The Economic News That Did Not Make Headlines This Week
Significantly, the inflation indicator watched closely by the Fed - the personal consumption expenditure deflator - remained unchanged in January from December 2017, at 1.7%.
Meanwhile, purchasing managers at manufacturing companies reported an uptick to already strong orders. At 60.8%, the purchasing managers at manufacturing companies are reporting that activity is about as strong as it's been in over two decades.
Amid the benign inflation outlook and continued signs of economic growth, the Fed did not change plans for slow and steady rate hikes, according to Jerome Powell, the new Federal Reserve chair. In testimony before the Senate on Thursday, Mr. Powell said the Fed expected inflation to only gradually trend back toward its 2% target. At his first major public appearance since taking the helm at the Fed three weeks ago, Powell's remarks reflected the same outlook voiced by his predecessor. Since every recession of the post-World War II era was caused by a Fed policy mistake, the new Fed chair's message of a very steady monetary policy was reassuring, though it did not make big headlines.
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