🎁'Tis the season to support public service journalism Donate Now

Corporate profits have been trending down. That's what the Federal Reserve wants to see.

Nov 28, 2023
It means interest rate hikes are having the intended effect. Tapering consumer demand and high labor costs are weighing on earnings.
Corporate profits are feeling the effects of high interest rates and labor costs as well as weaker consumer demand.
Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Best Buy says electronics demand could pick up again

Aug 31, 2023
Demand for consumer electronics has fallen since the early days of the pandemic. But Best Buy says electronics demand could stabilize in the near future, or even grow.
The CEO of Best Buy said that this year could be a low point for electronics demand. And that next year, demand could slowly start to pick up.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Why durable goods orders reflect consumer demand

Jun 26, 2023
This week, the Census Bureau will report how many manufactured durable goods businesses ordered in May. Many manufacturers haven't been making as many products, but certain types of equipment are still in high demand.
Orders of computers have been rising lately, as businesses try to boost productivity through investments in tech during a tight labor market.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

As demand shifts, some businesses are weighed down with too much inventory

Feb 8, 2023
Especially those closely tied to the housing market.
Slowing home purchases have left some businesses tied to the housing market — like appliance wholesalers — with a glut of product.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Are the latest GDP numbers good news? It depends on how you look at them.

Jan 26, 2023
The economy grew, but not as much as expected. Some parts of the economy are slowing, but not as much as expected.
An increase in business inventories helped boost economic activity last quarter. But whether that's positive or negative depends on whom you ask.
George Frey/Getty Images

It's 2023: Does anyone want to buy a car?

Jan 18, 2023
Electric vehicle sales are up, but is demand for cars overall taking a dip?
Used cars are displayed on a sales lot. The demand for vehicles this year will depend on wider economic conditions, analysts say.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

New trade data shows weakening demand

Jan 5, 2023
Imports fell more than exports.
"One of the things I think is a commonality across both imports and exports is a weakening of new orders,” said Eric Freedman at U.S. Bank. 
Gregor Fischer/Getty Images

For public good, not for profit.

Small retailers are caught between order backlogs and ramping demand

Oct 29, 2021
Three independent retailers on how they're dealing with shortages, price increases and high demand.
The interior of one Dean's Sweets location in Portland, Maine. "If we sell more chocolate with a lower profit margin, we're still going to be OK," said co-owner Kristin Thalheimer Bingham.
Courtesy of Kristin Thalheimer Bingham

Business inventories didn't decline as sharply in September. That's good news.

Oct 28, 2021
It means businesses know that consumers want to buy and are working to meet that demand.
A person walks in a partially stocked Ikea on Oct. 15. Consumer demand is high, meaning products often fly off retailers' shelves.
Michael M. Santiago via Getty Images

What the “beer game” can teach about supply chain challenges

Jun 29, 2021
From semiconductors to chicken wings, global supply chains are experiencing whiplash. A Harvard professor explains how to avoid that.
Kegs stacked outside distribution for a brewery in Reydon, England. A supply chain management exercise known as the “beer game” can help illustrate the forces creating shortages across the economy.
Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images