James Politi

The Federal Reserve has just released data on industrial production in September, and it wasn’t pretty. For the first time since the end of the recession in June 2009, factory output fell by 0.2 per cent – a disappointment compared to expectations of a small increase.

This is without doubt another round of ammunition in the belt of those officials on the Federal Open Market Committee who believe, without too many reservations, that an aggressive quantitative easing programme should get underway promptly. Read more

James Politi

Survey data always needs to be taken with a grain of salt. What people say they will do – or how they feel – does not always correspond to their actions.

But there is little doubt that many Americans, including both average consumers and business leaders- are notably less confident about the economic outlook than they were earlier in the year.

The Conference Board today released its monthly report on consumer confidence, showing a plunge in September from 53.2 to 48.5, its lowest level since February. Meanwhile, the Business Roundtable also published its quarterly CEO outlook, and many American business executives expressed caution about hiring and investing.

Data from the regional Federal Reserve Banks have added to the downbeat mood in recent days, particularly when it comes to one of the drivers of economic growth during this recovery: manufacturing. The Richmond Fed today said manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region pulled back for the first time in seven months, Read more

Simone Baribeau

Is the growth in global manufacturing running out of steam?

Probably not. But in many countries, it did slow down in May. Read more

Ralph Atkins

The economic news from Spain has turned more worrisome. Eurozone purchasing managers’ indices for manufacturing showed the region’s recovery humming along nicely (December’s final index reading at 51.6, up from 51.2 in November, was in line with the preliminary estimate released last month).

But Spain is heading in the opposite direction. Activity in its manufacturing sector continued to fall, and the pace of contraction in the fourth quarter Read more

More than half of all children in the US will use food stamps at some point, predicts new research. Equities fall sharply in the UK and Europe, in spite of strong manufacturing data, amid fresh concerns about mortgage-backed securities and the possibility of a second round of stimulus in the US Read more