Business Trends

March 28th, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating – According to the latest take on consumer confidence from the Conference Board, consumers continue to expect a recession. The Consumer Confidence Index experienced a slight increase in March, from 103.4 (1985=100) in February to 104.2 in March. That included a decrease in the Present Situation Index from 153.0 in February […]

March 26th, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating – It’s stunning to think that we’re beyond three years since the pandemic hit. I can’t decide if it feels longer or shorter. Beyond the tragic illness and deaths, the impact on the economy also has been rather stunning. One angle to get a sense on how the economy is faring […]

March 22nd, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating –  The Federal Reserve backed off a bit compared to its recent aggressiveness in hiking the federal funds rate. On March 22, the Federal Open Market Committee announced that it was raising the federal funds rate by a quarter point to a targeted range of 4.75 percent to 5 percent. Only […]

March 16th, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating – The news from the U.S. Census Bureau on February 2023 retail and food services sales was negative. The report revised January’s sales upward.  Retail sales and food services sales were down by 0.4 percent in February. Let’s put that in perspective over the last several months. January retail sales were […]

March 14th, 2023 by

  by Raymond J. Keating – Once inflation rears its ugly head, it’s never easy to be rid of it. And we’re seeing that in the latest measure of inflation, that is, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February 2023 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. CPI inflation registered 0.4 percent in February. That’s a […]

March 10th, 2023 by

When the Federal Reserve gets deep into the business of trying to manipulate the economy by engineering a so-called “soft landing” in its battle with inflation, many things get turned on their heads. In particular, good economic news often gets viewed as bad, and vice versa. That’s especially the case with jobs reports, as the […]

March 9th, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating – It’s rarely ever good news when large swaths of the economy are affected by what a government appointee has to say. That’s the case now with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. It’s even worse when that appointee, and his colleagues, possess enough power to push the economy in the wrong direction, […]

March 8th, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating – Trade kicked off 2023 strong, after it had ended 2022 poorly, according to the latest “U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services” report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Let’s recall that trade has been an under-performing sector in an under-performing economy pre- and post-pandemic. That’s particularly the case […]

March 2nd, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating – A key measure of the state of the labor market is the employment-population ratio, that is, the number of employed people as a percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just released the “Regional and State Unemployment – 2022 Annual Averages” report, which includes employment-population […]

February 27th, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating – The latest durable goods report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows new orders taking a dive in January in a stretch of wild monthly moves. Specifically, new orders for manufactured durable goods declined in two of the last three months, with the January drop registering 4.5 percent. That followed on […]

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