Small-business confidence rose in April, and expectations are generally upbeat, but labor shortages are a major concern.
Retail vehicle sales slowed in April but remain in the recent range of 16 to 18 million annually. Consumer credit rose despite a drop in credit card debt.
The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index posted its lowest reading since November 2016 and extends an eight-month trend of decelerating growth. Mixed economic data continue to support a high degree of caution amid slow economic expansion.
Retail-sales and initial-claims data show the economy may be gaining some momentum after a patch of weakness. However, continued uncertainty around U.S. economic policies and ongoing risks in the global economy remain significant concerns.
Consumer sentiment fell slightly in early April but remains at broadly favorable levels. Caution regarding the outlook is still warranted but the trends for the most recent data appear marginally more favorable.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to the lowest level since 1969, providing compelling evidence that the recent period of weakness may be passing.
Amid several months of mixed results in economic data, rebounding job creation in March helps tip the scales in favor of cautious optimism for continued economic expansion.
Nonmanufacturing activity expanded at a slower pace in March. The results are consistent with a range of economic data that point to uneven growth, but they do not suggest a recession is imminent.
The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index paints a modestly positive picture of the manufacturing sector in March, offsetting the weak report on February retail sales. The outlook is for ongoing economic expansion, but heightened caution is warranted.
Retail sales fell again in February, the second decline in the last three months. A string of mixed economic reports suggests caution is warranted.
Real gross domestic product grew at a 2.2 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter, with real private domestic demand rising 2.6 percent. High levels of uncertainty surrounding economic policy and global economic conditions combined with mixed economic data raise doubts about the current expansion.
The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index posted its third negative result in a row, but the index remains above levels historically associated with either recession or significant price increases.
The Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing survey was generally favorable in March with respondents were more upbeat about current conditions but somewhat less optimistic about the future.