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Behind the Numbers

Catalyst Corporate’s weekly economic commentary is produced by expert advisors, analysts and investment representatives from Catalyst Strategic Solutions. This publication provides a recap of economic events for the prior week, as well as insights regarding the impact economic developments may have on credit unions.


Behind the Numbers – July 14, 2017

Do We Sense Some Back Pedaling? – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen spent two days this week defending and explaining the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy to members of Congress. The Q&A session elicited a short-lived rally in the financial markets. Yellen suggested the fed funds rate does not have far to...


Behind the Numbers – July 7, 2017

Discussion + Disagreement = Confusion – Minutes from the June FOMC meeting indicate a Federal Reserve that seems confused about a number of things. At the top of the list is inflation, followed by when to begin reducing the balance sheet and how to do so without disrupting the financial markets. Discussions at...


Behind the Numbers – June 30, 2017

1-2-3...About Face – The last week of the month made up for the dullness of the previous three weeks. The financial markets did an about face after global central banks began addressing tighter, rather than easier, monetary policy.


Behind the Numbers – June 16, 2017

The Fed Strikes Again – The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise the federal funds rate to a target range between 1.00 and 1.25 percent. This is the third 25 basis point increase the FOMC has conducted in the past six months. The decision to increase the benchmark rate came on...


Behind the Numbers – June 2, 2017

Is 138,000 Enough to Make the Fed Move? – Analysts and economists had hoped for, and expected, a stronger report. The Labor Department reported the U.S. added 138,000 jobs in May, far below the estimated 182,000. Over the past three months, an average 121,000 jobs were added monthly. That average has...


Behind the Numbers – May 26, 2017

New Clues from the FOMCFinally, for a change, the Federal Reserve gave the financial markets some positive information to chew on. The minutes from the early May FOMC meeting revealed policy makers were in fact developing a plan to reduce the balance sheet. 


Behind the Numbers – May 19, 2017

Optimism Winning Over Activity – The housing market is improving, although not as fast and steady as economists wish. Economists were hoping to see a rebound in new home construction in April after unusually harsh weather dampened activity in March. Unfortunately, housing starts in April were a...


Behind the Numbers – May 12, 2017

Retail May Not Be Dead...Yet – Retail sales rebounded in April, bringing a sigh of relief to economists who feared consumers had lost their appetite for spending money. Not only did April sales increase 0.4 percent, but March sales were revised higher. The look back means spending was not as weak in the first...


Behind the Numbers – May 5, 2017

Two Days and Nothing New – The two-day FOMC meeting revealed nothing new. The committee voted unanimously to keep the target interest rate at 0.75 to 1.00 percent. The press release noted that while economic activity slowed and household spending improved only modestly, fundamentals...


Behind the Numbers – April 28, 2017

Spending stunts growth – Despite feeling confident about the economy and financial conditions, consumers did not put their money where their expectations were in the first quarter. Consumer spending hit a roadblock during the first quarter of 2017, bringing economic growth...


Behind the Numbers – April 21, 2017

Housing remains on firm foundation – The unusual weather patterns in February and March created fluctuations in the housing market that appear concerning at first glance. However, when you compare the two months' data together, the activity becomes normal. Construction of new homes declined...


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