Outlook 4213

Economic Outlook - November 18th

Nov 18, 2016  | Ep4213

The return of the American consumer is boosting bottom lines heading into the holiday shopping season.

-- Retail sales were up 0.8 percent in October according to the Commerce Department. Combined with the last report, the two-month increase was the largest since the spring of 2014.

Consumers paying more for energy helped drive the Consumer Price Index higher. The Labor Department’s rate increased 0.4 percent last month mostly on gasoline prices.

 Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told a congressional committee this week an improving economy has strengthened the case for raising interest rates. The dollar rallied to a 13 ½ year high on the news.

However, if you look at the Rural Mainstreet Index, the picture isn’t as promising. The Creighton University snapshot reveals a rise this month, but not enough to break the 15th straight report below growth neutral – mostly as lower farm commodity prices hold back the region. --

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