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Behind the Numbers

Catalyst Corporate’s weekly economic commentary is produced by expert advisors, analysts and investment representatives from Catalyst Strategic Solutions. This publication provides a recap of economic events for the prior week, as well as insights regarding the impact economic developments may have on credit unions.


Behind the Numbers – August 17, 2018

Can't Beat Shopping and Eating – The retail sales report for July highlighted two of our favorite pastimes – shopping and eating. Sales at apparel stores and restaurants increased 1.3 percent last month, the best performance of the nine categories posting increases in sales. Our love affair with food is even...


Behind the Numbers – August 10, 2018

Inflation on its Way Up? – The latest reports on inflation are sending mixed signals. Producer prices stagnated in June after jumping in May. Prices were unchanged for the month, as the costs of services fell 0.1 percent. Energy prices decreased 0.5 percent. The index was up 3.3 percent year-over...


Behind the Numbers – August 3, 2018

Time to Trust the Trend – If you are one to look at a single data point and make a judgment, today is not your day. On the surface, an increase of 157,000 jobs in June is disappointing. Not only was this well below expectations, but it was close to the lowest monthly gain in 2018. This is a case where...


Behind the Numbers – July 27, 2018

Four is the Magic Number – The forecasters were right – the U.S. economy topped four percent in the second quarter. GDP came in at 4.1 percent, the best growth rate in four years. The increase came from several categories. Consumer spending increased four percent, the largest gain since 2014...


Behind the Numbers – July 20, 2018

Reading Between the Words – If you like to read between the lines, this was a good week for you. Words said were changed, some were said unexpectedly and other words were ignored to make room for what people wanted to hear. To start with, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's two-day...


Behind the Numbers – July 13, 2018

Up, Up, Up She Goes – Both the wholesale and consumer price indices are moving in the direction the Federal Reserve has been counting on. While the monthly measures were on par or just below the prior month’s readings, the June year-over-year levels were the highest in over six years. PPI...


Behind the Numbers – July 6, 2018

Goldilocks is in the House Again – June’s job report is being described as “just so-so” and “steady as she goes.” Job additions were better than expected (up 213,000), wage gain was not so great (0.2 percent for the month, 2.7 percent year-over-year), and the unemployment rate was good and bad (4.0 percent)...


Behind the Numbers – June 29, 2018

Housing Built with Grain of Salt – This week's reports on the housing market should, once again, be taken with a grain of salt. New home sales rose 6.7 percent in May, to the highest level in six months. Sounds like a booming housing market, especially after last week’s report of a five percent jump in housing...


Behind the Numbers – June 22, 2018

A Run on Worry Beads – Most of the week was spent worrying about what-ifs: what if a trade war erupts, what if China plays hard ball, what if General Electric is removed from the Dow? Granted, the last issue wasn't really a major what-if, but more of an "it finally happened" action. After 110 years,...


Behind the Numbers – June 15, 2018

Half My Kingdom for a Glass of Water – Will water become the next great commodity embraced by capitalism, like gold? You may be thinking, "How can that be? It comes down free in buckets, usually when I am planning something outdoors. Seventy percent of the earth is covered in water. You must be crazy." Possibly,...


Behind the Numbers – June 8, 2018

Job Openings Set Records – The Labor Department's Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report for April marked a couple of milestones. While the report showed a record 6.7 million unfilled jobs in April, revisions to March's report showed that, for the first time since tracking began in 2000, the...


Behind the Numbers – June 1, 2018

Job Gains Across the Board – The U.S. added 223,000 jobs in May, about 30,000 more than expected. Aside from an outlying report in February, May was the first time since November that more than 200,000 jobs were added. Even better, the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, the lowest rate since...


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