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2017 Charts of the Week

Five Investment Resolutions for 2018

Posted December 29, 2017

It's a popular time of the year to start thinking about New Year's resolutions. Here at ICMA-RC, we offer you five investment ideas to consider for 2018 resolutions:

NFIB Small Business Survey

Posted December 22, 2017

NFIB publishes a monthly seasonally adjusted index (NFIB Small Business Survey) that is derived from a large sample of its small business members. Among the 10 topics included in the survey are: plans to increase employment, plans to make capital expenditures, expect economy to improve, current job openings, and is now a good time to expand. Economists see the survey as a good representation of the health of small businesses, which represent about 50 percent of the nation's workforce.

Job Details

Posted December 15, 2017

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conducts a monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) that collects data on Job Openings, Hires, Quits, Layoffs and Discharges. The data is collected from approximately 16,400 establishments and covers nonfarm establishments in the private sector as well as federal, state, and local governments across the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

U. S. ISM Manufacturing Index

Posted December 8, 2017

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) produces the monthly ISM Manufacturing Index (Index), which is based on surveys of more than 300 manufacturing firms. It tracks employment, production inventories, new orders and supplier deliveries and an Index reading above 50 indicates the manufacturing sector is expanding. Economists closely monitor the Index as a leading indicator of GDP growth.

The True Cost of the "Twelve Days of Christmas"

Posted December 1, 2017

Since 1984, PNC Wealth Management ("PNC") has tracked the cost of the goods and services given as gifts in the classic "Twelve Days of Christmas" holiday song. For 2017, many prices were unchanged. The Five Gold Rings had the largest percentage price increase (+10.0% ) due to increased demand and popularity of gold, followed by a Pear Tree (+5.2%) and 10 Lords-A-Leaping (+2.0%).

U.S. Retail Internet Sales

Posted November 24, 2017

On a quarterly basis the U.S. Census Bureau publishes data concerning Internet Sales, which is defined as sales of goods and services over the internet or other online system. The chart above shows the sales figures for fourth quarter of 2016 through the third quarter of 2017.

U.S. Producer Price Index

Posted November 17, 2017

U.S. Treasury yields over the past year have risen across the board as shown in the yield curve chart above. Yield curves plots yields of similar-quality bonds against their maturities, ranging from shortest to longest. By showing the relationship between the yields and the time to maturity, investors are able to compare the yields offered by short-term, medium-term, and long-term bonds. The yield curve may also suggest insights into investors' expectations for inflation and economic growth across different time periods.

U.S. Treasury Yield Curve

Posted November 10, 2017

U.S. Treasury yields over the past year have risen across the board as shown in the yield curve chart above. Yield curves plots yields of similar-quality bonds against their maturities, ranging from shortest to longest. By showing the relationship between the yields and the time to maturity, investors are able to compare the yields offered by short-term, medium-term, and long-term bonds. The yield curve may also suggest insights into investors' expectations for inflation and economic growth across different time periods.

U.S. Real GDP

Posted November 3, 2017

U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth has been positive but volatile over the past eight quarters as shown above. Ranging from a low of 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2015 to a high of 3.1% in the second quarter of 2017. The third quarter of 2017 showed 3.0% growth, which some economists considered strong given the expected disruptions that the recent hurricanes caused. Year-over-year U.S. GDP growth increased 2.3% helped by increased durable good spending and investment in equipment. In recent quarters a falling U.S. dollar has helped trade with increased exports and decreased imports. Some economists are predicting continued GDP growth as the U.S. economy continues to perform well with consumers benefitting from a strong job market and employers benefitting from stronger profits and low borrowing costs.

Fixed Income Sector Performance (Total Return as of 9/30/17)

Posted October 27, 2017

The fixed income market includes many different types of securities and performance can vary substantially among them. The chart above compares the performance of 11 major fixed income sectors for the 1-year periods ended September 30, 2017 ("current year" - dark blue bars above) and September 30, 2016 ("prior year" - light blue bars above). Eight of the 11 fixed income sectors shown produced positive returns for the current year while all 11 sectors produced positive returns in the prior year.

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