Business-Cycle Conditions

Positive Outlook Amid Global Headwinds

Friday, November 7, 2014

Recent data show that steady growth of the U.S. economy continues. After a disappointing first quarter of the year, gross domestic product posted healthy increases in the second and third quarters, at 4.6 and 3.5 percent annual rates. 

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Fiscal Policy Drag Diminishing

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Great Recession of 2008-2009 will be remembered for its severity—a cumulative decline of 4.2 percent in real GDP, the loss of 8.7 million jobs, and a harsh toll on the banking system with more than 400 bank failures from 2008 to 2011. The Great Recession should also be remembered for the massive increase in the federal budget deficit it spawned.

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Momentum in Manufacturing

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

With the economy back on a growth path and equity markets trending higher, the timeline for potential interest-rate increases is top of mind for many as they anticipate the conclusion to the Fed’s asset purchases and listen to its members debate the measurement of slack in the labor market. Meanwhile, the U.S. manufacturing sector has been humming with activity, benefitting from the rebound in U.S. economic growth.

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Outlook for Profit Margins

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Nineteen sixty four was also the last time that U.S. profit margins ascended above the 11 percent mark. Margins continued to rise over the next several quarters, peaking at 12.05 percent in the first quarter of 1966. Following the peak in 1966, margins declined to a low of about 5 percent and remained range-bound between 5 percent and 9 percent for the next three decades. Profit margins finally broke above 11 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 and have held there for the past ten quarters (Chart 1).

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Gas Prices Not a Risk to Growth

Monday, June 30, 2014

Gas prices’ 15 percent jump in six months may be painful at the pump but is moderate by historical measures and not enough to derail the economic expansion.

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