Aug 6, 2019

The U.S. services sector starts to sink

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Data: Institute for Supply Management; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. services sector slowed for a second straight month in July, showing the continued decline in American economic activity.

Why it matters: It was the lowest reading for the sector, which makes up around 70% of the U.S. economy, since August 2016.

What they're saying: The Institute for Supply Management said respondents to its survey "indicated ongoing concerns related to tariffs and employment resources. Comments remained mixed about business conditions and the overall economy.”

The big picture: The manufacturing sector has been in decline all year and is officially in recession. The services sector is far more important to the overall health of the economy and had managed to remain strong despite the trade war.

  • However, Monday's data shows that it, too, may be heading toward contraction.

Yes, but: While the level of growth has been slowing, the services sector is still expanding and has been for 114 straight months.

Go deeper

Survey: U.S. manufacturing sector contracted for first time since 2016

Two closely-watched surveys on Tuesday showed a bigger-than-expected slowdown in the U.S. manufacturing sector in August — including one by the Institute for Supply Management that indicated the industry contracted for the first time since 2016.

Why it matters: The trade war, cited as a top concern among manufacturing firms, is viewed as a big factor driving the global economic slowdown. This is particularly true in the manufacturing sector, which has retreated significantly from its initial "Trump bump" after the election.

Go deeperArrowSep 3, 2019

Tech companies slow stock buybacks as the China trade war bites

Data: Catalyst Funds; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Public companies are slowing their stock buybacks in 2019 from 2018's record pace, and the slowdown in the tech sector shows the trade war is beginning to hit the economy in unexpected ways.

Why it matters: "Given the state of the economy, what this really means is that companies are probably likely more concerned now than they were last year that conditions could get far worse and therefore aren’t too excited to start large buyback programs," Catalyst Funds COO Michael Schoonover tells Axios in an email.

Go deeperArrowAug 16, 2019

Tariffs start to dent consumer sentiment

Data: University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers; Chart: Axios Visuals

Consumer sentiment fell to its lowest level since October 2016 and dropped by the most since December 2012, according to a survey by the University of Michigan.

Why it matters: The decline in sentiment was attributed largely to negative references to tariffs and the U.S.-China trade war, said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist. Tariffs were mentioned "spontaneously" as a negative force by 1 in 3 respondents.

Go deeperArrowSep 3, 2019