Business Trends

May 6th, 2020 by

by Raymond J. Keating- As was the case with last week’s report on manufacturing from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), the non-manufacturing ISM index tanked in April. The services sector declined in April, with the non-manufacturing PMI falling to 41.8 percent – the lowest level since March 2009 during the Great Recession – and […]

April 30th, 2020 by

by Raymond J. Keating- The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on April 30 that personal income, disposable income (personal income less personal current taxes) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) suffered big declines in March. For example, personal income dropped by 2 percent in March versus February, as did disposable income. Meanwhile, personal consumption expenditures […]

April 30th, 2020 by

by Raymond J. Keating- The U.S. Department of Labor reported on Thursday, April 30, reported that initial unemployment claims registered 3.839 million for the week ending April 25. That was down by 603,000 compared to the previous week’s level. But at the same point last year, initial weekly jobless claims came in at 230,000. Given […]

April 29th, 2020 by

by Raymond J. Keating- We all knew an ugly first quarter GDP number was coming due to COVID-19-related government “stay at home” orders, “non-essential” business closures and the limitation placed on restaurants, among other service firms. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report, it turned out a big uglier than some assumed. Real […]

April 22nd, 2020 by

The Latest Gallup Economic Confidence Index: Americans will “wait and see” what happens by Raymond J. Keating- The sudden and sharp drop in Americans’ economic confidence, according to Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index, seems to be without precedent. The Index dropped by 54 points in April, which followed on a 19-point decline in March. As Gallup […]

April 17th, 2020 by

by Raymond J. Keating- The deep economic downturn we are experiencing obviously has resulted in a dramatic drop in energy demand. And that obviously manifests itself in a big decline in prices, such as the price of oil falling from $52.78 a barrel on February 20 to $22.76 on April 9. While there’s been a […]

April 17th, 2020 by

  by Raymond J. Keating- Housing construction was pummeled in March due to the coronavirus and related economic shutdown. As reported by the U.S. Census Bureau on April 16, housing starts plunged by 22.3 percent in March versus February. That was the biggest drop in 36 years. Building permits, which provide a glimpse at what […]

April 17th, 2020 by

  by Raymond J. Keating- The latest edition of the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book provides additional information regarding the grim story that is the current U.S. coronavirus economy. Of course, big questions stand out regarding the economy. How long will this last? And what about the subsequent recovery? There are no neat-and-tidy answers – except […]

April 15th, 2020 by

  by Raymond J. Keating- The restaurant business is notorious for being brutally competitive. Although, it should be noted that the widely declared 90 percent failure rate for restaurants (in the pre-coronavirus economy) in their first year was fiction. As noted in one piece at “Several years ago, researchers at Cornell University and Michigan […]

April 10th, 2020 by

by Raymond J. Keating- Make no mistake, no part of this country will escape the economic pain being inflicted by the coronavirus and related economic shutdown measures. But are some states in a better position to weather the storms than others? That’s a difficult question to answer, but we can consider some important pieces of […]

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