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U.S. consumers more optimistic about labor market, Fed survey finds

U.S. consumers more optimistic about labor market, Fed survey finds

(Reuters) – U.S. consumers in September became slightly less worried about losing their jobs and more optimistic about their earnings, though the effects of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic lingered, according to a survey released on Tuesday by the New York Federal Reserve.



a large stone statue in a park: FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve in Washington


© Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve in Washington

The average perceived chance of becoming unemployed over the next year dropped to 16.6% in September from 18% in August but was still well above the pre-pandemic level of 13.8% in February. The drop was driven by an improvement in sentiment among people above age 60 and those with household incomes below $50,000.

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While the U.S. labor market continues to heal from the damage caused by the pandemic, data released by the Labor Department earlier this month shows the recovery is slowing. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 661,000 jobs in September, the smallest gain since the jobs recovery started in May.

The Fed survey suggested that some consumers think the worst of the pain in the labor market has passed. Expectations that the U.S. unemployment rate will be higher in a year dropped to an average 36.4% in September from 39.1% in August.

Consumers reported feeling better about their pay and their ability to spend. The median expectation for household income growth increased to 2.3% in September, up 0.1 percentage point from August but still below the 2019 average of 2.8%. Median expectations for household spending growth increased to 3.4% in September, from 3% in August, reaching the highest level since May 2019.

The survey of consumer expectations is a monthly poll conducted on a rotating panel of 1,300 households.

Median inflation expectations for the next year remained unchanged at 3% at the one-year horizon and expectations for the next three years dropped

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Consumer Confidence Dips, But Republicans Still Notably Optimistic

Consumer Confidence Dips, But Republicans Still Notably Optimistic

As the White House battles a coronavirus outbreak that includes the president being diagnosed with Covid-19, Americans’ overall confidence in the economy has taken a slight dip. But confidence is still holding fairly steady in spite of widespread health concerns about the pandemic.

Overall consumer confidence measured at 52 this week, according to the Ipsos U.S. Consumer Confidence Weekly Tracker. That’s a decrease of 2.6 points from last week.

Ipsos, which surveyed 921 respondents online on Oct. 6 and 7, provided the results exclusively to Forbes Advisor. The survey is conducted weekly to track consumer sentiment over time, using a series of 11 questions to determine whether consumers feel positively or negatively about the current state of the economy and where it looks to be going in the future. 

Each of the subcategories Ipsos tracks to measure overall confidence, including current financial situation, financial outlook, investment confidence and job security confidence, decreased from last week. Only one of them exceeds pre-pandemic levels. 

The expectations index, which measures how respondents view their personal financial situation and local economy, was down 1.5 points this week, but remains nearly two points above its early-March 2020 levels. That number is above the pandemic average by about two points, and above the historical average (since 2002) by more than four points.

A majority of Americans continue to believe that reopening the economy is the right thing to do, with 52% of respondents agreeing the economy will recover quickly once pandemic restrictions are relaxed. Meanwhile, 47% said the economy should be reopened even if the coronavirus isn’t contained—a decrease of two points from last week.

Republicans Consistently More Confident in Economy Than Democrats

During the pandemic, people identifying as Republicans have been the most confident, while Democrats have been the least confident, with as

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UK financial services firms turn cautiously optimistic

UK financial services firms turn cautiously optimistic

LONDON (Reuters) – Financial services firms in Britain turned more optimistic for the first time this year as a drop in business bottomed out, but big uncertainties remained about COVID-19 and a post-Brexit trade deal, according to a survey published on Thursday.



a tall building in a city: FILE PHOTO: Skyscrapers in The City of London financial district are seen during sunrise in London


© Reuters/HANNAH MCKAY
FILE PHOTO: Skyscrapers in The City of London financial district are seen during sunrise in London

A drop in profits for banks, finance companies and building societies was partly offset by growth in earnings from insurance and investment management, the quarterly survey by the Confederation of British Industry showed.

“While it is reassuring to see business volumes begin to stabilise in a sector so vital for the UK’s recovery, financial services isn’t out of the woods just yet,” Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s chief economist, said.

Video: Dollar will go up on stimulus deal, but not for too long: Strategist (CNBC)

Dollar will go up on stimulus deal, but not for too long: Strategist

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Staff numbers fell less severely than in the previous three-month period and the decline was expected to slow again.

Investment excluding technology was likely to fall in the year ahead, weighed down by the deepest demand uncertainty in eight years caused by COVID-19 and unresolved trade talks between Britain and the European Union.

Non-performing loans grew but at a slower pace than earlier in 2020.

The survey was conducted between Sept. 1 and Sept. 19 and 133 firms replied.

(Writing by William Schomberg)

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The stock market may be too optimistic about stimulus chances

The stock market may be too optimistic about stimulus chances

  • Stocks surged after President Trump suggested stimulus could be adopted piecemeal, including airline aid, since there’s no agreement on a larger sweeping package.
  • Stocks had tanked Tuesday when Trump tweeted that he was ending talks between his administration and Democrats.
  • But strategists said investors may be too hopeful that Congress can come together on a spending plan before the election.



a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 20, 2020.


© Provided by CNBC
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 20, 2020.

A fiscal stimulus package is the one thing that could put the stock market on an upward trajectory into the election, but some strategists say the odds of that happening are still rather low.

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President Donald Trump, within hours Tuesday, both dashed hopes for a stimulus package by calling off administration talks with Democrats, and then rekindled them by tweeting about aid to airlines and other  smaller targeted packages.

The Dow was up 1.8% Wednesday after Trump triggered a sharp sell-off Tuesday. But that has not changed the dynamic for markets, and stocks are still expected to trade in a choppy, volatile fashion until the outcome of the election is clear.

“I’m surprised that everybody is all bulled up about it again,” John Briggs, head of strategy at NatWest Markets.

Some see the disagreement over what’s in the package as insurmountable in the short-term, and they do not expect a compromise in Congress until after the election. One reason is Senate Republicans, who have sought a much smaller package than even the White House, have the Supreme Court nomination on their calendar and will be occupied.

Democrats have sought a $2.2 trillion package that would provide funds for individuals, help businesses and provide aid to state and local governments. The White House has said it would agree to $1.6 trillion

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