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Economic Week in Review

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report hit a series high at 7.3 million job openings as of the end of December. The hiring growth rate was 3.9 percent while the job openings growth rate was 4.7 percent.

This continued outpacing of job openings to hirings is indicative of confidence that business opportunities are growing, while the lagging rate of hiring may be due to belated wage growth.

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Other economic reports out last week showed core consumer price (+0.2%) and producer price (+0.3) inflation were largely in line with expectations in January, although December retail rales (down 1.2% month-on-month) were unexpectedly soft, according to Census Bureau figures. The Federal Reserve’s report on U.S. industrial production last week was also something of a disappointment as manufacturing production reportedly declined 0.9% in January, dragging industrial 0.6% lower for the month despite modest gains in utilities (+0.4%) and mining output (+0.1%). According to Briefing.com, “The key takeaway from the report is that it will feed into concerns about a slowing U.S. economy. Manufacturing production fell 0.9% due to the downturn in motor vehicle assemblies, but excluding that factor, manufacturing production was still down 0.2% with decreases logged for most other major durable goods industries.”

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