Consumer Spending Slows Down as Americans’ Savings Dry Up

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Growth in consumer spending fell to the lowest point since March as Americans’ savings fall from the all-time highs seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

Consumer spending, measured by the personal consumption expenditure (PCE), increased by $41.2 billion in the month of October, an increase of 0.2%, less than the 0.7% increase that was seen in September as Americans cut back, accordingto the BEA. The cooling in spending follows a huge decline in the amount of savings Americans collectively hold, falling from over $1 trillion in May to $768.6 billion in October, far from the all-time high of almost $6 trillion in April 2020, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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October Inflation Rate 3.2 Percent, Unchanged from Previous Month and Above Target Rate: Feds

The seasonally adjusted inflation rate for October 2023 remained unchanged from the previous month and sits at 3.2%, according to the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index Report released Tuesday. 

The rate increased by 3.2%, compared to October 2022. In September, inflation was at 3.7% compared to the same time the previous year.

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Economy Shows Huge Growth in Third Quarter as Fed Struggles to Rein in Inflation

The U.S. economy grew at a rate of 4.9% in the third quarter of 2023, according to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on Thursday morning.

In the second quarter of 2023, real GDP rose 2.1% after being revised down from an initial estimate of 2.4%. Economists expected that GDP would be around 4.7% for the third quarter of 2023, far higher than the 2% to 3% that is common for the U.S.

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Soaring Interest Rates Are Squeezing Out Small Businesses

Small businesses are feeling the effects of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes as tightening credit puts more businesses and workers in dangerous positions, according to The New York Times.

Interest payments for small businesses will rise to about 7 percent of revenues next year on average, as opposed to being just 5.8 percent of revenues in 2021, according to the NYT. The Fed has raised its federal funds rate to a range of 5.25 percent and 5.50 percent following a series of 11 hikes that started in March 2022, bringing the rate to its highest point in 22 years.

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Fed: American Households Increased Net Worth During Pandemic

A new report from the Federal Reserve claims that the average American household actually saw an increase in its net worth during the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic.

As reported by Axios, the Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finances, which is released every three years, came out on Wednesday. It was lasted conducted in 2019, thus meaning the next iteration would be held after the pandemic, covering the three-year time period from start to finish.

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Under Biden, Bankruptcies Are Rising for the First Time in over 13 Years

Bankruptcies are rising for the first time in years as more Americans feel the pressure of declining economic conditions without the reprieve of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 pandemic-era aid programs.

Americans filed more than 39,000 personal bankruptcy cases in August 2023, up 18% year-over-year, with bankruptcies beginning to spike after reaching record lows in 2021 and 2022, with the number of filings rising for all chapters for the first time year-over-year since 2010, according to data from the U.S. Courts. The number of bankruptcies is rising as Americans are increasingly burdened by high interest rates and falling real wages, while the COVID-19 pandemic stimulus and programs that were buoying Americans with debt begin to lose effect, according to experts who spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Inflation Surges Above Expectations Despite Fed’s Rate Hikes

Inflation rose significantly in August, marking the second month in a row that inflation has ticked up, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) release on Wednesday.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a broad measure of the prices of everyday goods, increased 3.7% on an annual basis in August, compared to 3.2% in July, according to the BLS. Core CPI, which excludes the volatile categories of energy and food, remained high, rising 4.3% year-over-year in August, compared to 4.7% in July.

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The Fed’s Favorite Inflation Measure Just Ticked Back Up

The Federal Reserve’s preferred method of tracking inflation went up in July, following a similar move by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index rose 0.2% for the month of July, culminating in a 3.3% rise for the year in the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, up from 3.0% year-over-year in June, according to BEA data. The CPI, which is another measure of inflation, rose 3.2% in July, up from 3.0% in June year-over-year.

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Economy Grew Less than Previously Thought in Second Quarter

Economic growth was revised downward for the second quarter of 2022, coming more in line with economists’ original expectations, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

Yearly real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was revised down from 2.4% to 2.1% growth in the second estimate for the second quarter of 2023, according to the BEA. The revision is more in line with original expectations from economists of around 2% growth for the second quarter, showing signs of a cooling economy.

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Average American Workers Now Demand $80K Salary to Start New Jobs

On Monday, the Federal Reserve published research suggesting that the preferred starting wage for the average American worker is at an all-time high.

According to Fox Business, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York determined that the average “reservation wage” – that is, the lowest salary at which a prospective employee will accept a job – reached $78,645 in the second quarter of 2023. This is an 8% increase from the second quarter of 2022, when the average reservation wage was approximately $72,873.

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Powell Signals More Rate Hikes Could Be On The Horizon

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell raised the possibility of more interest rate hikes in prepared remarks Friday as inflation remains above the Fed’s target rate.

Powell hinted that the Fed will raise interest rates in the future if factors like high inflation, a hot labor market and sustained economic growth persist, according to a speech given by Powell at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium. Interest rates have been raised 11 times since March 2022 in an effort to fight inflation, bringing the federal funds rate within a range of 5.25% and 5.50%, the highest rate since January 2001.

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Commentary: Another California Bank Fails After $100 Billion Run on Deposits and Rising Interest Rates Forces First Republic into FDIC Receivership

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation put the $229.1 billion California-based First Republic Bank into receivership today on May 1, while the FDIC also entered into a “purchase and assumption agreement” with JP Morgan-Chase Bank for the nation’s largest bank to assume First Republic’s assets as well as its $103.9 billion of deposits.

Another one bites the dust.

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Federal Reserve Predicts ‘Mild Recession’ This Year

Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve economists project that the recent bank collapses will create a “mild recession” later this year, posing potential problems for President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

The Fed’s projection “included a mild recession starting later this year, with a recovery over the subsequent two years,” according to minutes released Wednesday from the central bank’s March 21-22 meeting.

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Supreme Court to Decide Fate of Controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The Supreme Court announced Monday it would take up a case challenging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) funding mechanism on constitutional grounds.

On Oct. 19, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled that funding the CFPB through the Federal Reserve violates the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause, which gives Congress the “power of the purse” in appropriating government funds. The CFPB filed a petition for a writ of certiorari on Nov. 14, 2022, which the Supreme Court granted Monday morning.

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Fed’s Favorite Inflation Index Blew Past Expectations in January

The Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, surged past economists’ expectations in January, breaking a recent downward trend, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Friday.

The PCE price index jumped by 0.6% on a monthly basis, and climbed to 5.4% on a year-over-year basis, up from 5.3% in December, the BEA reported. Economists had predicted the year-over-year number would continue to fall to 5% in January, but prices instead shot up at the highest levels since June, The New York Times reported.

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U.S. Notches Record Trade Deficit in 2022

The U.S. trade deficit increased to its highest recorded level in 2022, thanks in part to a surging trade deficit with China.

The U.S. registered a roughly $948.1 billion goods and services deficit for the year, including a $382.9 billion goods deficit to China, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) revealed Tuesday. This 12.2% surge over 2021 marks an all-time U.S. trade deficit record, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Commentary: The Unknown Impact of Inflation on Rural Americans

When the Federal Reserve convenes at the end of January 2023 to set interest rates, it will be guided by one key bit of data: the U.S. inflation rate. The problem is, that stat ignores a sizable chunk of the country – rural America. Currently sitting at 6.5%, the rate of inflation is still high, even though it has fallen back slightly from the end of 2022.

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Consumers Are Paying Record Credit Card Rates Due to Inflation

Average interest rates for bank-issued credit cards this past November surpassed a record set in 1985, Axios reported Wednesday, citing data from the Federal Reserve.

The previous record rate was 18.9%, set in the first quarter of 1985, with November’s rate of 19.1% comfortably eclipsing it, according to Axios. Credit card interest rates climbed alongside the Federal Reserve’s federal funds rate, which the Fed hiked a historically aggressive pace in 2022 to blunt economic demand and reduce the impact of inflation, NPR reported.

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Federal Reserve Raises Rates by Half Percentage Point, Signaling Slowing of Rate Hikes

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced a reduced but still notable hike in U.S. interest rates, with the central bank moving to hike rates by half a percentage point as part of its ongoing efforts to tamp down inflation.

The hike, which comprises 50 basis points, is less than the three-quarter-point hikes the bank has enacted every month for the last several months, though it still represents a significant raise at a time when the economy remains fragile after years of turmoil and unertainty.

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Wisconsin Senator Johnson and Colleagues Urge White House to Reverse Major Climate Policies

Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson wrote jointly with several colleagues to President Joe Biden this week urging him to reverse major elements of his anti-fossil-fuel agenda. 

The letter from the senators takes issue with several actions the White House has taken to hinder investment in and use of oil, natural gas and coal in an effort the administration insists is important to lessening global warming. 

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Commentary: Don’t Be Fooled by October’s Decrease in the Rate of Inflation

October’s Consumer Price Index, the measure of the national rate of inflation, was at 7.7 percent in October, compared to a reading of 8.2 percent in September. The report propelled “U.S. stocks forward [at the open] and sent Treasury yields tumbling as Wall Street weighed the implication of softer prints on Federal Reserve policy.”

The decline in the rate of inflation was driven by declining annual prices of “necessities” such as smartphones (-22.9 percent), admission to sporting events (-17.7 percent), televisions (-16.5 percent), and women’s outerwear (-1.4 percent), all items that are discretionary purchases.

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As Inflation Rages On, More Americans Are Living Paycheck to Paycheck

As inflation continues to batter consumers, the number of Americans living paycheck to paycheck climbed to 60% in August, according to a Friday report from financial services company LendingClub.

The increase, up from 57% in September 2021, was driven primarily by a greater portion of six figure earners slipping into a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, according to the LendingClub report. While the proportion of those earning less than $50,000 and those between $50,000 and $100,000 living paycheck to paycheck stayed roughly the same, at 73.6% and 62.4% respectively, earners between $100,000 and $150,000 saw a more than 6.5% increase to 43.8% living paycheck-to-paycheck.

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Goldman Sachs Warns Investors High Rates Are Here to Stay

Even in the best case scenario where the Federal Reserve is able to combat inflation without causing a recession, it is unlikely to cut interest rates, Goldman Sachs analysts warned in a note, according to Business Insider.

The Federal Reserve has raised rates three times in the past four months, with Wednesday’s 0.75% increase bringing primary credit rates to 3.25%, one of the most aggressive increases since the 1980s. However, even in a so-called “soft landing” where a recession and layoffs are avoided, the Fed is unlikely to cut interest rates until “something goes wrong,” according to a Goldman Sachs note reported by Business Insider.

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Commentary: Powell Won’t Admit How America Got into Such Dire Economic Straits in the First Place

The Federal Reserve’s decision to raise target interest rates by 75 basis points for the third time this year following a Wednesday meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee all but ensures American families’ financial pain will continue and our current recession will likely drag on.

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Fed Hikes Interest Rates for Third Time in Four Months

The Federal Reserve has raised target interest rates by 75 basis points for the third time this year following a Wednesday meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.

The new target range for the federal funds rate is anywhere between 3% to 3.35% up from the current 2.37%, making it the most aggressive hike since the early 1980s. The Federal Reserve is expected to continue this trend into March of 2023 as an attempt to curb ongoing increases in inflation, CNBC reported.

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Commentary: Federal Reserve’s False Assumptions Push the Economy into Recession

Federal Reserve

Based on its assumptions, the Federal Reserve is doing everything right by raising interest rates rapidly after years of easy money. It will certainly succeed in its goal of “cooling down” the economy.

Unfortunately, the Fed’s basic assumptions are wrong, and it has already begun reducing Americans’ standard of living, as indicated by this week’s Commerce Department report showing the nation’s gross domestic product fell for the second quarter in a row, meeting the common definition of a recession.

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The Fed’s Preferred Inflation Metric Just Surged in Another Warning Sign for the Economy

The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index, continued to surge in June, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

The PCE index was up 6.8% for the year ending in June, an increase from the 6.3% that it was at in both April and May, the BEA announced. PCE is the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation because it is “just better at capturing the inflation people actually face in their lives,” and the central bank endeavors to keep it at 2%, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday.

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Federal Reserve Announces Rate Hike to Combat High Inflation

The U.S. Federal Reserve announced another 0.75% rate hike Wednesday in response to inflation, which has soared to its highest level in more than four decades.

The announcement comes after just last month the Federal Reserve announced a rate hike of the same size, which at the time was the largest rate increase since 1994. 

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Federal Reserve Chair Powell Says During Senate Hearing That a Recession Is Possible

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. could enter into a recession when questioned Wednesday during a Senate Banking Committee hearing.

Confronted about 40-year-high inflation and the Fed raising interest rates in response, Powell said he couldn’t know for sure but said a recession, defined as a significant decline in economic activity over time, is possible.

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Jerome Powell Confirmed for Second Term as Federal Reserve Chair

The Senate voted 80-19 on Thursday to confirm Jerome Powell to a second term as Federal Reserve chair, even as inflation has hit record highs under his watch.

The 19 “Nay” votes came from 13 Republicans and 5 Democrats and included a range of Senators from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

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Commentary: Joe Biden vs. We the People

The Biden Administration last June unveiled its “National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.” Despite its anodyne-sounding name, the “national strategy” was anything but anodyne. The pamphlet represented the logical culmination of the Left’s cynical use of the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot as a means of ginning up large-scale, nationwide anti-Republican/anti-Trump voter sentiment.

The result, evinced again by Attorney General Merrick Garland’s disgraceful October 2021 memo directing the FBI to intrude on local school board meetings and crack down on anti-critical race theory parental revolts, has been a roiling cold war waged by the ruling class against us “deplorables” and our political “wrong-think.”

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Fed Report: Inflation Passed on to Consumers, Will Continue for Months

Newly compiled data from the Federal Reserve shows that inflation is hurting businesses, costing consumers, and likely not going away anytime soon.

The Federal Reserve released its “Beige Book,” a report that compiles reports from “Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources” from the 12 Fed districts around the country.

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Consumer Prices Rise 8.5 Percent, the Highest in 40 Years

Newly released federal inflation data show that prices continue to rise at the fastest rate in four decades, continuing the trend of soaring inflation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Consumer Price Index, a key indicator of inflation, which showed prices rose an additional 1.2% in March, part of an 8.5 percent spike in the past 12 months.

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Feds: Retail Food Prices to Increase by an Additional Five Percent

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects U.S. food prices to increase by at least another 5% on average this year as the majority of Americans surveyed in a new poll cite cost of living increases as a top concern and lack of confidence in President Joe Biden’s ability to do anything about it.

Rising prices are due to inflation, the Federal Reserve increasing interest rates, and consequences of Russia invading Ukraine, the USDA states in its most recent monthly Food Price Outlook, which forecasts retail food inflation.

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Prices Are Still Rising Despite the Fed Saying Everything’s Under Control

The price of goods throughout the economy rose at its fastest level in decades despite assurances from Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Jerome Powell earlier this month that the central bank would get inflation under control.

The personal consumption expenditures price index (PCE) surged 6.4% in February on a year-over-year basis, the fastest pace since January 1982, the Commerce Department announced Thursday. The Dow Jones estimate projected core PCE, which strips out food and gas, would increase by 5.5%.

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Economists Expect Elevated Inflation as Projected U.S. GDP Plummets

Economists across the U.S. expect ongoing inflation as the growth projections for the U.S. economy have plummeted, according to a newly released survey.

The National Association for Business Economics released a survey of 234 economic experts Monday that highlights major concerns about the U.S. economy. The report found inflation ranks as a top worry for economists.

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Fed Hikes, Higher Mortgage Rates Mark Consequences of Ongoing Inflation

Mortgage rates surpassed 4% for the first time since 2019 and the Federal Reserve announced a series of new rate hikes this week, two major shifts that mark the economic response to months of elevated inflation.

The Federal Reserve announced a 0.25% interest rate hike and said six more increases are on the way. Last week’s increase is meant to rein in inflation, but can have negative effects on economic growth. Meanwhile, mortgage rates are expected to increase along with the Federal Reserve rate.

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Biden Federal Reserve Nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin Withdraws Nomination

Sarah Bloom Raskin

Sarah Bloom Raskin, President Joe Biden’s pick for a key Federal Reserve position, withdrew her nomination Tuesday after receiving bipartisan pushback.

Raskin’s nomination faced fierce opposition by Republican lawmakers and industry groups that argued her previous positions on a range of topics including climate policy disqualified her for the job. Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee led by Ranking Member Pat Toomey have boycotted a vote to pass her nomination and four other nominations to the Senate for a floor vote since February.

“Unfortunately, Senate Republicans are more focused on amplifying these false claims and protecting special interests than taking important steps toward addressing inflation and lowering costs for the American people,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday. “I am grateful for Sarah’s service to our country and for her willingness to serve again, and I look forward to her future contributions to our country.”

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Central Bank Expected to Raise Interest Rates Wednesday

Person counting cash

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates after its meeting Wednesday to combat the country’s soaring inflation, Axios reported.

The central bank is believed to raise its target fed funds rate by a quarter percentage point from zero after the end of the two-day meeting ending Wednesday, Axios reported. The Fed’s decision will outline the bank’s monetary policy for the near future and determine whether the U.S. economy enters a recession or continues surging price hikes, according to Axios.

Inflation has soared to nearly 8% year-over-year as of February while unemployment stayed below 4%, indicating that the Fed has been behind the curve in its effort to address sustained inflation, Axios reported. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is now reportedly tasked with fixing a delicate economy without crashing it despite a war in Ukraine and renewed COVID-19 lockdowns in China.

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Manchin Says No on Confirming Raskin for Fed Position, Likely Derailing Biden, Fellow Dems’ Effort

Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin said Monday that he will not support the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to become the Federal Reserve’s top banking regulator, placing a major obstacle in her path to Senate confirmation.

In February, Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee uniformly opposed Raskin’s nomination by refusing to attend a committee vote to advance her position. The no-show act also created a blockade to the nominations of several other Fed nominees, including Chairman Jerome Powell.

Raskin to be confirmed needs 51 yes votes – a simple majority – in a final Senate vote.

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Inflation Soars to Another Four-Decade High

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.8% in February, bringing the key inflation indicator’s year-over-year increase to 7.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

The core price index, which measures inflation of goods less food and energy, increased 0.5% in February, the BLS reported. Food prices reportedly grew 7.9% on a year-over-year basis as of February, the BLS reported, and energy prices soared 25.6%.

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Federal Reserve Chairman Powell Announcing Increase in Interest Rates This Month

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will announce Wednesday that the central bank will begin raising interest rates this month – in an attempt to curb rising inflation expected to further increase as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In prepared testimony to a congressional committee, Powell says the Fed will “need to be nimble” in responding to unexpected changes resulting from the invasion and the resulting sanctions, according to the Associated Press.

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Home Prices Up, Inventory Down Across Wisconsin

There is good news for people looking to sell a home in Wisconsin, but the news is not so great for people looking to buy.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association released its latest report on home sales on Monday.

The numbers show fewer homes for sale and fewer homes sold in January of this year, compared to January 2021.

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