October 28, 2016
Clarksville, TN – The recent economic data reports have done little to alter the overall picture (moderate growth, low inflation). The Fed’s Beige Book noted that economic activity has continued to expand, with most Fed districts describing growth as “modest” or “moderate.”
In mid-September, nine of the 12 district banks had requested an increase in the discount rate (the rate the Fed charges banks for short-term borrowing) – one more than in late July – suggesting internal pressures for higher short-term interest rates at the Fed.
October 19, 2016
Clarksville, TN – Minutes of the September 20-21 policy meeting showed that Federal Open Market Committee members were divided on whether to raise short-term interest rates, and most of those voting to wait felt that it was “a close call.”
Financial markets have increasingly priced in a mid-December rate hike. Amid a thin economic calendar, investors focused on what’s happening in the rest of the world, but also reacted to the initial earnings reports for 3Q16.
October 9, 2016
Clarksville, TN – The economic data were mixed. The ISM surveys both surprised to the upside, suggesting that the August slowdown was temporary. Unit auto sales were down from a year ago, but up relative to August on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Nonfarm payrolls rose a bit less than expected, while the unemployment rate ticked modestly higher – the start of the school year makes the September figures suspect, but the underlying trends suggest further improvement in overall labor market conditions.
October 2, 2016
Clarksville, TN – The economic data were mixed. Consumer confidence rose in September. Durable goods orders were mixed. The estimate of 3Q16 GDP growth was revised higher (to a 1.4% annual rate, held back by a sharp slowing in inventory growth).
Personal income rose modestly in August, as expected, but spending was softer than anticipated, suggesting a possible loss of momentum following a strong spring and early summer (economists’ estimate of GDP growth were revised down for both 3Q16 and 4Q16).
September 18, 2016
Clarksville, TN – Fed Governor Lael Brainard, a dove, presented her case for why the central bank should delay an increase in short-term interest rates. While her views are her own (not representative of the Fed as a whole), a more hawkish tilt would have raised the odds of a September rate hike.
The key economic data reports were on the soft side of expectations, but were still consistent with moderate growth in the near term. Retail sales disappointed in August. Industrial production unwound a seasonal quirk that boosted July figures. CPI figures surprise slightly to the upside.
September 8, 2016
Nashville, TN – The traditional wisdom among Silicon Valley’s youthful technorati is to design for what you know—texting your friends in Europe for free (WhatsApp), renting out your bedroom to make extra cash (Airbnb), finding a romantic partner without leaving your house (Tinder). But a handful of entrepreneurs are now looking beyond the millennial market to reach a new demographic with their own needs — baby boomers.
“You’ve got all these 20-something engineering types who are beginning to realize there are older adults who can make use of these products to promote health and well-being,” said Andrew Scharlach, Professor of Aging at the University of California, Berkeley. “What we are beginning to see is the marriage of product developers with the end users that they previously had not been aware of.”
September 4, 2016
Clarksville, TN – The August Employment Report was a little light of expectations. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 151,000 (median forecast: +180,000), with a net revision to June and July of only -1,000. Private-sector payrolls rose by 126,000 – a +150,000 average over the last six months (vs. +221,000 in 2015 and +240,000 in 2014).
The unemployment rate held steady at 4.9% (vs. 5.1% a year ago). Average weekly hours fell (and hours for July were revised lower). Average hourly earnings rose just 0.1%, up 2.4% y/y.
August 29, 2016
Clarksville, TN – Last year, 18 percent of the new jobs created in the United States were in the healthcare industry, and in June of 2015, Forbes magazine declared, “Healthcare is booming.”
Anyone interested in advancing his or her career within this lucrative industry needs to look at, thanks to a recent modification of academic programs within the school’s Department of Health and Human Performance (HHP).
August 28, 2016
Clarksville, TN – In her Jackson Hole speech, Fed Chair Janet Yellen was not expected to provide any significant clues about what will happen at the September 20-21 policy meeting.
Surprise! Yellen provided a strong hint that the central bank is a lot closer to raising short-term interest rates. Yellen said, “I believe the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened in recent months.” Take that in context with other evidence.
August 21, 2016
Clarksville, TN – The FOMC minutes (from the July 26th-27th policy meeting) showed that officials were divided on the timing of the next rate hike. Some felt that the labor market had already tightened enough and that the Fed risked generating financial excesses by keeping rates so low for so long.
Others felt that there was plenty of time to wait for more information and that it would be harder to correct course if the Fed moved too rapidly. Among voting FOMC members, the hawkish view (those wanting to raise rates sooner rather than later) appeared to be a minority.