January 31, 2014
New Republican Plans for Immigration, New NSA Director, and New PCE, ECI, and PMI Data
On the Hill
- At a private policy conference in Massachusetts this week, top Republican lawmakers released a memo with plans for addressing immigration reform in the coming year. The memo advocates a series of bills instead of a single comprehensive bill. The memo includes a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants following a rigorous background check process and other requirements including fines and back-tax.
- Today, President Obama is expected to announce a “best practices” pledge for long-term unemployed workers that about 300 companies, including Walmart, Apple, and JP Morgan Chase, have signed. The announcement will also unveil a new $150 million grant competition for partnerships between local governments and companies, which seek ways to support the long-term unemployed.
- The Department of Defense announced yesterday that President Obama will nominate Vice Admiral Mike Rogers to be the next director of the NSA and commander of US Cyber Command. Vice Admiral Rogers currently leads the Navy’s Cyber Fleet Command.
- Data released on Personal Income and Outlays show that Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) and prices edged up in December, as Personal Income remained virtually unchanged. Personal Income increased by less than 0.1% last month, and disposable personal income dipped by 0.2%. PCE climbed by 0.4% with the core PCE price index rising by 0.2% and explaining only part of the rise in PCE.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported with its Employment Cost Index that compensation costs in the civilian workforce rose by 0.5% in the three-month span from Oct. 2013-Dec. 2013. For the calendar year 2013, compensation costs rose by 2.0%. Wages and Salaries rose by 0.6% between October and December.
- The Purchasing Manager’s Index from the Institute for Supply Management slipped to 59.6 in January. December’s vale was revised up to 60.8. Despite signs of a strengthening economy, the employment index also dipped below 50 to 49.6.
- January’s last consumer sentiment reading shows that the sentiment index has dropped this month to 81.2 after an index value of 82.5 in December.
- It is reported that the State Department will provide a new environmental report today on the Keystone XL pipeline project. Environmental studies by the department released in 2011 and 2013 have each found few environmental risks. After the release of this report, an additional conclusive report from the State Department, assessing whether the pipeline is in US interests, must come before a decision by Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama.