European Commission Upwardly Revises Growth Estimates for Eurozone
May 12, 2015
Sen. Richard Shelby Will Introduce Legislation To Require The U.S. Federal Reserve To Explain Its Monetary Decisions In Detail To Congress; The March Reading Of The Labor Department’s JOLTS Report Demonstrated Weakness; European Commission Upwardly Revised Growth Estimates for Eurozone.
- Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) will introduce legislation today that would require the U.S. Federal Reserve to explain its monetary policy decisions in detail to Congress in addition to being obligated to operate with greater public transparency. The bank’s monetary policy committee would be required to send Congress a quarterly report explaining the information, analysis, and policy rules it used to reach its decisions. Sen. Shelby’s bill coincides with a separate bipartisan measure that would limit the Fed’s ability to provide emergency loans to banks in a crisis, though currently proposed legislation stops short of implementing mechanized rules for monetary policy, as has been previously suggested by Republican lawmakers. The legislation does not alter the existing requirement for the chairman of the Federal Reserve to testify twice a year before Congress. [FT]
Economic Indicators & News
- The March reading of the Labor Department’s JOLTS report demonstrated weakness in the American job market, as the number of openings was down 2.9% over the previous month. There were 4.994 million job openings in the month, well below market expectations for 5.144 million openings in the month. During the 12 months ending in March, the net employment gain in the United States was 3.0 million with 59.7 million hires and 56.7 million separations. Industries that led on job openings included professional and business services, health care, and hospitality. [BLS]
- In a report released Monday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), metropolitan home prices increased in 85% of 174 major real estate markets in the United States in the first quarter, as the existing single-family median home prices rose 7.4% to $205,200. Inventory rose 2.0% to 2.00 million existing homes for sale, though average supply fell to 4.6 months from 4.9 months in the year-ago period. To balance seller supply and buyer demand, 6-7 months of homes available for sale represents a healthy real estate sector, according to the NAR. The most expensive markets were San Jose, San Francisco, and Honolulu, while the lowest-cost metro areas were Youngstown, OH, Cumberland, MD, and Rockford, IL. [Realtor]
- The European Commission upwardly revised growth estimates for Eurozone countries with expectations of 1.5% output in 2015 across its 19-member nations, up from prior estimates for 1.3% growth. In all of the European Union, the commission predicts 1.8% output growth, an increase of 0.1% from previous forecasts. The commission maintained existing 2016 GDP estimates, however, for 1.9% growth in the Eurozone and 2.1% in the EU. The primary reason for the upward revision was the strength of the German economy, where low unemployment has driven gains in domestic consumption, though the country’s current account surplus rose to its highest level since reunification in 1990—7.9%. [WSJ]