|The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims declined last week for the second straight week, suggesting employers are still largely holding on to their workers. First time claims in regular state programs fell 8,000 to 212,000 from the prior week’s upwardly revised 220,000 for the week ending February 10th. The four-week moving average climbed to 218,500 from 212,750 the prior week. Continuing claims, which include people who have received unemployment benefits for a week or more, rose 30,000 to 1.895 million for the week ending February 3rd. As a result, the insured unemployment rate, the number of people currently receiving unemployment insurance as a percentage of the labor force, when up to 1.3% from 1.2% prior.
The majority of Americans rely upon employer sponsored retirement plans as the foundation for their retirement savings. As an employer, offering the right retirement plan is vitally important for attracting and retaining talented employees.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures changes in prices paid by consumers for goods and services, was released earlier today for the month of January and showed an increase m/m of +0.3% and +3.1% y/y vs. the prior month of +0.2% m/m and +3.4 y/y.
Healthy economic data continues to suggest that the Federal Reserve should maintain its stance of holding short-term interest rates at the 5.25% to 5.50% range
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The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims increased for a second straight week last week, to a two-month high. The layoffs are in line with employers announcing more than 80 thousand job cuts in January, the most in 10 months. First time claims in regular state programs increased 9,000 to 224,000 from the prior week’s upwardly revised 215,000 for the week ending January 27th. The four-week moving average climbed to 207,750 from 202,500 the prior week. Continuing claims, which include people who have received unemployment benefits for a week or more, climbed 70,000 to 1.898 million for the week ending January 20th. These numbers may be understated as there is a historically low share of unemployed Americans applying for benefits due to a lack of eligibility and the fact that the weekly payouts have not kept up with the pace of inflations, which may cause more people to seek part-time jobs rather than apply for benefits.
The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) released their decision on the federal funds rate earlier today at the January meeting and maintained the rate at 5.25-5.50% for the fourth consecutive meeting.
With a soft landing coming ever more into view, the Federal Reserve has a decision to make. What should it do next? Recent data indicates that, for at least the next three meetings, the Fed should take no monetary action.
Alfred Ray, Vice President in Public Finance discusses why "The Stephens Approach," focused on achieving the best financing possible for our clients, is a key differentiator. From iconic venues such as the Louisiana Superdome, to vital institutions including the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and even to small-town elementary schools in Texas, Stephens’ commitment is steadfast.
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