Economy

Feds Collect Record Income and Payroll Taxes Through July

The federal government collected record amounts of both individual income taxes and payroll taxes through the first ten months of fiscal 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016 through the end of July), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement. Through July, the federal government collected approximately $1,312,691,000,000 in individual income taxes. At the same time, it collected $976,278,000,000 in Social Security and other payroll taxes. Prior to this year, fiscal 2015 held the record for individual income tax collections through July. That year, the Treasury collected $1,309,431,860,000 (in constant 2017 dollars) in individual income taxes in the first ten months of the fiscal year. Last year (fiscal 2016), individual income tax collections from October through July dropped to $1,293,490,000,000 (in constant 2017 dollars). This year’s record of $1,312,691,000,000 in October-to-July individual income taxes is $3,259,140,000 more than the 2015’s previous record of $1,309,431,860,000. Before this year’s record $976,278,000,000 in October-through-July payroll tax collections, fiscal 2016 held the record at $948,709,020,000 (in constant 2017 dollars)—or about $27,568,980,000 less than this year. Overall federal tax collections in the first ten months of fiscal 2017 were $2,739,861,000,000. Yet that did not the record for October-through-July total federal tax collections. In the first ten months of fiscal 2015, the Treasury collected $2,741,079,280,000 (in constant 2017 dollars) in total taxes. That was $361,218,280,000 more than this year.

Wow..  For more of this exhausting report, click on the text above.

In Trump Era, U.S. Corporations See Best Earnings in 13 Years

As President Trump’s administration enters the last half of its first year, U.S. corporations are experiencing their best earnings in 13 years, a report finds. Bloomberg reports that U.S. corporate profits in the second quarter “have beaten estimates at more than three-quarters of the Standard & Poor’s 500 member companies. In every sector, at least half of the companies have surpassed or met expectations, with many also getting a boost from a sinking U.S. dollar.” “Growth was particularly strong in key regions of North America and Europe, where we grew sales greater than twice GDP, as well as throughout Asia-Pacific,” Dow Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris said. Europe supported U.S. growth during the first three months of this year, but during the second three months, emerging markets came in strong for U.S. earnings. Mark Luschini of financial service company Janney Montgomery Scott told Bloomberg that multinational corporations are seeing growth and higher earnings in both the U.S. and overseas operations. Bloomberg reported: ” Of the 454 companies in the S&P 500 that have so far reported second-quarter results, 68 percent have beaten analysts’ average estimates for revenue, and 78 percent have topped per-share earnings expectations, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Earnings rose an average of 9.8 percent, while sales have climbed 5.5 percent.” Indeed, even as U.S. prospects rise, so has that of much of the world’s economy. “More of the global economy is participating in this recovery simultaneously, and that’s what shows up in the top-line results, particularly in technology,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group. The health care and banking sectors have also seen great growth. Analysts expect this growth to continue into the third quarter.

Agreed!!  And we look forward to it!    🙂

Study: Maryland County Would Lose 47,000 Jobs by 2022 if It Raises Minimum Wage to $15

A Maryland county could lose an estimated 47,000 jobs by 2022 if it chooses to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, according to a new study released Tuesday evening. The Washington Post reports that the study, which Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) commissioned, found that the majority of positions that would be eliminated were low-wage jobs. Leggett decided to move forward with the study after he vetoed a minimum wage increase in January. In explaining his decision to veto the minimum wage increase, he said the wage hike would devastate the economy in Montgomery County. PFM, the Philadelphia-based consulting group that carried out the study, found that a minimum wage hike to $15 would lead to a $396.5 million loss of income in Montgomery County by 2022. The loss of income would come from businesses deciding to lay off employees, cut hours and benefits for those that remain, and nix plans to hire new workers and open new locations. “We can’t minimize some of the impacts outlined here,” said Leggett, responding to the study’s results. “Even if it’s not 47,000 jobs lost, even if it’s half that, those are some startling numbers. You can’t discount ­it all.” County council member Marc Elrich, however, remains unconvinced of the study’s findings. Elrich proposed a bill that would raise the minimum wage in Montgomery County to $15 by 2022 a week before the study was due. He called the PFM study “nonsense,” saying it was impossible to predict how a wage increase would impact the future. Elrich also claimed that the study was biased because employers would be more likely to respond negatively. PFM’s study was conducted from April to June using electronic surveys, phone, and in-person interviews with business and nonprofit owners and community leaders. Several studies on minimum wage hikes conclude that they are bad for business — both for employers and employees. A Harvard Business School study from April found that minimum wage laws increase the chance that non-elite restaurants will go out of business. A June study from the University of Washington found that Seattle’s minimum wage hike is cutting employees’ salaries by $125 a month.

Raising the minimum wage arbitrarily is a foolish thing.  But, it’s trendy and popular in big cities and blue states where Dems are in control.   So, kudos to Mr. Leggett (D) in Montgomery County, Maryland for putting common sense ahead of a failed liberal Democrat agenda item.  Wages should be determined by the free marketplace; NOT some politician or silly, however popular, ballot initiative.

Record 153,513,000 Employed in July; 62.9% Labor Force Participation

President Trump was awake early on this “employment report” Friday, tweeting about jobs, regulation-busting, and consumer confidence, among other things. A few hours later, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said the economy added 209,000 jobs in July; the number of employed people jumped by 345,000 to 153,513,000 in July, setting a third straight monthly record; the number of Americans counted as not in the labor force, meaning they don’t have a job and are not looking for one, dropped for a third straight month to 94,657,000; and the nation’s unemployment rate also dropped a tenth of a point, to 4.3 percent. The labor force participation rate, held down in part by a wave of Baby Boomer retirements, was 62.9 percent in July, slightly better than it has been in recent months, but still close to its 38-year low of 62.4 percent in September 2015. (The record high was 67.3 percent in 2000.) In July, the nation’s civilian noninstitutionalized population, consisting of all people age 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 255,151,000. Of those, 160,494,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one. The 160,494,000 who participated in the labor force equaled 62.9 percent of the 255,151,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population.

More great news in this Trump economy!  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.  Excellent!   🙂

U.S. Companies Post Profit Growth Not Seen in Six Years

America’s largest companies are on pace to post two consecutive quarters of double-digit profit growth for the first time since 2011, helped by years of cost-cutting, a weaker dollar and stronger consumer spending. Earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to rise 11% in the second quarter, according to data from Thomson Reuters, following a 15% increase in the first quarter. Close to 60% of the firms in the index have reported second-quarter results so far. Corporate America’s strong earnings performance comes as several policy initiatives that were expected to help boost companies’ bottom line—corporate-tax cuts and increased government spending on infrastructure—have been sidetracked amid political infighting in Washington, D.C., which culminated with the recent failure of the health-law bill. Even as activity inside the Beltway bogged down, the markets have been on an almost nonstop rally since the election. The S&P 500 is up 16% since early November and 10% this year. “You could argue that the stock-market investor overestimated Trump but underestimated earnings,” said Christopher Probyn, chief economist for State Street Global Advisors. The second-quarter profit gains are spread across industries from Wall Street banks to Detroit’s car factories to Silicon Valley’s software labs. Earnings are expected to decline only in the utilities sector, according to data from Thomson Reuters. ​ Several factors are at work, analysts and economists say. A weaker dollar has made it easier to sell U.S.-made goods overseas and has kept borrowing costs low. U.S. wages have improved enough to help bolster consumer spending without raising employer labor costs so much to dent the bottom line. Companies also continue to reap the fruits of their recent zeal for cutting costs, Mr. Probyn said. “We underestimated some of the cost-cutting and restructuring that has gone on within the various industries; that has permitted earnings to keep doing well.” Sales, too, rose in the quarter, by an expected 5%, the second-biggest increase in more than five years, according to data from Thomson Reuters. The figures reflect actual results for about half the S&P 500 index, and analysts’ estimates for those that had yet to report results as of Friday. On Friday, the Commerce Department reported that gross domestic product rose at a 2.6% rate in the second quarter, up from 1.2% in the first quarter.

And the economy continues to roar on in this new Trump era..  To read the rest of this article from the Wall Street Journal, click on the text above.

Foxconn announces $10 billion investment in Wisconsin and up to 13,000 jobs

Foxconn Technology Group Wednesday pledged to invest $10 billion to build a display panel plant in Wisconsin that could employ up to 13,000 workers and draw up to $3 billion in subsidies from state taxpayers — a deal that could ripple through the economy and 2018 elections. “This is a great day for American workers and manufacturers and everyone who believes in the concept and the label ‘Made in the USA,’ ” said an ebullient President Donald Trump at the White House announcement.

Nice!!  To read the rest of this story, click on the text above.

TRUMP Records His 23rd New Stock Market High – Market Up 17% Since Election

The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded its 23rd all time high of 2017 yesterday closing at 21,532. There have been a total of 120 days where the markets have closed since President Trump’s inauguration on January 20th. The ‘DOW’ has closed at all time highs 23 of those days for nearly 20% or one-fifth of the days the market has been open. The market is up 9% since the inauguration. Since the election on November 8th the DOW has closed at record highs an amazing 40 times! Nearly one-fourth or 24% of the 168 days the markets have closed have been record highs since the November 8th election. The market is up 17% since the election! Americans are benefitting greatly in their 401k’s from the recent change in Administrations. In Obama’s entire first term, the US stock market (DOW) never reached a new closing high. In years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 the DOW never reached a new high once!

Trump making the Stock Market great again!   🙂