Explore the forces behind the U.S. dollar.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2 Significant U.S. Economic Reports to Read

Many workers worried about the stability of the economy in the U.S. have the right to decide if the government has taken steps to better the interest of workers. But to do so, they must refer to data recounted in economic reports gathered by officials and employers alike. It pays. Which economic reports carry the most significance for workers and families?




National Gross Domestic Product:

The total output of goods and services produced annually by labor and property in a nation, economic reports of gross domestic product in the United States remains the most exhausitive report on labor. Workers should become familiar with the totals to gather a sense of what is normal for the economy considering the economic forces.

Particularly, the GDP totals fluctuate between 2.5-4% each quarter. Both "real" and current dollar totals report the growth of the economy. The U.S. reports a GDP of around $50,000 per capita.


Unemployment Rate:

Also, economic reports on unemployment provide the labor force suggestions on how volatile the labor market stands at a given time. Is it easier to get a new job? Which sectors are hiring?

The unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics each month gives a comprehensive view of the health of the labor market in the U.S.. Of course, the numbers won't fluctuate as much as the GDP, but workers should notice that the rate remains steady at around 7% in the U.S..


Issues:

What measures can workers take to improve current work conditions? Which labor sectors remain steady since the Recession?





                                                  SOURCES:

                                          -http://www.bea.gov/
                                          -http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.us.htm

                                                  KEYWORDS:

                   economic report; unemployment rate; gross domestic product
                                                        
                                                          

Monday, March 17, 2014

Who's Who in the U.S. Federal Reserve

Just a few months ago the U.S. Federal Reserve experienced a shutdown which
prevented normal operation of the government agency. The facts remained. Officicals would be responsible for implementing policy to stabilize the economy. So, who were the responsible agency officials and what titles do they hold?



Meet the Board:

Basically, the Board of Governors that make up the central bank of United States has consisted of 7 members, all of which were nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Recently, 4 new board members joined the Board to serve a term which begins every two years.

The new Chairman of the Board, Janet Yellen was elected just this past year along with a new Vice Chair. Other members who joined include Daniell Tarullo, Jeremy Stein, and Jerome Powell.


12 Districts:

To better centralize and structure the country, the central bank is divided into 12 districts. Forming 12 regional Reserve banks, the districts has set monetary policy for entire regions to carry out banking functions.

The 12 districts represented are San Francisco, Dallas, Kansas City, St.Louis, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Atlanta. These districts has controlled the money supply and the minting of the Dollar.

Issues:

With a newly elected Chair, is the Federal Reserve back to normal functioning. Should we expect a shutdown next year?






                                                                   SOURCES:
                     
                          -http://www.federalreserve.gov/aboutthefed/bios/board/default.htm
                          -http://www.federalreserveonline.org/

                                                                  KEYWORDS:

                                                      central bank; agency; district

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Latest Numbers from the Consumer Confidence Index

It's almost impossible to ignore the holiday rush that comes at the end of the year when U.S. families come together to celebrate. Count on it. Even the "after" holiday shopping creates a surge to the economy that makes it easier to start a new fiscal year. So, how much did consumer expectations improve for the last month of the year?




Consumer Confidence:

For the last month of the fiscal year of 2013, the Consumer Confidence Index records a 5 year high with a reading of 78.1. The monthly economic report shows that public has fewer complaints about current business conditions; a decrease in the percentage of consumers who thought conditions would worsen supports the read.

Also, consumer expectations for the new fiscal year increased. Business should improve in the market. The public appears ready to begin another business year.


U.S. Employment:

However, economic reports on U.S. employment present a different story. Particularly, consumers did not believe they would see an increase in earnings regardless of the increase in jobs on the labor market.

Fewer employees expect raises. But, it may be a little easier to get a new job.



Issues:

With the increase to the federal minimum wage requirement, should we expect the index to continue to improving? Will we improve beyond the base year of 1985?


                                                                SOURCES:
                         -http://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerconfidence.cfm
                         -http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-31/consumer-confidence-
                                    index-in-u-s-increased-to-78-1-in-december.html
                                  
                                                                  KEYWORDS:
                                         economic report; consumer confidence; employment

Friday, January 3, 2014

How U.S. Spending on Leisure Affects the Economy

Whether it be a trip to a five-star hotel out-of-town or a hot ticket to a baseball game, consumer spending on leisure precisely gauges public desire for the arts and entertainment. Not only does expenditures on leisure, especially tourism, drive commerce, leisure spending also guarantees economic activity outside of the regular business cycle. It only works.




Consumer Confidence:

In regards to consumer confidence, leisure spending works as an instrument for measuring the health of the economy. Workers who can afford to take a day off for leisure maintain a proper balance between work and domestic life.


There are cities that are dedicated to improving tourism in respective areas. As a matter of fact, cities like Atlanta, Minneapolis, and San Francisco report an expansion in tourism after winning major sporting events. The Beige Book cites those three areas as trendy favorites.


The Economy:

Although the U.S. economy thrives on the health of its working-class citizens, the economy suffers when workers can't afford a day off. Quality of life declines.

 Reports on leisure spending show that in the Atlanta area alone, tourism creates more than 200,000 jobs. Professional and collegiate sports support the Hospitality industry in the city. Many of the jobs created by tourism come from sporting events.


Issues:

With the minimum wage increase in place, will workers increase spending on leisure? Will employers also increase vacation periods in the future? Is the Hospitality industry willing to cut back?






                                                                         SOURCES:
                            -http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-04/u-s-federal-reserve-beige-book-
                                              atlanta-district-text-.html
                            -http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/beigebook/beigebook201312.htm
                                                                          
                                                                         KEYWORDS:
                                                     consumer confidence; leisure; economy

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Costs of Top Three U.S. Imports

It's almost impossible to ignore the fluctuating prices of oil and many capital goods in the U.S.. The markets can be unpredictable. For the world's largest import based economy with a gross domestic product of around $15684 billion, inflation stands as an everyday hurdle. So, what are the costs for being the world's largest importer?




Import Values:

As the top import of the U.S., crude oil and other industrial products account for about 30% of import costs in the economy. The U.S. pays around $36000 million annually for crude oil alone. Capital goods such as automotive vehicles and parts including engines take another 24%.

Then, Consumer goods such as food products account for another 12% of import costs. Many food products consumed in the U.S. come from Mexico, one of the main exporters to the U.S..


Gross Domestic Product:

With a gross domestic product as large as the annual total for the United States, national income and output must remain stable. An indicator of the sum of the value of imports added at every stage of production in all industries, the GDP for the U.S. aids in the forecasting of market activity.

The market controls prices. The economy guarantees the distribution of goods and services.


Issues:

Is it reasonable to expect a decline in imports and GDP in the future? What are the effects of a decline? Who will be the next largest importer?








                                                                    SOURCES:
                                      -http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/imports
                                      -http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ximpim.pdf

                                                                    KEYWORDS:
                                                imports; capital goods; gross domestic product

Monday, December 30, 2013

Investing Ideas: Three Picks from the Nasdaq Index

You might be entertaining doubts about the stability of the U.S. economy after hearing about the government lockout. Some of the largest market sectors continue to slow down as we approach the beginning of a new business year. Expect a sudden pickup.





Thriving Industries:

In spite of the lockout, some industries stand out as top earners on the Nasdaq index. Especially, the mini-Computer and Wireless equipment industries have a steady grip on the respective market sectors.

Steady gains keep both industries moving forward. The holidays should push customers into the shopping mode as computer or wireless owners look to upgrade. An investor studying the index should notice several companies from the mini-Computer and Wireless industry in the Top 100 stocks on the index.


The Picks:

For under $50 a share, an investor would be able to purchase stock in the suggested stock picks. After comparing price-to-earnings and market capitalization information for the stocks listed below, I suggest investors consider:
  • Hewlet Packard
  • Best Buy
  • Arc Wireless
Although the companies are not always the biggest gainers, your investment would remain safe in these companies. The numbers never lie. The brands are familiar.

Tips:

Complete research on individual companies by visiting the Nasdaq.com official website. Compare historical data on the suggested industries to determine the best time to buy.






                                                        

                                                                 SOURCES:
                                    -http://www.nasdaq.com/markets/barchart-sectors.aspx
                                    -http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/CCMP:IND

                                                                 KEYWORDS:
                                                market sectors; index; industry
               

Exploring 3 Types of Prime Rates

Whether you are investing in a treasury note or securing a mortgage loan, finding the best prime rate for you should be a top priority. It's simple. A 20 minute online search along with info from a bank official will help you choose the best prime rate for your purpose. So, what's the difference in the rates?



Comparing Prime Rates:

To begin comparing prime rates a borrower should understand the rates that are available on the market. Primarily, there are three main rates available:
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Federal Discount Rate
  • Federal Funds Rate
Of the three rates, the Federal Funds Rate carries the most significance. It influences interest rates and the economy. The Federal Funds Rate ensures the costs associated with overnight lending and determines returns of bank deposit products, your money market and regular savings accounts, etc.  Still, both the Federal Discount Rate and the Federal Funds Rate affect the quoted Wall Street Journal Rate in the long run.                



On Treasury Notes:

So, there really is a link to the prime rates on mortgages and interest bearing treasury notes. Long-term treasury notes that exceed a maturity of more than two years yield returns based on the Federal Funds rate.

Comparing the rates, you will notice that the interest does not fluctuate often. Predictability encourages investors to purchase longer term notes.




Issues:

If you are interested in knowing more specific formulas for determing yields on treasury notes or borrowing costs of mortgages, you should speak to a bank official. Mention the Federal Funds rate for more information.








                                                                     SOURCES:
                                -http://www.bankrate.com/rates/interest-rates/prime-rate.aspx
                                -http://www.treasury.gov/

                                                                       KEYWORDS:
                                                     prime rates; treasury notes; mortgages