Author Hugo Dante

Hugo Dante

Hugo Dante is an economist in Washington, D.C. He was previously an economic research specialist at ABA. In addition to the ABA Banking Journal, his writing has appeared in The Hill, The National Interest and Townhall. Views expressed here are his own.

Economy

Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 percent in January. Total outstanding credit increased $17.0 billion during the month to $4.034 trillion. Revolving credit, largely a reflection of credit card debt, increased at an annual rate of 3.0 percent to $1.06 trillion, following a 1.2 percent increase in December. Non-revolving credit

Economy

Total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 304,000 in January, an increase from last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate rose from 3.9 percent to 4.0 percent. Private service-providing industries gained 224,000 jobs, led by leisure and hospitality, which added 74,000 jobs. Goods-producing employment rose by 72,000 jobs during the

Economy

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased 6.4 points to 120.2 in January. The Present Situation Index declined slightly by 0.3 points to 169.6. The Expectations Index fell 10.4 points to 87.3. “Consumer Confidence declined in January, following a decrease in December,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The

Economy

Existing-home sales dropped 6.4 percent in December following two consecutive months of increases, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.99 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This followed a 1.9 percent increase in November. Sales are 10.3 percent below the December 2017 level of 5.56 million. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist,

Economy

Industrial production increased 0.3 percent in December after rising 0.4 percent in November, according to the Federal Reserve. Capacity utilization was 78.7 percent in December a rate that is 1.1 points below its long-run average (1927-2017). Manufacturing output increased 1.1 percent, its largest gain since February 2018. Production of durable goods increased 2.7 percent, while

Economy

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose to 58 in January, up two points from December and rebounding from the lowest reading in three years. Home builders cited declining mortgage rates among the chief reasons for the increase. “The gradual decline in mortgage rates in recent weeks helped to sustain builder

Economy

Producer prices declined 0.2 percent in December, seasonally adjusted, after rising 0.1 percent in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Producer prices rose 2.5 percent on an un-adjusted basis for the twelve months of 2018. The index for final demand goods moved down 0.4 percent in December, mirroring last month’s decline. The

Economy

The Consumer Price Index dipped 0.1 percent in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This followed no change in November. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index rose 1.9 percent, the first time this index has increased at less than 2 percent since August 2017. Prices for

Economy

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index held steady at 104.4, 0.4 points below November’s reading. The December reading continues to hover near August’s record high of 108.8. Twenty-four percent of business owners surveyed said the next three months was a good time to expand, five point lower than last month’s reading. Reported job creation strengthened,

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