Economic Risk Factor Update: June 2018

June 7, 2018

May’s data improved over an already solid April. Job growth accelerated further, and consumer confidence remained strong. Business confidence also bounced back, taking the trend back to positive territory. Finally, Fed policy continues to be stimulative, which is helpful despite the likely rate increase this month. Overall, the economic data indicates that growth continues and that the recent soft spot may be passing.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: May 2018

May 4, 2018

April’s data continued to be solid overall. Job growth recovered and March’s weak report was revised upward significantly, easing one concern. Consumer confidence also bounced back a bit. More worrying is that business confidence moved further off the high, although this would be a change in trend rather than an immediate concern. Fed policy continues to be stimulative, which is helpful, despite the recent rate increase. Overall, the economic data indicates that growth continues, although it may have peaked.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: April 2018

April 10, 2018

March’s data continued to be good overall, although there was some pullback from February’s very strong reports. Job growth slowed substantially, which was the most notable concern. This is most likely not an immediate problem, however, as long-term trends remain favorable. More worrying is that while confidence remains high, the trend appears to be peaking for both consumers and business. Again, this is more of a change in trend rather than an immediate concern. Fed policy continues to be stimulative, which is helpful, despite the recent rate increase. Overall, this month’s economic data indicates that growth continues, although it may have peaked.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: March 2018

March 9, 2018

February’s data continued to be quite good. We saw improvements in many areas, particularly in employment, suggesting continued and possibly accelerating growth into 2018. Job growth jumped substantially, coming in well above expectations, and both consumer and business confidence remained at very high levels. Fed policy continues to be stimulative, and recent increases in long-term rates steepened the yield curve—often a positive sign. Overall, this month’s strong economic data indicates that the weakness at the end of 2017 has passed, although policy remains a concern, particularly around trade.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: February 2018

February 8, 2018

January’s data was quite good, and improvements in many areas suggest ongoing growth into 2018. Job growth picked back up, and both consumer and business confidence pushed higher. Fed policy remains stimulative, and recent increases in long-term rates steepened the yield curve—often a positive sign. Overall, this month’s data indicates that some of the weakness of the past couple of months may be passing and that the end of the cycle may not be as close as that data had suggested. Some trends do continue to be somewhat worrisome, however, so we’ll be keeping an eye on the economic risks.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: January 2018

January 9, 2018

December’s data remained solid on an absolute basis, suggesting ongoing growth into 2018. With job growth showing signs of a slowdown and consumer and business confidence exhibiting signs of topping, however, the momentum of late 2017 may be fading. Fed policy remains stimulative, although less so than in previous months, but pending expected rate hikes may also start to erode that momentum.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: December 2017

December 8, 2017

As expected, November’s data showed some negative effects as the post-hurricane bounce of October moved out of the economic data. Still, the news continues to be positive. November’s results remain supportive of strong growth, with job growth coming in above expectations and confidence staying at high levels for both business and consumers. Fed policy, despite the expected rate hikes ahead, remains stimulative, although less so than in previous months.

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