Last updateThu, 29 Jul 2021 9pm

Infrastructure Bill Advances in U.S. Senate

A bipartisan infrastructure bill passed its first major legislative hurdle in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 67-32. Seventeen Republicans joined all 50 Democratic Senators in advancing the legislation. If enacted, the bill would add $550 billion in spending to infrastructure projects across the U.S. in a variety of categories. The largest share of money, $110 billion, is allocated to highways, bridges and major transportation projects. 

U.S. Economy Grew 6.5% in Second Quarter

Gross domestic product (GDP) in the U.S. increased at an annual rate of 6.5% in the second quarter of 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. In the first quarter, GDP increased 6.3%. The increase in the second quarter reflected increases in personal consumption expenditures, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by decreases in private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased. 

Fed: U.S. Economy Strengthens, Supplies Still an Issue

The U.S. economy strengthened further from late May to early July, the Federal Reserve reported, displaying moderate to robust growth. Sectors reporting above-average growth included transportation, travel and tourism, manufacturing, and nonfinancial services. Energy markets improved slightly, and agriculture had mixed results. Supply-side disruptions became more widespread, including shortages of materials and labor, delivery delays, and low inventories of many consumer goods. 

U.S. Job Market Optimism at 21-Year High

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was relatively unchanged in July, following gains in each of the prior five months. “Consumer confidence was flat in July but remains at its highest level since February 2020 (132.6),” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions held steady, suggesting economic growth in Q3 is off to a strong start.” 

Manufacturing Employees Working from Home Up 11% in 2020

The number of employed persons working at home on days they worked nearly doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, rising to 42%, according to the latest American Time Use Survey from the U.S. Department of Labor. Among those working in manufacturing, the number jumped 11% from 18.9% in 2019 to 29.9% in 2020. Average travel time, such as commuting to work or driving to a store, decreased for all demographic groups. 

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