Stories by Courtenay Brown

Federal Reserve keeps interest rates unchanged

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a news conference in October. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that it would keep the benchmark interest rate at its current range of 1.5%-1.75%, a widely expected decision that ends the Fed's rate-cutting streak.

Why it matters: The central bank is confident the economy doesn't need easier borrowing conditions to stay afloat and signaled no further cuts through the 2020 presidential election, though uncertainties like the U.S.-China trade war remain. Wednesday's decision comes despite President Trump's continued push to goad the Fed to further trim rates.

CEO optimism drops for 7th straight quarter

Jamie Dimon
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A closely-watched index of CEO hiring, sales and spending plans declined again, according to a survey of some of the biggest corporations in the U.S. by Business Roundtable, their trade group.

Why it matters: The survey has shown declining optimism for almost two years. As we get closer to the 2020 election, the record-high CEO optimism levels that peaked during Trump’s presidency have now vanished — largely thanks to trade war uncertainty.

U.S. economy surprises with 266,000 new jobs in November

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs in November, above the 187,000 economists expected, the government said on Friday, as the unemployment rate fell back to a 50-year low of 3.5%.

Why it matters: The number reflects, in part, striking GM workers returning to work. The report, which also included upward revisions for prior months' job gains, also shows employers haven't pulled back on hiring, despite fears of a trade-war driven economic slowdown.