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The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. Increases

The Conference Board (08/17/2012)

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. increased 0.4% in July to 95.8 (2004 = 100), following a 0.4% decline in June, and a 0.3% increase in May. “With this month’s increase, the U.S. LEI returned to its May level,” says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at the Conference Board. “The majority of its components improved, led by large contributions from housing permits and initial unemployment claims. The LEI’s six-month growth rate seems to be stabilizing, pointing to a continuing but slow expansion in economic activity for the rest of the year.”

Consumer Sentiment Rises in August

MarketWatch (08/17/12) Ruth Mantell

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary August index of consumer sentiment increased to 73.6 from 72.3 the prior month. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the index to decline to 71.8 in August, due, in part, to ongoing economic uncertainty. However, there has been positive jobs news, and stocks moved higher this month.

Fed’s Kocherlakota Highlights Jobs-Inflation Conflict

Wall Street Journal Online (08/16/12) Michael Derby

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Narayana Kocherlakota says the U.S. Federal Reserve may need to be willing to let inflation rise above its 2% target to reduce “quite elevated” levels of unemployment. Kocherlakota notes the central bank has mandates both to keep prices contained and to promote job growth, adding that there can sometimes be tradeoffs when there are large imbalances at play. “In a context, in a world, where unemployment is as high as it is,” allowing inflation to tip over the current central bank target of 2%”could well be part of an appropriate policy,” Kocherlakota says.

Cities That Will See the Highest Pay Raises Next Year

Fox Business (08/15/12) Chad Brooks

Based on surveys of 1,300 U.S. companies, Aon Hewitt says employees in several cities should receive pay raises next year that are higher than the projected national average of 3%. The highest salary increase of 3.6% is anticipated in Denver, though workers in Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, San Diego, Houston, and Kansas City also will receive higher-than-average raises. However, San Francisco, Chicago, and Minneapolis/St. Paul lead the list of cities where lower-than-average pay raises are expected. The report also indicates that workers in the milling and mining, computer, energy, and automotive/vehicle manufacturing industries will receive higher-than-average salary increases, while those in the education, rubber/plastic/glass, government, and health care/medical services sectors will receive the lowest pay raises.

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