Will they or won’t they? The Federal Reserve has finally answered the question industry analysts and the financial markets have been asking for most of this year, opting to hold off for a while longer on the rate increase that most analysts have been expecting and that fed officials themselves seem anxious to approve. The… Read More »

When will the Federal Reserve raise interest rates? Economists, business executives and consumers have been asking that question with increasing intensity for the past two years. The July employment report may have brought the Fed closer to answering it. Employers added 215,000 jobs for the month, a little short of the consensus forecast, but still… Read More »

The June economic reports brought a spate of mostly good news, peppered with continuing concerns about the employment outlook. Although employers added 223,000 jobs for the month wage gains remained anemic, leaving the timing of the Fed’s interest rate move still in doubt. On that point, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told a Congressional committee… Read More »

The Federal Reserve continues to eye an increase in the Federal Funds Rate this year, but from a distance and with no apparent inclination to hasten that move. Speaking recently at the Providence (RI) Chamber of Commerce, Fed Chairman Janet Yellen restated her position that the agency will adjust rates when economic conditions make an… Read More »

For anyone concerned that the Federal Reserve might move too quickly to boost interest rates, the disappointing March employment report was reassuring, if not welcome, news. Most analysts agreed that the significant slowdown in hiring (employers added only 126,000 new jobs) will give the Fed reason to regain the “patience” the Federal Open Market Committee… Read More »

Housing reports turned mainly (although not entirely) positive in February. Existing home sales rebounded to record a 1.2 percent gain following a steep January decline. The annual sales pace of 4.88 million units was 4.7 percent higher than the year-ago figure for the month, but below forecasts, and short of the annual totals for both… Read More »

The February employment report fell solidly and impressively in the “better” column, as employers added 295,000 workers to their payrolls. The strong performance beat both more conservative estimates and the January jobs total, which was revised downward. It also marked the 12th consecutive month in which payrolls increased by 200,000 or more. The unemployment rate,… Read More »

The year began with a strong jolt of positive news: Employers added 252,000 jobs in December, beating estimates, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent, its lowest level since June, 2008. But wages declined for the first time in more than a year and the labor participation rate slumped, as well, casting a “yes-but”… Read More »