economic outlook

Americans' Financial Health Is a Tad Better

The American consumer's financial health is showing signs of improvement, but the weak job market continues to derail the nation's economic recovery -- particularly for people in the lower income brackets, according to September's Consumer Reports Index, released on Tuesday.

Will Your Finances Be Better in 2012? Most Think Not

When it comes to the the state of their family finances, Americans seem to be moving toward the "acceptance" stage. Some of us think our own household scenarios will get better in the coming year, some of us dread things getting worse, but mostly, we expect more of the same.

Poll: Nearly Half of Americans Fear Depression Is LIkely

Despite rosy financial forecasts made by economists this spring, our fears that the nation is about to sink into another depression are reaching depressing extremes. A new CNN poll reveals that nearly half of Americans believe a 1930s-scale depression is possible within the next 12 months.

More Employers More Are Likely to Hire in Second Quarter

The nation's employers are slowly becoming more positive about the economy, with a greater number of businesses planning to add jobs in the second quarter and fewer planning layoffs, according to a new survey released Tuesday by Manpower.

Where the Signs Point to a Strengthening U.S. Economy

If you glanced at just one or two headlines from last week's reports on the U.S. economy, you might have concluded that things haven't changed that much. In fact, digging deeper reveals that business conditions are improving. Even the puzzling payroll report has hopeful indicators.

U.S. Productivity Gains Are Good News for Everyone

It sometimes feels as if every piece of economic news comes with a qualifier. However, one statistic has had an unqualified, enduring positive run: the rise in worker productivity, which bodes well for investors, employees and -- eventually -- job-seekers.

Healthy Surprises in the Fourth-Quarter GDP Report

Consumers reopened their wallets and manufacturers slashed inventories, indicating they're getting ready to ramp up production of more goods this year. Also contributing to growth were rising exports and falling imports. But just how good will 2011 prove to be?

Sentiment Index Gets a Small Boost From Improving Economy

The latest consumer sentiment index reading continues to show an American public that expects better days ahead, and fourth quarter GDP growth indicates a strengthening economy. But countervailing pressures remain: Initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose, and gas prices are high.

How Long Is America's Road Back to Full Employment?

There's no way to sugarcoat it: The U.S. job deficit is huge, and it will take years before we return to anyone's idea of full employment. But investors shouldn't become pessimistic: Our flexible economy%u2019s has the capacity to adapt and renew itself faster than many experts expect.

If These Big Names Are Right, Brace for Rising Rates

When pros like Warren Buffett and Goldman Sachs start making moves predicated on the expectation of higher rates, investors best take note. And if those smart-money bets are based on a strengthening U.S. economy, the impact on markets could be widespread.

Eight Contrarian Signs About That 2011 Stock Rally

A continued rally in U.S. stocks next year is becoming an article of faith. But beneath the bullish sheen of several positive reports, many other key statistics and indicators are bearish or neutral. Investors might want to balance the widespread confidence by looking at these eight.

Forget the BRICs -- 2011 Could Be 'the Year of the USA'

Goldman's Jim O'Neill shot to fame by predicting the staggering rise of emerging-market economies like the BRIC nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China. But 2011, he says, "will be the beginning of a new phase in which the U.S. has strong GDP growth."

Obama's Tax Deal Will Save At Least One Job: His

The $858 billion compromise tax bill passed the House Thursday at midnight, and is on its way to President Obama's desk. With its passage, and the GDP growth it will propel, his reelection is more in the bag than ever. What effect it will have on jobs for the rest of America, though, is far less clear.

What Will Obama's Tax
Deal Do for Investors?

The biggest question many investors have about President Obama's compromise tax cut deal is how it will benefit the economy. But so far, there is little agreement on Wall Street about what the stimulative effects of the deal will be.mong the watchers on Wall Street about what the stimulative effects of the deal will be.

Consumer Sentiment Rises to Highest Level Since June

The consumer sentiment index rose to its highest level in five months in November, propelled by a slightly better economic outlook. However, despite the gain, sentiment remains at a low level, and not high enough to suggest a surge in consumer spending anytime soon.

What Will the Fed Do With So-So Results?

The recent stream of modestly positive economic reports means the Fed probably won't take any further action to stimulate the economy at its meeting on Tuesday. But nobody is calling the economy healthy yet, and the debate over what the Fed should do next has the FOMC deeply divided.

Top Economists See Consumers Rebounding Faster

Forget the gloomy predictions: According to Richard Berner of Morgan Stanley, U.S. consumers are a year ahead of schedule in repairing their household balance sheets, giving them the ability to start spending again soon. And the head of the IMF was explicit Monday: A double dip is unlikely.

The Case for Calling a U.S. Depression

Says presciently bearish David Rosenberg, the chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff: "We can understand that this is not exactly cocktail conversation, but this is a Japanese-style (even worse perhaps) modern-day depression."

Financial Advisers Get More Optimistic About Stocks, Jobs

Independent investment advisers remain fairly bullish in their outlooks for the economy, the job market and stock market performance over the next sixth months, even as their clients have become more pessimistic, a recent survey by discount brokerage Charles Schwab has found.

Why the Markets Won't Be Going Anywhere Fast

The months-long pattern of sleepy, range-bound trading is likely here to stay -- at least until the midterm elections, says Jason Weisberg, a trader and senior vice president with Seaport Securities Corp.

Weak Economic Growth Will Hit Corporate Profits

If you've been wondering how corporations can be enjoying a sharp rebound in profits even as the U.S. economic recovery remains so weak David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff has your answer: They won't be enjoying it for much longer.

China Admits Its Economy Faces Challenges

In comments posted on China's Central Government website, Premier Wen Jiabao warned that China's economy is facing mounting difficulties as a result of the international financial crisis and the unpredictable nature of the global economic recovery.