Economic Slowdown Widespread

INDICATOR: January Industrial Production and Import/Export Prices

KEY DATA: IP: -0.3%; Manufacturing: -0.8%/Imports: +0.1%; Nonfuel: +0.3%; Exports: +0.2%; Farm: -0.5%

IN A NUTSHELL: “The current economic slowdown, that hopefully can be blamed on the weather, is widespread.”

WHAT IT MEANS: January can be a cruel month and this year it is especially so. Job gains were mediocre, unemployment claims are above where we would like to see them, retail sales were pathetic and not surprisingly, manufacturers reacted by cutting back production sharply. Industrial production was off moderately in January but only because utilities had to produce massive amounts to heat our homes, offices and plants. Manufacturing output tanked as fifteen of the nineteen industry groups posted declines.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/economics_in_a_nutshell/Economic-slowdown-widespread.html#BofjoT0tjMWvuhFk.99

Enhanced by Zemanta

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Improves In February On Job Outlook

NEW YORK, Feb 15 (Reuters) – U.S. consumer sentiment improved in February, buoyed by signs of increased hiring, though worries heightened about a decline in future income, a survey released on Friday.

The Thompson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary reading on the overall index of consumer sentiment rose to 76.3 from 73.8 in January, topping economists’ forecasts of 74.8.

The barometer of current economic conditions rose to 88 from 85, while the gauge of consumer expectations rose to 68.7 from 66.6.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-us-economy-20130215,0,6427243.story

Police Union, Pottsville City Council Share Ideas In Effort To Avoid Officer Layoffs

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following a one-hour, closed-door meeting Thursday night, members of Pottsville Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 44 and the city council have come up with a few concepts that might save jobs, according to FOP President Brian Kotzmoyer.

“It was a very positive meeting,” Kotzmoyer said.

“Both sides realized we’re doing our best to try to avoid layoffs. The officers put forth some ideas about cost-savings initiatives and some things they can do to generate more revenue on our end,” said Councilman Mark Atkinson, who chairs the council’s public safety committee.

When asked for his thoughts after the meeting, Councilman Michael P. Halcovage, who chairs the finance committee, said: “We’re just throwing around ideas.  I can’t give you any specifics.”

Read more:  http://republicanherald.com/news/police-union-pottsville-council-share-ideas-in-effort-to-avoid-officer-layoffs-1.1413124

More Expensive Gas Pushes US Consumer Prices Up

WASHINGTON (AP) – Higher gas costs drove up U.S. consumer prices in September for the second straight month.  Outside energy, there was little sign of inflation.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent last month, matching the August increase.  In the past 12 months, prices have increased 2 percent.  That’s in line with the Federal Reserve’s inflation target.

Excluding volatile food and energy costs, prices rose just 0.1 percent.  In the past year, so-called core prices have increased 2 percent.

Read more: http://business-news.thestreet.com/the-times-herald/story/more-expensive-gas-pushes-us-consumer-prices/1

Small Increase Likely In Social Security Benefits

Seal of the United States Social Security Admi...

Seal of the United States Social Security Administration. It appears on Social Security cards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON – Social Security recipients shouldn’t expect a big increase in monthly benefits come January.

Preliminary figures show the annual benefit boost will be between 1 percent and 2 percent, which would be among the lowest since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975. Monthly benefits for retired workers now average $1,237, meaning the typical retiree can expect a raise of between $12 and $24 a month.

The size of the increase will be made official Tuesday, when the government releases inflation figures for September. The announcement is unlikely to please a big group of voters – 56 million people get benefits – just three weeks before elections for president and Congress.

The cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is tied to a government measure of inflation adopted by Congress in the 1970s. It shows that consumer prices have gone up by less than 2 percent in the past year.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=421002

Consumer Sentiment Falls To 2012 Low

(Reuters) – Consumer sentiment fizzled in July, falling to its lowest level of the year, as Americans took a dim view of the employment situation and their income prospects, a survey showed on Friday.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan‘s final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment fell to 72.3 from 73.2 in June. It was the second month in a row attitudes have soured and the lowest level since December.

But the level was a touch higher than economists’ expectations for it to be unchanged from July’s preliminary reading of 72.

“While consumers do not anticipate an economy-wide recessionary decline, they do not expect a pace of economic growth that could satisfactorily revive job and income prospects,” survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/27/us-usa-economy-sentiment-idUSBRE86Q0T620120727

Gasoline Pushes Inflation Up In January

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Gasoline prices jumped in January, leading overall consumer prices higher and offering a reminder of the risks energy costs pose to the economic recovery.

Despite the warning signal, overall consumer prices rose just 0.2 percent, the Labor Department said on Friday, which is unlikely to ring alarm bells at the Federal Reserve.

Strong jobs and factory data have eased worries U.S. economic growth could slow sharply, but tensions between Western nations and Iran still threaten to hand the economy a repeat of 2011 when a spike in energy prices hit the recovery hard.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/sns-rt-us-usa-economytre7bm0ab-20120103,0,2516876.story

Consumer Price Index Rose .5% In February

US consumer price index 1800–2007.

Image via Wikipedia

Now it is official and not just our imagination that money is not going as far as it used to!  The Consumer Price Index made its highest jump in two years last month.  Gas and food were the biggest culprits attributing to the gain.  Without those two items, there was only a .2 percent rise.

Gas prices rose 4.7 percent last month alone!  Food costs increased .6 percent.  Unfortunately, more prices increases are down the road.