12/29: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rebounds to highest level since September

The gain in confidence, the first in three weeks, shows Americans are upbeat about the economy as stocks rally, unemployment lingers near a 17-year low and property values increase. The gauge of sentiment about the economy is now at its second-highest level since 2001. What’s more, Republican households were particularly optimistic about their financial situation following passage of the tax cut package.

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December Chicago Business Barometer rises to highest level since March 2011

The MNI Chicago Business Barometer rose to 67.6 in December, up from 63.9 in November, closing the year at the highest level since March 2011.

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December Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey spikes to highest level in more than 11 years

Texas factory activity expanded strongly in December, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, spiked 18 points to 32.8, reaching its highest level in more than 11 years.

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December Richmond Fed Manufacturing Activity Survey dips from November

According to the latest survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Fifth District manufacturing firms saw moderate growth in December. The composite index moved down from its record high November reading of 30 to 20 but remained positive, indicating continued growth.

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Initial unemployment claims unchanged in latest report

In the week ending December 23, initial unemployment claims were 245,000, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised level of 245,000. The 4-week moving average was 237,750, an increase of 1,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 236,000. Claims taking procedures continue to be disrupted in the Virgin Islands. The claims taking process in Puerto Rico has still not returned to normal.

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