Articles from Aaron Nathans
A strange brew of economic data continued to bubble today as retail and food service sales fell for the third consecutive month in February, possibly due to severe weather. But that comes despite an improving labor market and other signs that the economy continues to expand. As consumer spending remains solid, researchers at the American Institute for Economic Research suggested a rebound is likely in the coming months.
AIER's research brief on retirement planning strategies continues to gather media attention as it was recently featured by a prominent financial advisers' organization, as well as a business radio station. On Friday, the author of the report, AIER Research Fellow Luke Delorme, was featured on Wharton Business Radio, the Sirius/XM station run by the University of Pennsylvania business school. And the brief was also highlighted in the February edition of the journal of the American Association of Individual Investors. The report has already been noted by CNBC and the Today Show web sites, The Aspen Institute, Forbes and Bloomberg.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia yesterday named Patrick Harker as its new president. What’s interesting about this appointment is Harker’s background: Unlike most reserve bank presidents, Harker does not hold a doctorate in economics, nor has he worked inside the Fed system, although he has served on the Philly Fed board for the last three years.
There’s more data out this morning showing subdued inflationary pressures. The Commerce Department reported today that the price index for personal consumption expenditures increased at an annual rate of 0.2 percent in January. The Federal Reserve has set a target of 2 percent annual inflation, so this is far below that target.
The strong dollar has been taking its toll on U.S. corporate profits, especially those companies who sell their products abroad, as The Associated Press reports today. Coca-Cola and Pepsi both reported falling sales directly linked to the exchange rate, and companies like Avon and Yum brands have also said the dollar has hurt their bottom lines.
We read with interest David Leonhardt’s story in this morning’s New York Times about a study out of George Washington University that highlighted the state of income inequality in America, with some surprising conclusions. The study, by GWU economist Stephen J. Rose, concluded that income inequality has not actually risen since the financial crisis started in 2007.