Consumer Spending

Consumer spending, measured by Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), makes up approximately two-thirds of the economy and is a direct measure of purchasing activity. PCE is a reliable indication of inflation because it is calculated from data acquired directly from the GDP report and businesses. It shows us where consumers are spending their dollars, whether it be durable and non-durable goods, …

Federal Open Market Committee

Last Wednesday, the minutes of the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), held in late July, were released. After a year of some of most dovish monetary policies in the Federal Reserve’s history, members of the FOMC finally indicated they were on track to begin scaling back their gargantuan asset-purchase program later this year. The program, which was established at …

New and Existing Home Sales

Existing Home Sales provide the number of purchases made for homes, condominiums, and co-ops that have already been built, while New Home Sales represent the number of brand-new houses that were purchased or committed to being purchased over the course of a month. Both new and existing home sales give an indication of the demand for housing.  When people purchase a …

Consumer Spending

Consumer spending, measured by Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), makes up approximately two-thirds of the economy and is a direct measure of purchasing activity. PCE is a reliable indication of inflation because it is calculated from data acquired directly from the GDP report and businesses. We see where consumers are spending their dollars, whether it be durable and non durable goods, …

Interest Payments

Last March, as the Coronavirus crisis was first beginning to unfold, the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to record-low levels. Simultaneously, the Federal Government increased its already high spending through massive stimulus packages intended to reduce the pandemic’s impact on the economy—adding trillions to the national debt. Over the past year, the national debt soared from $23.2 trillion to $27.7 …

Consumer Sentiment

The US Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS), as provided by the University of Michigan, tracks consumer sentiment in the US, based on surveys on random samples of US households. The index aids in measuring consumer sentiments in personal finances, business conditions, among other topics. Historically, the index displays pessimism in consumers’ confidence during recessionary periods, and increased consumer confidence in …

Federal Funds Rate

The Effective Federal Funds Rate is the interest rate at which banks trade federal funds with each other. This rate is determined by the Federal Open Market Committee. The Federal Funds Rate influences the interest rates at which banks and credit card companies charge customers. As of March 1st, Federal Funds were 1.6%, a decrease from last year’s rate of …

Change in Nonfarm Payrolls

Nonfarm payrolls give an overview of the overall employment outlook of the US economy; nonfarm payrolls do not include those employed in agriculture because of the seasonal nature of their work. This report obtains these numbers from 142,000 businesses and government agencies to track the new jobs added in non-farming sectors of the economy. In October, the unemployment rate is …