April 2017

Donald Trump's Syria Problem

Donald Trump responded to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by lobbing some missiles at the Syrian air base from which the gas attack was allegedly launched. Some have described it as a fireworks display intended more as a message than a serious military strike, but that fireworks display was quickly rivaled by the fireworks that erupted on social media among Trump supporters following the strike.

Inflation Retreats in March

The March Consumer Price Index dropped by -0.3%.   That's unusual and a decline in CPI has not happened since February 2016.  The reason was volatile gas prices but America finally is catching a break on cell phone service costs too.  The gasoline index by itself dropped -6.2% for the month.  The bigger surprise is Inflation without food and energy prices considered dropped by -0.1%.

The March Unemployment Report Was Pretty Good

The March unemployment report on the surface looked bad due too less than one hundred thousand jobs gained.  But that is just one number and also not part of the report which calculates the unemployment rate and other statistics.  The unemployment rate actually dropped -0.2 percentage points to 4.5%.  That in itself is a decade low.  The better news is the monthly drop was due to less people being unemployed and almost half a million more were working.

4th Quarter GDP Revised to Show Growth at a 2.1% Rate

The Third Estimate of our 4th Quarter GDP from the Bureau of Economic Analysis indicated that our real output of goods and services grew at a 2.1% rate in the 4th quarter, revised from the 1.9% growth rate indicated by the second estimate, as personal consumption expenditures and inventory investment were greater than was previously estimated, while losses from trade were worse than was previously estimated.

Pending Home Sales Second Highest Level in a Decade

The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales just jumped to the second highest level in a decade and the highest level in nearly a year.  Pending home sales increased 5.5% in a month to an index level of 112.3.  In May 2006, the index was 112.5 and from a year ago, the figure is up 2.6%.  Last April saw a pending home sales index of 113.6.