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Mar 26, 2015

Lower U.S. jobless claims suggest solidly improving labor market

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to a healthy and expanding labor market.

The sustained jobs market strength underscores the economy’s solid fundamentals and suggests a recent slowdown in economic activity will be temporary.

Mar 25, 2015

Weak U.S. business spending data points to first-quarter growth slowdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. business investment spending plans fell for a sixth straight month in February, likely weighed down by a strong dollar and weak global demand, which could lead economists to further lower their first-quarter growth estimates.

The Commerce Department’s durable goods report on Wednesday was the latest data to suggest economic growth braked sharply early in the year, in part due to bad weather and a now-settled labor dispute at the country’s busy West Coast ports.

Mar 25, 2015

Weak U.S. business spending data points to Q1 growth slowdown

WASHINGTON, March 25 (Reuters) – U.S. business investment
spending plans fell for a sixth straight month in February,
likely weighed down by a strong dollar and weak global demand,
which could lead economists to further lower their first-quarter
growth estimates.

The Commerce Department’s durable goods report on Wednesday
was the latest data to suggest economic growth braked sharply
early in the year, in part due to bad weather and a now-settled
labor dispute at the country’s busy West Coast ports.

Mar 24, 2015

U.S. consumer prices rebound, underlying inflation firming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumer prices rebounded in February as gasoline prices rose for the first time since June, and there were also signs of an uptick in underlying inflation pressures, which could keep a June interest rate increase on the table.

Signs of inflation are likely to be welcomed by Federal Reserve officials. They are also a good omen for an economy that has stumbled in recent months under the weight of a harsh winter, weak global demand, a strong dollar and the now-settled labor dispute at one of the country’s busiest ports.

Mar 23, 2015

U.S. homes sales up marginally; supply a constraint

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. home resales rebounded modestly in February as a persistent shortage of properties on the market spurred the biggest price jump in a year, a trend that could undermine the spring selling season.

The National Association of Realtors said on Monday that existing home sales rose 1.2 percent to an annual rate of 4.88 million units. That left the bulk of January’s 4.9 percent plunge intact.

Mar 19, 2015

U.S. jobless claims up slightly; current account gap widens

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose marginally last week, indicating the labor market remained on solid footing despite slowing economic growth.

Output has slowed in the first quarter, undercut by a harsh winter, a strong dollar, weaker overseas growth and a now-settled labor dispute at West Coast ports, mostly transitory factors that should fade by the second quarter.

Mar 17, 2015

Bad weather wallops U.S. housing starts, setback likely temporary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. housing starts plunged to their lowest level in a year in February likely as harsh weather kept building crews at home, in the latest indication that the economy hit a soft patch in the first quarter.

Groundbreaking tumbled 17 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 897,000 units, the lowest level since January 2014, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.

Mar 16, 2015

Weak U.S. factory data suggest softer economic growth

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. manufacturing output fell in February for the third straight month as the production of automobiles and a range of goods tumbled, the latest indication of slower economic growth in the first quarter.

Activity has softened in recent months, constrained by a harsh winter, strong dollar and lower crude prices, which have forced companies in the oil field to either postpone or cut back on capital expenditure projects. Weak demand overseas and a now-settled labor dispute at U.S. West Coast ports also was a drag.

Mar 13, 2015

Weak profit margins dampen U.S. producer inflation in February

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. producer prices unexpectedly fell in February on weak profit margins for trade services, pointing to tame inflation that could argue against an anticipated June interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

The Labor Department said on Friday its producer price index for final demand fell 0.5 percent after dropping 0.8 percent in January. It was the fourth straight monthly decline in the PPI.

Mar 12, 2015

Cold weather chills U.S. retail sales; jobs market firming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell in February as harsh weather kept consumers from auto showrooms and shopping malls, tempering the outlook for first-quarter growth and a June interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve.

Even accounting for the snowy and cold weather, which blanketed much of the country in late February, there is little doubt that consumer spending has slowed significantly after robust growth in the fourth quarter. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.