Looking through some of the economy headlines lately, it’s hard to not be optimistic about the direction of the U.S. economy for the foreseeable future. This is despite one of the longest bull markets (albeit a tepid one) in U.S. history. Of course, significant changes in world events could change that outlook, but with the potential for tax reform and the strong employment economy, things look positive. Here are a few recent headlines covering different segments of the economy that indicate things are looking positive on a fairly broad base across the U.S.
Continued jobless claims at lowest level in more than 28 years. (MarketWatch 5/11/17)
This is an indication the job market continues to be healthy and has held to a threshold considered “healthy” for 114 straight weeks. The Fed considers the current 4.4% unemployment rate to be close to full employment. Data also shows people receiving unemployment benefits after an initial week on unemployment benefits is now at its lowest level since 1988.
US. Government posts $182 billion surplus in April (Reuters 5/11/17)
Expecting to show a budget deficit for the month, Treasury Department data for April actually realized a $182 billion surplus for the month. The surplus was a combination of a 4% increase in revenue compared to the April 2016 and expenditures 18% lower than the same month a year ago. Higher revenue and lower expenses are always a good combination.
Millennials finally embracing American dream of homeownership (Detroit Free Press 5/11/17)
Despite high college debt loads, a strong job market - especially for millennials whose unemployment rate fell nearly a full point in the past year – has made millennials more comfortable with the idea of homeownership. U.S. Census Bureau projections predict household formations could average 1.4 million to 1.5 million every year through 2020, compared to an average of fewer than 900,000 per year since 2012. Home ownership increases – especially new homebuyers – tend to also increase spending on home services and durable goods like appliances and furniture, a good omen for the economy.
Consumer sentiment leaps in May, but partisan divide remains, University of Michigan says (MarketWatch 5/12/17)
Consumer confidence in the economy has increased as income expectations have improved for the average consumer. Even better, future consumer expectations increased a full point over the past month. Consumer plans to spend on household durable goods are the strongest they have been in the last 10 years.
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