Credit Sesame’s personal finance weekly news roundup for July 8, 2023. Stories, news, politics and events impacting the personal finance sector during the last week.
- Job growth slows
- Supreme Court disallows student loan forgiveness
- Mastercard launches subscription management service
- Oil prices continue to slump
- Key inflation indicator muted in May
- Stress test shows bank resiliency
- Manufacturing weakness continues
- Yield curve signals likely recession
- Mortgage rates hit 2023 high
1. Job growth slows
The US economy added 209,000 jobs in June. That marked a slower pace of employment growth than May’s 306,000. Along with weaker job growth, there were other signs of a weakening job market. Initial job growth estimates for April and May were revised downward by 110,000. Also, the number of people working part-time rather than full-time for economic reasons increased by 452,000. That marks a 12% increase in just one month of people who would prefer to work full-time but had to settle for part-time employment. See report at BLS.gov.
2. Supreme Court disallows student loan forgiveness
Following a Supreme Court ruling that canceled their student loan forgiveness plan, the Biden Administration seeks an alternative. The President is now proposing a plan that involves a grace period of 12 months once loan payments resume in October. It also would drastically modify current income-driven repayment programs. The new proposal would eliminate payments for anyone making less than 225% of the federal poverty level. It would limit payments to 5% of discretionary income. Finally, for loans of $12,000 or less, it would eliminate remaining loan balances after ten years. This proposal seems likely to lead to a new round of court challenges. See article at Yahoo.com.
3. Mastercard launches subscription management service
Amid criticisms that streaming and other subscription services have become overly expensive and hard to handle, Mastercard has teamed with Subaio to offer a new subscription management service. This service allows consumers to manage their subscription services through a single source rather than dealing with each provider separately. Subscription management has become a hot new area in fintech. Mastercard’s research found that the average consumer has 12 different media and entertainment subscriptions, with millennials juggling an average of 17 such subscriptions. See release at Mastercard.com.
4. Oil prices continue to slump
Brent oil prices, which act as a global benchmark for oil, declined for the fourth consecutive quarter in the second quarter of 2023. Prices have remained weak despite efforts by oil producers to limit supply. Falling energy prices have been a moderating influence on inflation over the past year. See article at Yahoo.com.
5. Key inflation indicator muted in May
The Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) price index rose by just 0.1% in May 2023. The PCE price index is the primary inflation indicator used by the Federal Reserve. The 0.1% increase represents slowing inflation after the PCE price index rose by 0.4% in April. May’s increase brings the inflation rate for the past year to 3.8%. However, core inflation remains more elevated at 4.6%. See details at BEA.gov.
6. Stress test shows bank resiliency
Key US banks passed a Federal Reserve stress test with flying colors. Twenty-three major banks, including industry leaders JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, participated in the test. The test measured whether the banks’ financials could continue to meet the Fed’s reserve requirements in the event of a severe global recession. The test measured how the banks would react when unemployment reached 10% and the stock market lost 45%. See details at Yahoo.com.
7. Manufacturing weakness continues
A widely-followed measure of US manufacturing activity fell for an eighth straight month in June. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing index fell to 46, down from 46.9 in May. Any reading below 50 indicates declining manufacturing activity. The index has been below 50 for the longest time since the 2008-2009 recession. The current reading is the lowest since May 2020. See article at Yahoo.com.
8. Yield curve signals likely recession
The spread between 2-year and 10-year Treasuries is now the most inverted in 42 years. An inverted yield curve is when short-term yields exceed long-term yields. The spread recently reached 109.5 basis points. High short-term yields are partly due to the Fed’s string of rate increases. While lower long-term yields could be taken as a sign that the Fed’s inflation-fighting efforts will succeed, they also suggest that a recession might be necessary to smother inflation thoroughly. See article at Reuters.com.
9. Mortgage rates hit 2023 high
30-year mortgage rates rose for a second week to reach 6.81%. That marks their highest in 2023, though it’s still short of last year’s peak of 7.08%. 15-year rates also reached their highest point in 2023, reaching 6.24%. See details at FreddieMac.com.