“New Collar” Jobs a Focus for Dems, Manufacturing Purchasing Up
July 25, 2017
As part of their “Better Deal,” Democrats are introducing legislation that would incentivise tech training in cybersecurity. The Federal Reserve continues to be worried about low inflation. Consumer confidence is up, and so is manufacturing purchasing.
- Weak inflation in focus at Fed’s July policy meeting. The Federal Reserve, which will issue a press statement on Wednesday, is expected to hold monetary policy steady. There are four key policy questions to watch for in Wednesday’s statement: (1) When will the Fed start shrinking its large holdings of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, which it accumulated during the financial crisis? (2) Will the Fed hold off on further interest rate increases, especially in light of the fact that inflation has fallen short of the Fed’s 2% target for the past three months? (3) How will the Fed address the dichotomy between weak inflation and strong employment numbers? (4) Will there be any clues as to the timing of the Fed’s next rate increase? [WSJ]
- Democratic Party introduces cyber workforce bill. On Tuesday, three House Democrats introduced a multi-layered bill aiming to boost the cyber security workforce. The “New Collar Jobs Act,” released by representatives Ted Lieu, Matt Cartwright and Ann Kuster, establishes incentivized tax breaks for employers offering cybersecurity training, increase funding for cyber scholarship programs, and creates student debt relief programs for cybersecurity job takers. The bill’s goal, as stated by Lieu, is to improve the economy and national security by reeducating industrial workers with high-demand skills in cybersecurity to fill these “New Collar” jobs. This new bill will also double the size of the CyberCorps program, which offers scholarships in exchange for government services, adds $10 million to the Advanced Technological Education Program in cybersecurity, and offers student loan repayment to cybersecurity practitioners. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- U.S. consumer confidence rose in July. The Conference Board’s index hit the second highest reading since 2000, rising to 121.1 from a revised 117.3 in June. July’s increase were driven by a rise in the current conditions subindex, reflecting falling gasoline prices, the strength of the job market, and recent record highs in the stock market. The index tracking household attitudes increased to a 147.8 in July, while the index tracking expectations about the future increased to 103.3. According to economists, increases in consumer optimism are likely to translate to increased consumer spending, but recent data show consumers pulling back. Nevertheless, consumers foresee the economic expansion to continue well into the second half of this year. [WSJ]
- Manufacturing PMI hits four-month high in July. The IHS Markit flash U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 53.2 from the 52 mark in June, with accelerated readings for output, new orders, employment, and stocks of input. The IHS states that this higher volume of new work for manufacturers is linked to improving demand conditions, as well as signs of reduced risk aversion among clients. Industrial production in June rose for the fifth consecutive month, aided by improving oil and gas production and a weaker dollar. The July PMI surveys show an economy gaining growth momentum at the start of the third quarter, with the strongest monthly improvement since January. [Market Watch]