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Economy

Kimberly Redmond | Equities.com |

Americans opened their wallets and spent last month, giving retail sales an unexpected rebound after plunging the month before, the US Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The continued surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide, however, has changed where Americans are spending their money.


Reuters | Equities.com |

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell last week to the lowest level in nearly 18 months, offering more evidence that job growth was being hindered by labor shortages rather than cooling demand for workers.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 35,000 to a seasonally adjusted 310,000 for the week ended Sept. 4, the Labor Department said on Thursday.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Half of U.S. small-business owners reported unfilled job openings in August as finding qualified workers remains an ongoing challenge, a trade group said on Thursday.

The National Federation of Independent Business said in its monthly jobs report that 50% of small business owners reported unfilled job openings in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from 49% in July. August's reading is 28 percentage points higher than the 48-year average of 22%.


AP News | Equities.com |

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed slightly to $70.1 billion in July as economic recovery overseas helped boost American exports while imports declined.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the trade deficit fell 4.3% in July after surging to a record $73.2 billion in June. The trade deficit represents the gap between what the country exports to the rest of the world and the imports it purchases from other countries.


AP News | Equities.com |

Millions of jobless Americans who have depended on federal unemployment aid as a financial lifeline are about to lose those benefits just as the delta variant of the coronavirus poses a renewed threat to the economy and the job market.

Two programs — one that provides jobless aid to self-employed and gig workers, the other to people who’ve been unemployed for more than six months — will expire Monday. As a result, 8.9 million people will lose those weekly benefit payments, according to an estimate by Oxford Economics.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Afghanistan's economy is likely to collapse following the rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces and the Taliban's return to power, Fitch Solutions said in a report.

Fitch now expects the country's real gross domestic product (GDP) to shrink by 9.7% this financial year, with a further drop of 5.2% seen next year. It had previously forecast growth of 0.4% for this year.


AP News | Equities.com |

China’s factory activity decelerated in August as export demand weakened, a survey showed Tuesday.

The monthly purchasing managers’ index of the Chinese statistics bureau and an official industry group declined to 50.1 from July’s 50.4 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity increasing.


AP News | Equities.com |

With more than 1 million customers in Louisiana and Mississippi having lost power, Hurricane Ida is sure to take a toll on the energy, chemical and shipping industries that have major hubs along the Gulf Coast. But the impact on the overall U.S. economy will likely be modest so long as damage estimates don’t rise sharply and refinery shutdowns are not prolonged, economists say.

The hurricane is expected to inflict a less severe financial impact than Hurricane Katrina did 16 years ago, thanks in part to a lower storm surge and the improved levee system in New Orleans. Analysts at Boenning & Scattergood, a financial consultancy, noted that Ida’s wind field is smaller than Katrina’s, which likely narrows the area of catastrophic damage. The analysts estimated that losses for the insurance industry will hit around $10 billion, far less than the $90 billion-plus from Katrina.


Reuters | Equities.com |

It would be "reasonable" for the Federal Reserve to trim its bond-buying program beginning in October if strong job gains continue, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said in the latest call by a U.S. central banker to start tapering the purchases soon and end them fast.

The Fed has been buying $120 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities each month to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, but is now moving toward reducing the stimulus as the recovery gains momentum.


AP News | Equities.com |

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week for a fourth straight time to a pandemic low, the latest sign that America’s job market is rebounding from the pandemic recession as employers boost hiring to meet a surge in consumer demand.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that jobless claims fell by 29,000 to 348,000. The four-week average of claims, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, also fell — by 19,000, to just below 378,000, also a pandemic low.