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Behind the Numbers

Catalyst Corporate’s weekly economic commentary is produced by expert advisors, consultants 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 – April 28, 2017

Spending stunts growth – Despite feeling confident about the economy and financial conditions, consumers did not put their money where their expectations were in the first quarter. Consumer spending hit a roadblock during the first quarter of 2017, bringing economic growth...


Behind the Numbers – April 21, 2017

Housing remains on firm foundation – The unusual weather patterns in February and March created fluctuations in the housing market that appear concerning at first glance. However, when you compare the two months' data together, the activity becomes normal. Construction of new homes declined...


Behind the Numbers – April 14, 2017

Has Inflation Reached its Peak Already? – Two key measures of inflation are already beginning to show signs of softening after February’s PCE (personal consumption expenditures) index topped the Federal Reserve’s target of two percent. Both the consumer and producer price indices declined in March. Producer prices...


Behind the Numbers – April 7, 2017

Weather and Retail Wreak Havoc in March – March ended the stunning job growth of recent months. Employers added 98,000 jobs in March versus the expected 180,000 jobs. The two-month revision subtracted 38,000 jobs. Harsh weather and a decline in retail created most of the losses. Retail lost 30,000 jobs for the...


Behind the Numbers – March 31, 2017

Game of Financial Tug-of-War – This week felt like a game of tug-of-war. After watching the financial markets move in one direction last week, this week they pulled back and forth. The markets kept trying to regain ground each day, with stock prices and bond yields doing their best to move higher. Strong...


Behind the Numbers – March 24, 2017

But, I Thought Rates Were to Move Higher – Despite the key interest rate increase the Federal Reserve voted on just a week ago, the financial markets turned the other cheek this week. The three major stock indices posted the worst one-day losses this year. The Dow fell over 200 points for the first time since...


Behind the Numbers – March 17, 2017

Fed Brought Smile to Financial Markets – The long anticipated rate move by the Federal Reserve finally happened, sending a sigh of relief through the financial markets. The Federal Open Market Committee voted nine to one to raise the benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points. The new range is 0.75 to 1.00 percent....


Behind the Numbers – March 10, 2017

JOBS - Is It Enough to Move the Fed? – The official job report for February was solid. The unemployment rate declined to 4.7 percent, 235,000 jobs were added during the month, and wages increased 2.8 percent over a year ago. All signs point to the continuation of a steadily improving labor market and overall...


Behind the Numbers – March 3, 2017

The Fed and Interest Rates? – Headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased more than most analysts projected, driven largely by gains in the always volatile energy sector. Core inflation, which backs out volatile commodities, such as food and energy, is approaching the Fed’s target inflation...


Behind the Numbers – February 24, 2017

Hints Continue to Fall Without Landing – This week contributed more pieces to the rate puzzle, but the complete picture remains a mystery. Minutes from the February 1 FOMC meeting were released mid-week, providing insight into two days of discussion between the 12 voting members of the Federal Reserve...


Behind the Numbers – February 17, 2017

To March or Not to March... – This week was all about the timing of the next Federal Reserve interest rate move. Comments from various Federal Reserve members and a string of solid economic reports spurred bets that a move could happen in March. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave an upbeat...


Behind the Numbers – February 10, 2017

Beginning of an Export Turnaround? – The U.S. trade deficit improved 3.2 percent in December to -$44.3 billion. The improvement came from a 2.7 percent increase in exports, primarily for aircraft and industrial supplies. The increase in exports was the largest since September 2012. Imports rose 1.5 percent on...


Behind the Numbers – February 3, 2017

Is the Waiting Game Back On? – The first Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting of the year came and went with little fanfare this week. As expected, the Committee unanimously voted to keep the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.50 to 0.75 percent. This was the first meeting since...


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