128,000 jobs in October, a figure that was held down by a now-settled strike against General Motors that caused several thousand workers to be temporarily counted as unemployed.
Economists had been forecasting a much bigger slowdown with fears that gross domestic product could slump to 1.4% or less given a number of headwinds.
Negotiators working through the night in Brussels came to an agreement Thursday morning after Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed on despite lingering questions about warring Brexit factions in London. The agreement would still need approval by European leaders and the British Parliament.
Consumer borrowing increased at a solid pace in August, helped by the biggest jump in auto and student loans in three years.
The nation’s business economists think President Donald Trump’s trade war with China will contribute to a sharp slowdown in economic growth this year and next, raising concerns about a possible recession starting late next year.
All told, the September jobs report is likely to keep the Federal Reserve on track to cut interest rates later this month for the third time this year to try to help sustain the expansion.
With signs of a weakening economy spreading and financial markets gyrating, Friday’s monthly jobs report will be watched for any evidence that the turmoil might be threatening the critically important U.S. job market.
September marked the worst month for U.S. manufacturing in more than a decade—since June 2009—according to the closely watched Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Index.
In the midst of the longest economic expansion the United States has ever seen, the separation between rich and poor from 2017 and 2018 reached its highest level since the Census Bureau started tracking it in 1967.
The trade war with China and a global slowdown have contributed to uncertainties that are clouding the outlook for the U.S. economy, now in its 11th year of expansion.
Should the recovery take weeks or months, the impact could be far-reaching. Higher fuel prices can not only motivate consumers to cut spending elsewhere but also ultimately reach into virtually every corner of the economy.
Figures released Friday showed August retail sales advanced more than forecast, while consumer sentiment rebounded from an almost three-year low.
Government figures show that after more than a decade of economic growth—the longest expansion on record—Americans are finally earning what they did two decades ago once inflation is taken into account.
The Labor Department’s monthly jobs report showed that the unemployment rate remained 3.7%, near the lowest level in five decades. And average hourly pay rose 3.2% from a year earlier, outpacing inflation and lifting Americans’ spending power.
Two key indicators—hiring for temporary-help positions and weekly working hours—have declined this year even as unemployment has remained near a half-century low.
U.S. businesses added a healthy 195,000 jobs last month, a sign companies are still hiring at a brisk pace despite the ongoing trade war with China.
U.S. consumer spending grew 0.6% in July, a healthy gain that suggests American shoppers are largely ignoring concerns about trade tensions and driving the economy forward.