A larger jump in retail sales proved to be one of very few optimistic highlights in last week’s economic news. The week entailed mostly negative news, as housing starts increased less than expected, the Philly Fed’s Manufacturing Index slipped significantly, and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell unexpectedly.
Last week’s economic news continued to signal a booming U.S. economy. In summary, the NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index rose to its second-highest all-time level of 107.8; the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for May, often a sign of inflation, rose 2.8% over the last twelve months; and Federal Reserve officials elected to raise rates a quarter of one percentage point to keep the economy from growing too quickly. The Fed’s Board of Governors also signaled for an extra rate hike for 2018.
Of all economic news last week, perhaps the most intriguing are the jobless claims and GDP reports. Jobless claims fell to the lowest level since 1961, and GDP for the first quarter of 2018 slipped on consumer spending weakness.