Friday, July 20, 2018

Update on Economic News

Texas to become 3rd largest producer of oil?

The shale oil boom has brought a gold rush mentality to the Lone Star State, which is home to not one but two massive oilfields. If it were a country, Texas would be the world's No. 3 oil producer, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia, the investment bank said. See full story here.

Unemployment claims

The latest data on new filings for unemployment insurance suggest the labor market remains tight. Data from the Employment and Training Administration within the Department of Labor show initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 207,000 for the week of July 14, the lowest reading since 1969. The weekly result is down from a revised 215,000 in the prior week. Using a four-week average to smooth weekly volatility, the latest average came in at 220,500, down from 223,250 in the prior week. A level of claims below 300,000 is considered consistent with a strong labor market. 


Federal Reserve Report on activity

Economic activity continued to expand across the United States, with 10 of the 12 Federal Reserve Districts reporting moderate or modest growth. The outliers were the Dallas District, which reported strong growth driven in part by the energy sector, and the St. Louis District where growth was described as slight. Manufacturers in all Districts expressed concern about tariffs and in many Districts reported higher prices and supply disruptions that they attributed to the new trade policies. All Districts reported that labor markets were tight and many said that the inability to find workers constrained growth. Consumer spending was up in all Districts with particular strength in Dallas and Richmond. Contacts reported higher input prices and shrinking margins. 


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