Federal Reserve officials agonized throughout 2008 over how far they could go to stop a financial catastrophe that threatened to pull the economy into a deep recession, transcripts of the Fed's policy meetings that year show.
A weakening in the Japanese yen over the past year has failed to boost exports as much as hoped while imports of oil and gas, food and other products have surged. Consumers and businesses are thought to be stepping up purchases ahead of an April 1 sales tax hike.
Much like its low-income shoppers, Wal-Mart can't seem to catch a break in as the U.S. economy rebounds. The world's largest retailer on Thursday posted a 21 percent drop in fourth quarter profit and gave a subdued forecast for the current quarter as it continues to be weighed down by a number of factors.
U.S. consumer prices barely rose last month as a sharp increase in energy costs was offset by cheaper clothing, cars and air fares. The figures indicate inflation remains mild. The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index rose just 0.1 percent in January, down from a 0.2 percent gain in December
The Conference Board reported Thursday that its index of leading indicators rose 0.3 percent last month following no change in December and a solid 0.9 percent increase in November. The index is designed to signal economic conditions over the next three to six months.
The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell a slight 3,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 336,000, a sign that layoffs remain low. The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, rose slightly to a seasonally adjusted 338,500.
China's economic activity has slowed steadily as the government tries to reduce reliance on investment in industry and infrastructure and encourage more sustainable growth based on domestic consumption. HSBC economist Hongbin Qu said that the buildup of pressure for prices to fall "implies that the underlying momentum for manufacturing growth could be weakening."
At over 12 million jobs nationwide, manufacturing employment is now the highest it has been since 2009. The sector recovered handsomely from the setbacks it had faced earlier in the second and third quarters and is poised to start the new year on a strong footing.
Overall prices are barely budging because the economy is still weak. And the reverse may be true, too: Super-low inflation has likely slowed growth from the United States to Japan to Europe. It's why the world's central banks would like prices to rise.
The Labor Department says the producer price index, which tracks prices before they reach consumers, rose 0.2 percent in January. That followed a 0.1 percent increase in December and a flat reading in November. In the past year, producer prices have risen just 1.2 percent, below the Federal Reserve's preferred target rate.
Without solid numbers, many have assumed that most of the offshored jobs go to developing countries where workers are paid near-poverty wages in less than ideal working conditions. However, the researchers said public fear that offshoring to lower-cost countries is putting downward pressure on U.S. jobs may be overblown.
Boosting the federal minimum wage as President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are proposing would increase earnings for more than 16.5 million people by 2016 but also cut employment by roughly 500,000 jobs, Congress' nonpartisan budget analyst said Tuesday.
President Barack Obama wants to put major emerging trade deals with Europe and Asia on a "fast track" to congressional passage. But with midterm elections looming, many fellow Democrats are working to sidetrack them instead.
By tracking what manufacturers and farmers charged for their goods, the producer price index has traditionally provided an early read of inflation trends. It captured how much of the change in oil, grains and other raw material costs was being passed on by producers.
Toray Industries, Inc., a Tokyo-based manufacturer of fibers and textiles, plastic resins, films and carbon fiber compositematerials, has selected Spartanburg County, S.C. for its next global facility. The $1 billion investment over the next decade is expected to create 500 new jobs and represents one of the largest initial capital investments in South Carolina's history.
"The Federal Reserve reports that industrial production fell 0.3 percent in January, following 0.3 percent growth in December. The abnormally cold weather caused a 4.1 percent surge in utility production last month."
The president and vice president called for sweeping changes to immigration laws, but Republican leaders have all but ruled out passage before the midterm election. Obama urged the Democratic crowd to keep working for it and insisted some Republicans want a deal.
The economy of the euro bloc grew 0.3 percent in the October-December period from the previous quarter, the Eurostat statistics office said Friday. That was slightly faster than expected and up from the third quarter's 0.1 percent. The recovery remains tepid, however, at least by global standards.
The Federal Reserve said factory production plunged 0.8 percent in January, reversing gains of 0.3 percent in both December and November. Automakers lost days of production because of snowstorms, as their production plummeted 5.1 percent, the report said.
Check out some of this week's top headlines from across Manufacturing.net, from Chinese villagers attacking a factory to the Volkswagen incentives being threatened by the UAW. Also, a judge allows a lawsuit over cancer in children against Whirlpool, and a slowdown in China will be felt around the world.
While 2013 as a whole marks the second consecutive annual decline, deal activity in the second half of the year increased with 83 deals worth $35.7 billion versus 69 deals for $24 billion in the first half. The fourth quarter of 2013 recorded 40 transactions worth $50 million or more.
Republicans' new acquiescence to letting the government pile up more debt with no strings attached paid double political dividends: It spared the GOP another politically debilitating showdown with President Barack Obama and also forced Democrats to cast votes that rivals immediately used against them in this year's midterm elections.
U.S. businesses restocked their shelves and warehouses at a faster pace in December, but sales slowed, a cautionary sign for the economy. The Commerce Department says inventories rose 0.5 percent after a 0.4 percent increase in November. Sales growth fell to just 0.1 percent, from 0.7 percent in November.
Low U.S. electricity prices in natural-gas-fired plants, for example, are already encouraging investment in energy-intensive industries such as steel and glass. Not yet visible are the advantages that makers of intermediate products, such as plastic-resin pellets, and makers of finished goods, such as plastic toys and plastic auto parts, will reap from cheaper inputs.
Cold weather across much of the nation contributed to a drop in retail sales in January. Americans spent less on autos and clothing and at restaurants — a decline that suggests that momentum from consumer spending at the end of 2013 has tailed off.