Tag: month

Americans are spending again after lying low for a few months
Unemployment

Americans are spending again after lying low for a few months

Jeffry Baseball fans aren’t the only ones experiencing spring fever.
The evidence?
But it will be a sign the recent lull in consumer spending is about to end.
After all, consumer spending soared 4% in the final three months of 2017 to mark the biggest increase in three years.
The savings rate has risen to 3.4% from just 2.5% at the end of last year.
The Trump tax cuts have also boosted take-home pay while income-tax refunds are giving consumers a new stash of cash.
That’s a lot of extra cash for households to spend.
The March retail numbers will get an additional boost from strong auto sales and a late Easter that resulted in a burst of holiday spending in the last weekend of the month.
“After a blockbuster end to 2017, retail sales have started 2018 with a whimper and that likely won’t change much in March,” said economist Andrew Grantham of CIBC World Economics.
A slew of senior Fed officials are making the rounds this week to lay out their views on the economy and the future path of the Fed.

U.S. adds 103,000 jobs in March in smallest gain in six months
Unemployment

U.S. adds 103,000 jobs in March in smallest gain in six months

Jeffry The numbers: The U.S. gained just 103,000 new jobs in March to mark the smallest increase since last fall, but the latest report on employment still shows the tightest labor market in nearly two decades.
The unemployment rate, however, clung to a 17-year low of 4.1% and it’s expected to go even lower in the months ahead.
Although the number of new jobs created slowed sharply from February’s revised 326,000 increase, the U.S. added an average of 202,000 jobs a month in the first quarter.
The tight labor market is slowly pushing up worker pay.
For much of the nearly nine-year-old expansion, wage gains averaged around 2% a year or a bit less.
The Federal Reserve is watching the unemployment rate and rate of wage gains closely for signs of inflation in trying to determine how many times to raise interest rates this year.
What happened: The pace of hiring was expected to slow in March after a huge gain in February that matched the biggest increase in almost three years.
Constructions firms shed 15,000 jobs one month after posting the biggest gain in 11 years.
Manufacturers stayed on a roll, adding 22,000 workers.
Professional firms boosted employment by 33,000.

National Social Security Month Shines a Light on Our Online Services
Social Security Disability

National Social Security Month Shines a Light on Our Online Services

In April, we celebrate National Social Security Month, and highlight our agency’s mission and purpose.
We’re with you throughout life’s journey — from birth, to marriage, and into retirement — and we’re always searching for ways to give you easy and secure access to everything we offer.
We are constantly expanding our online services to give you freedom and control in how you wish to conduct business with us.
Our online services help you plan for the future and keep you in control of your benefits.
You can go online to: Find out if you qualify for benefits; Use our benefit planners to help you better understand your Social Security protection; Estimate your future retirement benefits to help you plan for your financial future; Open your personal my Social Security Your personal account is the most powerful tool to help you stay in control of your Social Security record.
If you don’t receive benefits yet, you can: Get your Social Security Statement to review your earnings, make sure they’re recorded correctly; Get a benefit verification letter to prove you don’t receive Social Security benefits or that you applied but haven’t received an answer yet; Check the status of your application or appeal a decision.
If you receive benefits, you can: Change your address and phone number; Get a benefit verification letter to prove you receive Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Medicare; Start deposits or change your direct deposit information at any time; Get a replacement Medicare card; and Get a replacement Benefit Statement (SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S) for tax purposes.
Do you own a business?
You can also use our Business Services Online suite to report employee wages and verify names and Social Security numbers for W-2s.
Join us and celebrate National Social Security Month by seeing everything you can do online!

Eurozone inflation rises after months of declines
Unemployment

Eurozone inflation rises after months of declines

Eurozone consumer prices picked up in March for the first time in four months, while the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in more than nine years during February, developments that will reinforce the European Central Bank’s belief that it is on track to meet its inflation target over coming years.
But despite an acceleration of economic growth in 2017, that goal has remained frustratingly out of reach.
Indeed, the turn of the year saw the inflation rate fall for three consecutive months, and to almost half the target.
While that decline had been expected by policy makers as a result of rises in energy prices that were below those seen a year earlier, the timing was awkward, with the central bank cutting back on one of its stimulus programs in January.
The European Union’s statistics agency Wednesday said consumer prices in that month were 1.4% higher than a year earlier, an increase from the 1.1% rate of inflation recorded in February.
Economists expect that to mark the start of a steady climb higher over coming months, and inflation may touch the ECB’s target later this year.
However, that is likely to prove temporary, with those ups and downs largely due to energy-price movements.
But the core rate of inflation was unchanged at 1.0% in March.
Falling unemployment is one key reason why the ECB expects inflation to pick up over coming years as businesses increase their prices to cover rising wage bills.
Write to Paul Hannon at paul.hannon@wsj.com

It’s National Social Security Month!
Social Security Disability

It’s National Social Security Month!

National Social Security Month is celebrated in April and is dedicated to educating you about Social Security programs and services.
From programs that help support you through life’s journey, to services that help put you in control, to systems that help protect what’s important to you, Social Security is committed to helping secure today and tomorrow for you and your family.
During National Social Security Month, we encourage people to take control of their future with my Social Security.
Create a my Social Security account to check your earnings history, confirm you have enough credits to retire, see an estimate of future benefits while still working, or manage your monthly benefits once you begin receiving them.
Our Retirement Estimator is another great tool that provides you with immediate and personalized benefit estimates based on your own earnings record.
This allows you to receive the most accurate estimate of your future retirement benefits.
Estimate your benefits now.
It’s fast and easy on our website.
During National Social Security Month, and throughout the year, Social Security puts you in control with secure access to your information anytime, anywhere.
From estimating or managing your benefits, requesting a replacement Social Security card, to retiring online, visit SocialSecurity.gov today, and see what you can do online.

U.S. retail sales fall for third month in a row
Unemployment

U.S. retail sales fall for third month in a row

Jeffry The numbers: Sales at U.S. retailers fell in February for the third month in a row — the first time that’s happened since 2012 — but the declines were small and unlikely a sign of trouble for the broader economy.
The monthly decline was 0.1%.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.4% increase in sales.
What happened: The decline in retail sales last month was largely concentrated in auto dealers, gas stations and traditional department stores, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
Gas station receipts dropped 1.2%, reflecting in part more stable prices after a runup in January.
Internet retailers reaped a 1% gain in sales.
Home centers, apparel stores and outlets that sell sporting goods also posted higher sale.
The decline in sales in January wasn’t as large as initially reported, either.
Big picture: Americans cut back on spending toward the end of the holidays to rebuild their finances, but it’s unlikely they’ll remain tightwads for long.
Spending is likely to pick up in the spring.

US hiring surge last month pulls in flood of new workers
Unemployment

US hiring surge last month pulls in flood of new workers

It was accompanied by the biggest surge in 15 years in the number of people either working or looking for work.
That kept the nation’s unemployment rate unchanged for a fifth straight month at 4.1 percent.
At the same time, average wage growth slowed to 2.6 percent in February from a year earlier.
Companies have added an average of 242,000 jobs a month over the past three months, above 2017’s pace of 182,000.
The picture drawn by Friday’s jobs report is a mixed one for the Fed, which seeks to raise short-term interest rates at just the right pace: enough to forestall inflation but not so fast as to slow economic growth.
The proportion of adults working or looking for work jumped to 63 percent from 62.7 percent, still far below its pre-recession levels in 2007.
Higher-paying, blue-collar industries reported some of the biggest increases.
Construction firms added 61,000 jobs, a figure that may have been inflated by relatively warm weather last month.
In the meantime, economists are calculating how the Trump administration’s decision Friday to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum might affect the job market.
Gene Peters, chief executive of Rosnet, a restaurant software company, has had to offer higher pay to attract new workers.

Whoa! 313,000 jobs added last month. Here’s where they came from
Unemployment

Whoa! 313,000 jobs added last month. Here’s where they came from

The jobs recovery is broadening out and benefiting all Americans.
But its most impressive takeaway is that people in traditionally blue collar and white collar industries got new jobs last month.
Of the 313,000 jobs that were added last month, 92,000 were in the construction and manufacturing sectors. “Blue-collar sectors drove these gains, led by mining and construction.
Manufacturing is now outpacing the economy overall, and even retail had a strong February,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist with job search site Indeed, in a note titled “Almost Nobody Left Behind in February’s Jobs Report.” “The roaring labor market brought more people back to work,” Indeed’s Kolko said in his report.
Wages also continued to grow — albeit at a more subdued pace of 2.6% over the past 12 months. “Job openings in the construction industry remain at historic highs.
But Nixon added that many consumers and businesses may have been spending more in the past few months and that employers have ramped up their hiring in anticipation of tax reform.
Ganguli noted the strong job gains across the board for many industries as evidence that the job market is getting back to normal.

Consumer credit grows in January at slowest pace in four months
Unemployment

Consumer credit grows in January at slowest pace in four months

That was down from a revised $19.2 billion rate in the prior month and is the smallest gain since September.
Economists had been expecting a $17.4 billion increase in January.
What happened: Revolving credit, like credit cards, slowed dramatically in January, rising only 0.8% after a 7.2% gain in December.
Nonrevolving credit, typically auto and student loans, rose 5.6% in January for the second straight month.
Some economists had been expecting consumer credit to slow.
They say credit surged last fall as homeowners had to replace cars and other property damaged during hurricane season.
The New York Fed reported last month that credit cards in serious delinquency had ticked up in the fourth quarter.
Consequently, they are not creating a lot of income.
“It doesn’t let consumers buy a lot of stuff, so [the economy] is not kicking into higher gear,” Brusca said.
Market reaction: Stocks SPX, -0.05% were under pressure as Wall Street wrestled with news that National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn had resigned from the White House.

Oxnard pair sentenced to 14 months for more than $90K in theft using food stamps
Welfare

Oxnard pair sentenced to 14 months for more than $90K in theft using food stamps

An Oxnard couple was sentenced Monday to 14 months in Ventura County jail for abusing government food assistance benefits, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.
Gerardo Vaca Navarro, 61, and Martha Leticia Navarro, 62, both of Oxnard, pleaded guilty in June 2016 to one count of grand theft and two counts of fraudulently transferring CalFresh and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
They also admitted to trafficking over $50,000 in those benefits.
Between January 2012 and October 2014, the pair illegally redeemed $93,868 in electronic benefit transfer benefits by exchanging them for cash at Chivas Market, located at 3728 Saviers Road.
EBT benefits, such as CalFresh and SNAP, are provided to eligible low-income individuals and families in need of food assistance.
It is against the law for these benefits to be exchanged for cash, cigarettes or alcohol, according to authorities.
The Navarros were arrested during an inter-agency crackdown on store owners who paid cash for government food assistance benefits.
In addition to the 14-month sentence, the two were ordered to serve 34 months of mandatory supervision and pay $75,977 in restitution on top of the $31,200 restitution they had already paid prior to the sentencing.
The couple must also pay 10 percent interest from the date they first started taking the funds, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Howard Wise.
The case was the result of an investigation by the district attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General.