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Daily Update

Current economic and public policy news from the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative. Subscribe to receive the daily update by email.

  • FOMC minutes have led to a surge in the dollar. August 16
    President Trump’s infrastructure plan is largely based on removing regulations that would prepare the country for climate change. The FOMC’s anticipated minutes have pushed the dollar up. Britain’s unemployment dropped to it’s lowest level since 1975.
  • Trump signed an infrastructure executive order. August 15
    Trump signed an executive order on infrastructure. California and other states and municipalities have sued the Trump Administration over funding cuts for sanctuary cities. The US is seeing gains to spending, as China’s economy starts to cool down.
  • Relations with China are strained. August 14
    The White House is looking to address NAFTA renegotiations and trade with China this week. Markets are calming now that North Korean fears are cooling. The Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, is supporting lower interest rates.
  • EPA logo. August 11
    Insurance companies are waiting to hear about the future of Obamacare. The EPA is looking to roll back standards for fuel economy despite industry pushback. Inflation continues to rise slowly and the housing market is becoming increasingly unaffordable.
  • A North Korean missile unit takes part in a military parade to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korea... August 11
    Jobless claims rose last month, despite still being well below the measure for a healthy labor market. Insurance companies are asking for rate hikes from the government due to Obamacare uncertainty caused by the President. The dollar is sliding as President Trump continues to stoke fears of conflict.
  • Apple being investigated by trade authorities. August 9
    Apple is being investigated by U.S. trade authorities for patent infringement. It is looking increasingly unlikely that a “clean” debt ceiling bill passes. The tension in North Korea is likely to spook markets. Productivity in the U.S. has risen as oil prices drop.
  • Philadelphia is considered a "sanctuary city." August 8
    The Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions is targeting sanctuary cities. The Interior Department is looking to expand mining and drilling on federal and native land. Job openings hit a record high and small business confidence rises.
  • A North Korean missile unit takes part in a military parade to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korea... August 8
    Following additional missile testing, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to impose more sanctions on North Korea. The U.S. oil rig count fell by one and infrastructure spending also decreased.
  • Regulation and Unemployment August 4
    Employers added 209,000 jobs in July, while hourly wages increased by 2.5%. The Senate also approved a right-to-try bill for unapproved healthcare options. Brexit also appears to be affecting GDP growth estimates for the UK.
  • The US Federal Reserve August 4
    The GOP has moved the debate over the future of healthcare back to the committees, increasing hope that they will return to bipartisanship. Republican governors are also working to reform healthcare within their states. Jobless claims have continued to fall as the labor market tightens, but despite this, inflation continues to stagnate.
  • Stocks hit a new record high. August 2
    President Trump signed a sanctions bill overwhelmingly passed by the House and Senate. Courts also ruled that Democratic state attorneys general can defend Obamacare subsidies. The U.S. has also signaled that it will crack down on the trade relationship with China. Oil prices have also fallen as job growth has risen and the DOW has hit a record high.
  • Manufacturing in Europe was up. August 1
    Democrats in the Senate laid out their plan for reforming the U.S. tax system. Senators from both parties also introduced an Internet of Things cybersecurity bill. European manufacturing is on a tear as U.S. spending slows and the dollar continues to slide.
  • Bernie Sanders released a bill to combat price gouging in the Pharmaceutical industry. July 31
    Senator Bernie Sanders has released a plan meant to limit over-priced drugs. The debt ceiling also continues to approach, with the GOP debating how best to deal with it. The U.S. oil rig count is up again, along with housing prices, as the market continues to deal with a shortage of properties.
  • John McCain ended the prospects of repealing Obamacare. July 28
    John McCain (R-Ariz.) cast the deciding vote against the Senate Obamacare repeal, which would not have been possible without Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). The U.S. economy has entered its 9th year of expansion, the third longest period of growth since WWII. Unemployment continues to hover near record lows while wages are increasing.
  • Senate Republicans continue to work to repeal Obamacare. July 27
    Senate Republicans are continuing their efforts to repeal Obamacare this week. The next vote could be on Thursday evening or Friday morning but Senators are not yet sure what is in the bill. Tax policy guidelines are to be released by the White House, as well. Unemployment filings continue to be at a healthy level and capital spending is robust.
  • United States Treasury. July 26
    Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has continued to raise awareness that the debt ceiling is approaching, despite slow movement by Congress. The Federal Reserve has also signaled that they will begin winding down their balance sheet. Inventories of oil have fallen recently, as well. 
  • Cybersecurity retraining is part of the "New Collar" jobs push of Democrats. July 25
    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.
  • The mortgage interest deduction may not be effective. July 24
    A recent study found that the mortgage interest deduction, as is, is not effective in boosting home ownership. This comes as home sales are down, primarily due to low inventory. In other news, the House has not put a vote on the budget on their agenda yet, due to disagreements over how to move forward. Finally, the national oil rig count is down in what is expected to be a brief pause.
  • Salaries have gone up for low-income earners. July 22
    Yesterday, Senator John McCain announced that he was diagnosed with brain cancer. His absence will loom large in the Senate, both as a leader and in crucial votes to come. As the labor market continues to tighten, low-income earners are seeing large salary increases. GDP is also improving, with the NY Fed raising expectations for the indicator.
  • CBO logo. July 20
    The latest CBO estimates for the Senate Obamacare repeal and replace bill, which has died, would leave 22 million more uninsured within the next 10 years. More news out of the Senate: Trump’s tax policy nominee was advanced out of Committee. Jobless claims continue to fall, which the Fed is anticipated to cite in raising rates in the coming months.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen. July 19
    There is increasing murmurs that the Federal Reserve and ECB may be prolonging their easing policies too long and may be creating excesses in the economy. Oil prices also jumped on news that U.S. inventories decreased by almost 5%. Further, housing is rebounding following three months of decline.
  • NAFTA is to be renegotiated. July 18
    As the White House looks to renegotiate NAFTA, the GOP is looking towards tax reform, now that healthcare reform has collapsed. Homebuilding sentiment and trade prices are also down.
  • Student loans are the main reason behind lower homeownership among millennials. July 17
    China seems to be unwilling to agree to terms that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross claimed they would in May. Homeland Security has also stated that they will allow 15,000 more seasonal work visas to help with industries unrelated to agriculture. This all comes as student loans are reported to be the driving reason behind lower homeownership among millennials. 
  • The debt limit is approaching. July 14
    The GOP is expected to tie raising the debt ceiling to a more popular bill, like expanding veteran’s health insurance options. Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods is also being looked at by Democrats, who are looking to hold a Congressional hearing on the matter. June retail sales fell slightly while consumer prices remained constant.
  • The Congressional Budget Office released reports on the White House budget and the Senate healthcare bill. July 14
    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their analysis of both the White House budget proposal and the revised Senate healthcare bill. The Labor Market is continuing to stay strong, although forecasts for economic growth are being revised down due to gridlock in Washington, D.C.
  • (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) July 12
    Janet Yellen testified before a House committee on future policy, which largely hinges on inflation, which has been lower than desirable. The CFRB has evaluated the Trump budget and found that it would raise debt to 80% of GDP, despite White House claims that it would lower to 60%. Oil prices have risen slightly and E.U. industrial output is also up.
  • Housing results have improved. July 11
    The recent JOLTS report shows that hiring in May was the strongest it has been since 2004. The housing market is also rebounding, as bankruptcies are wiped from consumer’s records. The White House has nominated a new Federal Reserve Bank Regulator. The CFPB has also proposed a rule that would allow consumers to bring class-action lawsuits against banks.
  • The Fed sees a continuation of economic growth. July 11
    The Federal Reserve, the Bank of Canada, and the European Central Bank all see growth going forward. This is matched by economic news showing that Black and Hispanic Americans are seeing historically low unemployment on the horizon. Unfortunately, 2 million more Americans are uninsured this year, compared to last year.
  • The dollar has strengthened recently. July 7
    The E.U. and Japan plan to put a free trade agreement into force within the next two years. The EPA is facing a lawsuit from 5 States over a pesticide. The U.S. economy continues to do well, with a strong dollar and labor market.
  • A North Korean missile unit takes part in a military parade to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korea... July 6
    Following the successful launch of an ICBM, the White House is pushing for more sanctions against the nation. The Education Department is also facing a lawsuit brought by 18 states regarding for-profit colleges. Meanwhile, the trade deficit has fallen and the labor market continues to be strong.


  • <h3>The World Bank Data (U.S.)</h3><p><img width="130" height="118" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image484 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1406" data-max-h="1275"/>The <strong>World Bank</strong> provides World Development Indicators, Surveys, and data on Finances and Climate Change.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states" target="_blank">http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>NOAA National Climatic Data Center</h3><p><img width="200" height="198" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image483 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 3x" data-max-w="954" data-max-h="945"/>NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation’s treasure of <strong>climate and historical weather data and information</strong>.</p><p> Quick link to home page: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCDC’s climate and weather datasets, products, and various web pages and resources: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links</a></p><p> Quick link to Text & Map Search: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The Penn World Table</h3><p> The Penn World Table provides purchasing power parity and national income accounts converted to international prices for 189 countries/territories for some or all of the years 1950-2010.</p><p><a href="https://pwt.sas.upenn.edu/php_site/pwt71/pwt71_form.php" target="_blank">Quick link.</a> </p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Internal Revenue Service: Tax Statistics</h3><p><img width="155" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image486 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg 2x" data-max-w="463" data-max-h="596"/>Find statistics on business tax, individual tax, charitable and exempt organizations, IRS operations and budget, and income (SOI), as well as statistics by form, products, publications, papers, and other IRS data.</p><p> Quick link to <strong>Tax Statistics, where you will find a wide range of tables, articles, and data</strong> that describe and measure elements of the U.S. tax system: <a href="http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2" target="_blank">http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>USDA Nutrition Assistance Data</h3><p><img width="180" height="124" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image485 lw_align_right" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1233" data-max-h="850"/>Data and research regarding the following <strong>USDA Nutrition Assistance</strong> programs are available through this site:</p><ul><li>Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) </li><li>Food Distribution Programs </li><li>School Meals </li><li>Women, Infants and Children </li></ul><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics" target="_blank">http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Center for Education Statistics</h3><p><strong><img width="400" height="80" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/400/height/80/479_nces.rev.1407787656.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image479 lw_align_right" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="80"/>The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.</strong> NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES has an extensive Statistical Standards Program that consults and advises on methodological and statistical aspects involved in the design, collection, and analysis of data collections in the Center. To learn more about the NCES, <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/about/" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p> Quick link to NCES Data Tools: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4</a></p><p> Quick link to Quick Tables and Figures: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCES Fast Facts (Note: The primary purpose of the Fast Facts website is to provide users with concise information on a range of educational issues, from early childhood to adult learning.): <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/#</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED®)</h3><p><strong><img width="180" height="79" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/79/481_fred-logo.rev.1407788243.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image481 lw_align_right" data-max-w="222" data-max-h="97"/>An online database consisting of more than 72,000 economic data time series from 54 national, international, public, and private sources.</strong> FRED®, created and maintained by Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, goes far beyond simply providing data: It combines data with a powerful mix of tools that help the user understand, interact with, display, and disseminate the data.</p><p> Quick link to data page: <a href="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series" target="_blank">http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>MapStats</h3><p> A feature of FedStats, MapStats allows users to search for <strong>state, county, city, congressional district, or Federal judicial district data</strong> (demographic, economic, and geographic).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/" target="_blank">http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Congressional Budget Office</h3><p><img width="180" height="180" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/180/380_cbo-logo.rev.1406822035.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image380 lw_align_right" data-max-w="180" data-max-h="180"/>Since its founding in 1974, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process.</p><p> The agency is strictly nonpartisan and conducts objective, impartial analysis, which is evident in each of the dozens of reports and hundreds of cost estimates that its economists and policy analysts produce each year. CBO does not make policy recommendations, and each report and cost estimate discloses the agency’s assumptions and methodologies. <strong>CBO provides budgetary and economic information in a variety of ways and at various points in the legislative process.</strong> Products include baseline budget projections and economic forecasts, analysis of the President’s budget, cost estimates, analysis of federal mandates, working papers, and more.</p><p> Quick link to Products page: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products</a></p><p> Quick link to Topics: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/topics" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/topics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Aviation Administration: Accident & Incident Data</h3><p><img width="100" height="100" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image80 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 3x" data-max-w="550" data-max-h="550"/>The NTSB issues an accident report following each investigation. These reports are available online for reports issued since 1996, with older reports coming online soon. The reports listing is sortable by the event date, report date, city, and state.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/" target="_blank">http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>HUD State of the Cities Data Systems</h3><p><strong><img width="200" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image482 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 3x" data-max-w="612" data-max-h="613"/>The SOCDS provides data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs.</strong> It is a portal for non-national data made available through a number of outside institutions (e.g. Census, BLS, FBI and others).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html" target="_blank">http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Bureau of Economic Research (Public Use Data Archive)</h3><p><img width="180" height="43" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/43/478_nber.rev.1407530465.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image478 lw_align_right" data-max-w="329" data-max-h="79"/>Founded in 1920, the <strong>National Bureau of Economic Research</strong> is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community.</p><p> Quick Link to <strong>Public Use Data Archive</strong>: <a href="http://www.nber.org/data/" target="_blank">http://www.nber.org/data/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>