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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 – October 12, 2018

Head for Cover – What a week! Not only did the worst hurricane in 25 years hit the U.S., causing widespread devastation, but the financial markets also weathered their own storm of sorts. After reaching new high levels last month, the key stock indices plummeted five percent over two...


Behind the Numbers – September 28, 2018

No Surprises for Fed Watchers – As expected, the Federal Reserve increased the fed funds rate by 25 basis points for the third time this year. The new target range is 2.00 to 2.25 percent. The central bank signaled it expects to increase rates again this year, despite Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's...


Behind the Numbers – September 21, 2018

Housing on Weak Ground – On the surface, most of the housing data released this week gives the impression all is well with the industry. A closer look into the reports reveals continued weakness due to rising prices and the impending trade tariffs. Construction of new homes surged 9.2 percent in August...


Behind the Numbers – September 14, 2018

Inflation Takes a Break – Two key inflation reports were released this week, both showing a slowdown for the recent rise in inflation. First up was the Producer Price Index, PPI, which turned negative in August for the first time in 18 months. Most of the decline came from a drop in the cost of services, 80...


Behind the Numbers – September 7, 2018

Wages are Finally Catching Up – It is difficult to find anything significantly wrong with the August job report. Employers added 201,000 jobs in August, more than most experts were estimating. August is typically a weak month for job gains, with the data generally revised higher. If history repeats itself, we...


Behind the Numbers – August 24, 2018

Is the Housing Foundation Faltering? – Home sales may have reached their peak this year. The once-booming housing market that carried us through the current economic recovery is showing signs of distress. Existing home sales fell in July for the fourth month in a row. Sales declined 0.7 percent to a 5.34...


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...


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