Banks and the Economy

Small Business Optimism Index Remained Strong in April

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index grew to 104.8, 0.1 point above March’s reading. Four of the ten index components rose in April, while three declined. Twenty-seven percent of business owners surveyed said the next three months was a good time to expand, one point lower than last month’s reading. Reported job creation grew four points, as 57% of businesses ...

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Consumer Credit Growth Slowed in March

Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.6% in March, down from a 4.3% rate in February. Total outstanding credit increased $11.7 billion during the month (compared with $13.6 billion in February) to $3.87 trillion. Revolving credit, largely a reflection of credit card debt, declined at an annual rate of 3.0% to $1.03 trillion, compared to a ...

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164,000 Jobs Added in April, Unemployment Down to 3.9%

Total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 164,000 in April, an increase from last month’s reading of 135,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate fell to 3.9%, the first sub-4% unemployment figure since 2000. Private service-providing industries gained 119,000 jobs, led by professional and business services and education and health care, adding 54,000 and 31,000, respectively. ...

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Manufactured Goods Rose 1.6% in March

New orders for manufactured goods grew 1.6% to $507.7 billion in March, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The increase followed a 1.7% rise in February. New orders for manufactured durable goods increased 2.6% to $255.2 billion in March. Transportation equipment led the increase, growing 7.6% to $91.4 billion. Shipments of manufactured durable goods increased 0.4% to $250.4 billion. Inventories ...

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ISM: Non-Manufacturing Sector Growth Slowed in April

The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index registered 56.8 points in April, 2.0 percentage points below March’s figure. This was the 99th consecutive month of expansion as a reading above 50 indicates growth. All eighteen non-manufacturing industries reported growth in April. Growth in the Business Activity Index decreased 1.5 points to 59.1, the 105th consecutive month of growth. Fifteen industries reported increased business ...

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International Trade Gap Narrowed 15.2% in February

The U.S. international trade deficit narrowed in February, falling 15.2% to $49.0 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. February’s report was the highest level since October 2008. Imports fell 1.8%, while exports rose 2.0%. January’s trade deficit was upwardly revised from $57.6 billion to $57.7 billion. The goods deficit decreased 9.7% to ...

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Job Cuts Fall 40% in April

Employers announced plans to cut 36,081 jobs in April, according to a report issued by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. April’s announced cuts were 40.2% below March’s and 1.4% lower than last April’s. The retail sector led the way, cutting 7,844 jobs in April. This is 28.4% higher than the same period last year. The energy sector continued to hold strong, ...

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