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Employment Growth Slows In January; Unemployment Ticks Lower
The U.S. Labor Department has reported mixed employment numbers for January. Specifically, the government intoned that the nation added 151,000 jobs last month; that was some 35,000 fewer than the consensus forecast of 186,000 new positions for the latest month. Meanwhile gains for November were revised from 252,000 to 280,000. However, the non-farm payroll increase for December was pared back from 292,000 to 262,000.
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The Federal Reserve Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged; Expresses Concerns About The Economic Outlook
From a number of perspectives, the Federal Reserve did the expected as it concluded its two-day FOMC meeting within the past hour. On point, the lead bank left borrowing costs unchanged; expressed concerns about the economic outlook; but did not rule out a March interest rate increase. It will hold its next FOMC meeting that month. Read more
New Home Sales Strengthen In December

As expected, demand for new homes perked up last month, with sales coming in at an annualized rate of 544,000 properties. That was above both the month-earlier pace of 491,000 homes sold, again on an annual basis, as well as the consensus expectation for property transactions of 505,000.

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Job Growth Accelerates In December 2015
Earlier this morning, we were greeted with a report from the U.S. Labor Department showing that the economy had added 292,000 jobs in December. That tally was well above the consensus forecast of 206,000 jobs. What's more, non-farm payrolls for November were revised up from an increase of 211,000 to one of 252,000. At the same time, the unemployment rate held steady at a seven-and-a half-year low of 5.0%. Expectations had been for a nominal decline to 4.9%. Read more
Existing Home Sales Tumble In November
Following the release of benign data on revised third-quarter gross domestic product that showed growth of 2.0%, which was in line with the earlier estimate of 2.1% and the consensus forecast of 1.9%, the National Association of Realtors issued disappointing figures on sales of existing homes for November. Read more
The Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates
Just moments ago, the U.S. Federal Reserve voted to raise short-term interest rates, specifically the federal funds rate target, for the first time in nearly a decade. Unlike so many past interest-rate adjustments--even going back decades--this one was not a surprise. In fact, it was one of the most widely telegraphed rate increases in recent memory, with at least 80% of forecasters predicting just such a rise in borrowing costs, at this time. Read more
Industrial Production And Factory Usage Both Falter In November 2015
The Commerce Department reported that industrial production dropped a rather sharp 0.6% last month, its third decline in as many months, and the largest of the three successive pullbacks. Expectations had been for a drop of just 0.1% last month. Also, and even more disarming, the government revised down October's industrial output from a decline of 0.2% to one twice that large. Read more
Retail Sales Generally Strengthen In November 2015; Producer Prices Rise As Well
Good news on the retail sales front was released earlier this morning, as the gauge of consumer spending rose strongly in November, allaying fears of a disquieting Christmas selling season. And the Labor Department noted that the Producer Price Index rose by 0.3% in November. That was up nicely from the flattish reading that had been the forecast Read more
Employment Growth Moderates Somewhat In November, But Was In Line With Consensus
The Labor Department reported a bit earlier this morning that the nation had added 211,000 jobs in November. That was just slightly higher than the 200,000 new positions forecast for the latest reporting month. That figure, albeit down from October's upwardly revised increase of 298,000 (originally estimated at 271,000), was nevertheless a decent total and one that should be consistent with a moderately expanding economy. Read more
Nonmanufacturing Slows Its Advance In November
Fresh off the heels of a disquieting report issued Monday, in which the Institute for Supply Management reported its first contraction in manufacturing activity in three years during November, that trade group issued its monthly survey on the non-manufacturing sector, and noted that while this category showed further growth, the pace of that improvement slowed last month from October. Read more
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