The U.S. economy ended the first half of the year with several positive signals that suggest American consumers are taking Washington’s turbulent politics in stride and focusing on improving their lives.
Will the U.S. economy continue to grow and at a pace that favors the recreational marine and other industries that depend on consumers who have meaningful disposable income and the will to spend?
When the U.S. job market is viewed purely from the perspective of total employment, the picture looks bright.
For the recreational marine and other industries that sell directly to consumers, the public’s continuing confidence in the economy is certainly a plus.
Members now see the U.S. economy expanding by 2.2 percent this year, up slightly from 2.1 percent three months ago.
It may seem counterintuitive that the Federal Reserve raised interest rates on the day last week when inflation was shown to have declined in May for the second time in three months.
The Federal Reserve is getting plenty of advice as its policymaking committee prepares to meet today and Wednesday amid expectations that the central bank will lift interest rates by a modest quarter-point.
The nation’s unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent in May, the lowest level since 2001, but the United States added a lackluster 138,000 jobs, well below what economists were expecting.
So what’s the state of U.S. manufacturing? Dueling Federal Reserve indexes for the New York and Philadelphia areas countered each other last week during a period that was generally light on economic reports.
Arriving together on Friday, reports on April retail sales, inflation and consumer sentiment portray a U.S. economy that continues to grow steadily and at a manageable pace.
It began after the November election — a wave of confidence that washed over consumers and business owners — and months later two important barometers of economic sentiment show that Americans continue to expect rising growth and prosperity this year.
Economy watchers who became accustomed to seeing monthly U.S. job gains near or above 200,000 were probably blindsided by the Labor Department’s report that 98,000 jobs were added in March — the fewest since last May.
The U.S. housing market continues to show signs of a robust 2017, a development that dovetails nicely with recent monthly surveys that show consumer confidence is at a high level.
The calendar was crowded last week with reports on everything from retail sales and housing starts to inflation and interest rates, but two reports released Friday were among the best snapshots so far of the economy two months into the new Trump administration.
The headline news in the Labor Department’s February employment report — 235,000 new jobs and a 4.7 percent unemployment rate — cheered economy watchers, but it was not the only positive trend to be found among the fresh figures.