- The Congressional Budget Office said the U.S. economy is likely to grow more slowly in coming decades, and the public debt burden will increase more than previously forecast due to the pandemic. 2020-2050 growth figures are now estimated to average 1.6% annually, down from about 1.85%.
- Growth in the service sector slowed slightly to 54.6 in September from the previous month’s reading of 55. A composite of purchasing managers index in the U.S. was 54.4 down slightly from 54.6 the month before. A reading above 50 shows an economy expanding.
- Prices for many cuts of meat have returned to pre-pandemic levels after rising due to sickened meat-plant workers forced shutdowns affecting product availability. Some products, including chicken wings and prime rib are cheaper now than they were before the pandemic began.
- Federal Reserve officials said the economy was likely to need additional government spending to avoid an uneven and protracted recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The Fed has already announced plans to keep interest rates near zero until inflation reaches 2% and possibly even higher.
- Low interest rates are not only benefitting consumers, but also the government. The average interest rate that the U.S. government pays on its interest-bearing debt as of 8/31/20 was 1.795%, down from 2.331% as of 12/31/15. That means our government can borrow almost 30% more money today than it borrowed 5 years ago and still have the same out-of-pocket interest expense cost.
- According to the Office of Management and Budget, fiscal year 2020 ends in 9 days on 9/30/2020, completing the largest budget deficit in our nation’s history. Through 8/31/2020, the government’s budget deficit had reached $3.007 trillion, more than double the previous red-ink record of $1.413 trillion from fiscal year 2009.
- U.S. ports received ships carrying 2.06 million containers loaded with cargo during the month of August 2020. That’s the largest number ever recorded in a monthly survey compiled since 2002.
- Home sales rose again in August for the third consecutive month. Sales for previously owned homes rose 2.4% from a month earlier according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales for new homes rose a strong 4.8%. New home sales are now up 43.2% from this time last year.
- A potential partial government shutdown was averted last week as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached an agreement on a spending bill. Farm aid and nutrition assistance were main sticking points government officials were able to reach a consensus on.
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