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Data: New York Fed; Chart: Axios Visuals

The New York Fed's index of real-time data indicators perked up again last week after moving lower the previous week. The Weekly Economic Index has been choppy since July showing that U.S. growth continues to recover but is sputtering.

Behind the curtain: The increase in the WEI for the week of Oct. 3 was due to a slight decline in initial jobless claims and improving data on rail traffic as measured by the Association of American Railroads, as well as increases in fuel sales and electricity output, the Fed economists behind the index said on Thursday.

  • Those readings outweighed a decrease in tax withholding.

The big picture: In its latest quarterly outlook, HSBC says the global economy is entering the second, slower, phase of a two-stage “swoosh-shaped” recovery.

  • Mobility data indicates that the slowdown began in the third quarter and the previous strength in consumer spending is also starting to slow, Global Chief Strategist Joseph Little said in the report.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 19, 2021 - Economy & Business

Unemployment data shows worrisome trends

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than a million people filed for traditional unemployment benefits last week for the first time since July, further highlighting the impact the resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic is having on the U.S. economy.

By the numbers: Including those who filed for benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, more than 1.4 million Americans filed claims last week, an increase of more than 231,000 filing traditional claims and more than 123,000 filing for PUA support from the previous week, according to the unadjusted data.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 19, 2021 - Economy & Business

Biden's inflation danger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
58 mins ago - Economy & Business

Meme stonks lose their appeal to the world of crypto

Data: Cardify; Chart: Axios Visuals

That sucking sound you hear is the outflow of meme-chasing dollars from the stock market.

Why it matters: The caravan has moved on. The dream of getting rich quick still lives, but today it's more often found in the world of crypto, NFTs or even sports betting than it is in the stock market.