Trump Addresses Gun Control, Pushes for Background Checks
February 22, 2018
Trump signals a shift on gun control; U.S. jobless claims near 45-year low as economic outlook brightens; Leading indicators beat expectations and post third straight month of gains in January.
- Trump signals a shift on gun control. President Trump on Thursday signaled a dramatic shift on gun control after he held an emotional listening session in the Oval Office with the families of victims and survivors of a mass shooting at a high school in Florida. Trump said he wanted a total ban on bump stocks, the rifle attachment that allows guns to fire like automatic weapons. President Trump also said that he supports raising the age of purchase for long guns from 18 to 21 and will be “strongly pushing” for comprehensive background checks. These views seem to contradict his previous support of the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also openly supported increasing the age requirement to buy guns and said he is open to reconsidering magazine sizes. However, it is unclear how far Trump intends to go on gun control. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- U.S. jobless claims near 45-year low as economic outlook brightens. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased to a near 45-year low last week, suggesting strong job growth in February and solid growth in the economy. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits decreased 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 for the week ended Feb. 17, according to the Labor Department on Thursday. Claims fell to 216,000 in mid-January, the lowest level since January 1973. Economists polled by Reuters had expected claims to stay unchanged at 230,000 in the latest week. Last week was the 155th straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strong labor market. Labor market strength should continue to accelerate consumer spending, even though retail sales dropped in January. The labor market is now near full employment, with the jobless rate at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. Moreover, tightening labor market conditions are now pushing up wage growth. [Reuters]
- Leading indicators beat expectations and post third straight month of gains in January. A composite measure of leading economic indicators rose for the third straight month in January by 1 percent from the prior month. The composite indicator beat expectations of a 0.7 percent from Reuters economists. The monthly gain in December was 0.6 percent, which also surpassed economists’ expectations. The index tracks 10 economic metrics, including stock prices, unemployment insurance claims and building permits. [CNBC]