Economic Risk Factor Update: April 2019

April 9, 2019

The primary worry over the past month has been employment: was the very weak February job number a one-off or a sign of something worse? Fortunately, it looks like the former, which eases the primary risk. Unfortunately, we saw the other risk factors continue to trend down, suggesting that the economy might well be slowing even more than expected. Here, one key point at month-end was the brief inversion of the yield curve, which raised concerns.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: March 2019

March 12, 2019

After signs of weakness in January, the question was whether we would see a rebound in February. In some areas—consumer and business confidence—we did, largely driven by the end of the government shutdown. This confidence rebound has reduced risk going forward, although we need to pay attention to whether it holds.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: February 2019

February 7, 2019

As far as we know, the economic news remained solid if somewhat mixed last month. The caveat here is that the government shutdown delayed some reports. The core data we look at, however, is available.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: January 2019

January 9, 2019

Despite last month’s political and market turmoil, the economic news remained solid if somewhat mixed. Both consumer and business confidence pulled back a bit but remained at healthy levels overall. Hiring rebounded strongly after weak results last month. This rebound should help maintain consumer and business confidence going forward, despite the December pullbacks. Finally, longer-term interest rates, which had been a concern after Fed rate hikes and hawkish commentary, also moderated.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: December 2018

December 13, 2018

The good news is that confidence continued to be strong last month. Business sentiment remains close to a 21-year high, and consumer confidence remains very close to an 18-year high. Although job growth declined, it was after a very strong month, and it remained at healthy levels. Longer-term interest rates, which had been a concern after a spike, also moderated. Overall, the economic news remains solid, which should support continued growth.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: November 2018

November 6, 2018

The good news is that confidence remained strong last month. Business sentiment bounced back in September to a 21-year high and, despite a small pullback, remains very close to that level. Consumer confidence rose even further, to an 18-year high. Even better, job growth rebounded significantly after a weak month. Overall, the economic news remains solid, which should support continued growth.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: October 2018

October 9, 2018

The good news is that confidence was strong last month. Business sentiment bounced back in a big way, to a 21-year high. Consumer confidence rose even further, to an 18-year high. But the less good news is that job growth weakened on a monthly basis and interest rates rose. For both, though, there are other factors to consider. Job growth, for example, was revised up significantly for previous months, more than offsetting the monthly shortfall and keeping the annual growth figures healthy. Plus, rising interest rates widen the spread, reducing the chance of a yield curve inversion.

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