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Data: New York Fed; Chart: Axios Visuals

The New York Fed's new index designed to more quickly capture the state of the economy declined in the week of June 6 for the first time in more than a month.

The state of play: The retreat was driven by a falling retail sales report that more than offset a small increase in consumer sentiment, it said.

What happened: The Census Bureau's quarterly financial report released Monday for Q1 found seasonally adjusted after-tax profits for U.S. retail companies with assets of $50 million or more fell more than expected, dropping by $5.6 billion quarter over quarter and by $3.9 billion year over year.

  • Without seasonal adjustment, the decline was $8.7 billion quarter over quarter and $3.9 billion year over year.

Of note: Seasonal adjustment has become a contentious issue since the coronavirus pandemic hit. The practice has been altering reported findings by millions or even billions and in some cases turning net gains into net losses and vice versa.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 17, 2020 - Economy & Business

Retail sales return to trend after coronavirus plunge

Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

One of the few economic readings sporting a V-shaped recovery is U.S. retail sales, which showed the highest monthly gains in history in May (18.3%) and June (8.4%), and grew in August by 0.6%.

On one hand: While the reading showed a significant slowdown, total retail sales in August were higher than they were before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., even when excluding food services.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 17, 2020 - Economy & Business

An uncertain Fed for an uncertain time

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Stringer/Getty Images

The Fed policy meeting Wednesday that was designed to further clarify its new stance on "average inflation targeting" — a topic addressed by multiple policymakers on its rate-setting committee in the month since it was announced — left the market with more questions than answers.

What's happening: The Fed announced that not only was it keeping U.S. interest rates at essentially zero for now but it plans to keep them there until at least 2023, extending its forecast an additional year.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
32 mins ago - Economy & Business

The winners and losers of the pandemic holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has upended Thanksgiving and the shopping season that the holiday kicks off, creating a new crop of economic winners and losers.

The big picture: Just as it has exacerbated inequality in every other facet of American life, the coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequities in the business world, with the biggest and most powerful companies rapidly outpacing the smaller players.