Business Trends

January 17th, 2024 by

by Raymond J. Keating – What’s the deal with the Fed’s Beige Book? The Federal Reserve describes its Beige Book as follows: “The Beige Book is a Federal Reserve System publication about current economic conditions across the 12 Federal Reserve Districts. It characterizes regional economic conditions and prospects based on a variety of mostly qualitative […]

January 11th, 2024 by

by Raymond J. Keating – According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, inflation ticked up to 0.3 percent in December. That compared to 0.1 percent in November and 0 percent in October. The following chart shows the downward shift in inflation that began in July 2022. And that, of course, has been most welcome. […]

January 5th, 2024 by

by Raymond J. Keating – The latest employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, once more, offers two stories on the state of the labor market in December 2023. One is a generally positive story, and the second is a big negative. Too often when talking about the monthly jobs report, various economists, […]

December 27th, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating – Elected officials, policymakers, analysts, and talking heads would be wise to keep in mind that entrepreneurship is essential to U.S. economic, income and employment growth. Indeed, the U.S. economy very much is a small business economy, as illustrated by the fact that 98 percent of all businesses (employer firms and […]

December 19th, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating The U.S. Census Bureau has served up some good news on housing starts in November. Housing starts registered a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,560,000 in November, which was 14.8 percent higher than the October rate. It also was up by 9.3 percent versus November 2022. In addition, November’s housing starts […]

December 13th, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating – The Federal Reserve announced in its latest FOMC statement that it would hold its targeted federal funds rate at a range between 5.25 percent and 5.5 percent. While the current range stands at a 22-year high, the Fed hasn’t touched rates now in three consecutive meetings. The Fed summed up […]

December 12th, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating – There are many challenges for consumers, entrepreneurs, businesses, investors and workers during periods of high inflation. Among the most obvious are diminished purchasing power and higher interest rates. But another is volatility. That is, when inflation ignites – as it has since early 2021 – inflation tends to be quite […]

December 8th, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating –  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) served up a surprise jump in employment in November based on the household survey. Each month’s BLS employment report includes data from two surveys. One is the establishment survey, which offers a look at nonfarm payrolls. This survey tends to capture the payrolls […]

December 5th, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating – Real economic growth for the U.S. registered an unimpressive 2.1 percent in the second quarter of this year. However, growth is not the same across the nation. It varies, and often considerably, from state to state. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis just released its estimates for state GDP for […]

December 5th, 2023 by

by Raymond J. Keating –  According to readings from the Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers’ indexes, the U.S. economy continues to suffer a notable divide. On the one hand, the ISM Manufacturing PMI indicated that the manufacturing recession continued in November, extending a manufacturing contraction to 13 consecutive months. On the other hand, the […]

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