Econ Flashpoint: Durable Goods Letdown in July

Econ Flashpoint: Durable Goods Letdown in July

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Bad sign for the economy—durable goods dropped by 7.3 percent month-over-month in July, according to a Commerce Department report released Monday. Much of that drop came from a stunning 52.3 percent drop in civilian aircraft components.

But non-defense capital goods (excluding aircraft) also fell—3.3 percent—breaking four consecutive months of gains, a sign that momentum from the manufacturing sector has started to fade at a pivotal economic moment as the Federal Reserve considers policy tweaks and Congress embarks on (another) budgetary battle. -  Read more at Reuters

RETAILERS PANIC AS HOLIDAY SEASON APPROACHES    Retailers are lowering their sales forecasts as the end-of-the-year shopping season approaches. While consumers are making big-ticket purchases on cars and houses that are helped by low interest rates, they are holding back on smaller purchases like clothes and shoes. Noticing this spending shift, Macy's, which gets 80 percent of its sales from clothing, lowered its forecast for the rest of the year. -  Read more at Reuters

PENTAGON PREPARES TO CUT THOUSANDS OF JOBS If the second wave of sequester cuts takes effect, the Defense Department will likely lay off more than 6,000 civilian employees beginning in October, Bloomberg News reports.

In a draft department planning document, the Pentagon said that the Army would lose more than 2,100 workers from a 263,900-person civilian workforce, and the Navy would cut as many as 2,672 of 214,000 people. Department-wide agencies would dismiss 1,500 people from its 137,000-person force, with the majority coming from the Defense Contract Management Agency. The Pentagon also plans significant cuts to procurement and research spending. -  Read more at Bloomberg

OBAMACARE ARCHITECTS CASH IN ON K STREET   At least 30 former congressional staffers and administration officials who worked on Obamacare are now getting paid big bucks to lobby for major healthcare companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and UnitedHealth Group. According to The Hill, those coming from the Department of Health and Human Services are raking in the highest salaries.  Read more at The Hill

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.