In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest on the Senate confirmation of Janet Yellen as the next chair of the Federal Reserve. Her nomination passed 14-8 through the Senate Banking Committee this week, and Harper expects her floor vote in the Senate will go well. But, he believes Yellen will face big challenges as the economy continues a slow recovery.
Additionally, Harper checks in on the latest Consumer Price Index, which was up one-tenth of one percent in October. He says the Federal Reserve is shooting for an annual inflation rate of about two percent. Checking jobless claims, the number of individuals filing for unemployment benefits dropped again last week by 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000. It’s a sign the labor market continues to improve as businesses see little need to cut jobs. And, Black Friday is getting an early start this year. Harper says retail sales this year are expected to be somewhat tepid, but will not be in recessionary territory.
Dr. Rick Harper is Director of the University of West Florida Office of Economic Development and Engagement. He’s currently serving as Senior Economic Policy Advisor to the Florida Senate.