1/18: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

Beige Book:  Economic outlook remains positive, but optimism slipping due to variety of factors

Economic activity increased in most of the U.S., with eight of twelve Federal Reserve Districts reporting modest to moderate growth. Outlooks generally remained positive, but many Districts reported that contacts had become less optimistic in response to increased financial market volatility, rising short-term interest rates, falling energy prices, and elevated trade and political uncertainty.

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Atlanta Fed:  January annual inflation expectations slip to 2.0 percent

Firms’ year-ahead inflation expectations decreased somewhat to 2.0 percent, on average.  Sales levels compared to “normal times” improved somewhat over the month. Profit margins declined slightly over the same period, and year-over-year unit costs were roughly unchanged at 2.1 percent, on average.

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Initial unemployment claims:  4-week average declines by 1,000 in latest report

In the week ending January 12, initial unemployment claims were 213,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 216,000. The 4-week moving average was 220,750, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 221,750.

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