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Data: New York Fed; Chart: Axios Visuals

The New York Fed's index of real-time data reversed again in the last week, with data continuing to show a slow but recovering economy that is having trouble returning to its pre-pandemic strength.

What happened: The index was unexpectedly weaker given solid data on U.S. retail sales and the massive outperformance of the Conference Board's consumer confidence index.

  • The index had ticked up to -3.84% last week, and the latest decline for the week of Sept. 26 comes "in spite of increases in retail sales, steel production, and consumer confidence," the index's authors say.
  • The index was at -4.5% after its previous update on Thursday.

What it is: "The Weekly Economic Index is an index of 10 daily and weekly indicators of real economic activity, scaled to align with the four-quarter GDP growth rate," per the New York Fed.

The big picture: Other real-time data backs the stall out in the New York Fed's data.

  • TD Securities analysts note that the daily Homebase employment series now shows a small decline in not-seasonally-adjusted private payrolls in September and points to a decline in jobs for October.
  • The OpenTable restaurant series "has been volatile, but it appears to be trending up slowly," they note.
  • The analysts expect a positive jobs number in the September jobs report, but only 400,000 jobs added, which would be less than half the consensus expectation of 850,000, according to FactSet.

A similar measure of real-time data from Jefferies rose in the last week, but remains below its September peak, as the month-over-month growth rate "has averaged at just 1.5% over the past month, the slowest pace since the beginning of the recovery."

  • Though analysts caution the September slowdown is likely based on seasonal factors, "i.e., not yet a concern."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Dec 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Republicans take aim at the Fed

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans began their latest attack on the Fed over the weekend, seeking to rein in the central bank's ability to recreate the slate of lending programs it rolled out in March, when it announced an open-ended commitment to move into corporate bonds and keep credit flowing.

What happened: Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and a group of Republican senators had proposed curbing the central bank’s lending powers to prevent new programs from being created that provide direct lending to large and medium-sized companies and the purchase of bonds from corporations and municipalities with just approval from the Treasury.

Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate action on stimulus bill continues as Dems reach deal on jobless aid

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic leaders struck an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on emergency unemployment insurance late Friday, clearing the way for Senate action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to resume after an hours-long delay.

The state of play: The Senate will now work through votes on a series of amendments that are expected to last overnight into early Saturday morning.

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.