The FOMC punted on another move and released a statement that smacks of trepidation on the sustainable strength of the U.S. economy. They acknowledge that job gains have been solid and that consumer spending and business fixed investment have continued to expand. The troubling point remains inflation, and they are quite concerned.
With whistleblower suits on the rise, increased CEO firings over ethical lapses, and National Whistleblower Appreciation Day falling on July 30, it’s an important time for companies to think about their corporate governance structures, whistleblower systems, and whistleblower investigation processes. Instead of looking at whistleblowing as harmful, companies should consider whistleblowing a safety valve and a sign of an engaged, ethical culture.
As has often been the case in recent years, the monthly U.S. employment report provides a glimmer of light in a gray picture. A net gain of 222,000 payroll jobs in June markedly exceeded the expectations of analysts who projected that slow economic growth would have some impact on employment gains.
I’m not sure I would call it fireworks, but the June manufacturing report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) certainly contains some buoyant signs for the U.S. factory sector. The overall Purchasing Mangers’ Index rose by nearly three percentage points to 57.8%, its highest level of what has been an impressive post-August 2016 run.
The buzz about the “Internet of Things” has been brewing for years. Companies like SpaceX, Tesla, Apple, Uber, and Google have been pouring investments into universal satellite internet, autonomous cars, artificial intelligence, and wearables.
As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed’s monetary policy body, announced an increase of 25 basis points in the target for its consequential federal funds rate. Today’s action is only the fourth time since the economy bottomed in June 2009 that that Fed has acted to remove its extraordinary monetary accommodation.
In May, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to a remarkably low 4.3%, the lowest level since May of 2001. In the past, few would have doubted that this was either at or close to full employment, the level below which wage and inflation pressures begin to create growth-killing instabilities.
May saw the first increase in the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) since February. Even accounting for the modest PMI dip in March and April, the progression of the index, since the recent low of August 2016, has been impressive. It suggests sustainability of moderate improvement in factory sector growth.
h the 6,000 new factory-sector jobs in April, manufacturing employment has now increased for five consecutive months, with an average of 14,200 new jobs gained per month. This is an impressive turnaround from a particularly weak period. Overall, this is the most convincing evidence that the broad manufacturing picture is starting to show some real improvement from years of weakness.
Stating “near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced,” the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) elected to keep the target range for its influential federal funds rate between 0.75% and 1%, after a 25 basis point hike at the March meeting.