Industrial production rose in August, but the trend remains weak. Tariffs, erratic policy, and elevated uncertainty represent threats to the sector and the economy.
Retail sales improved in August, but data for the economy remain mixed. Overall, continued economic expansion remains the most likely path, but caution is warranted.
The Consumer Price Index rose 0.1 percent in August as falling energy prices mask accelerating core prices.
Small business confidence weakened in August while job openings fell very slightly in July, but both remain at high levels. Economic data overall have been mixed and uncertainty remains high. Caution is warranted.
The ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index fell below neutral for the first time in three years and highlights the growing negative impact of poor trade policy on business confidence.
Durable-goods orders rose for a second consecutive month, but the trend is essentially flat over the past year. Erratic, politically motivated policy remains the biggest risk to the economy.
New-home sales fell in July, and there is little evidence to support an expectation of a significant, sustained acceleration in housing activity in the coming months and quarters.
When businesses face uncertainty they tend to play it safe and hold back from making any big moves that entail risk but might reinvigorate the economy. The same can be said for consumers.
Consumer sentiment fell sharply in August in reaction to the latest trade and monetary policy decisions.
Retail sales rose again in July, but industrial production fell. Continued economic expansion remains the most likely path.
A solid though not spectacular July jobs report points to continued modest economic growth. It also adds to the uncertainty around monetary policy, making justification for the most recent rate cut and future rate cuts more difficult.
ADP estimates 156,000 new jobs were created in July. Overall, the labor market remains solid, and while uncertainty over trade and monetary policy remain, the most likely path is for continued expansion.