While investors are focused on the prospects for inflation and economic growth, during his testimony to Congress Powell highlighted how far the U.S. labor market is from maximum employment. Jobless claims fell sharply last week despite brutal winter storms that swept across Texas and other parts of the South, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time filings for unemployment insurance totaled 730,000 for the week ended Feb. 20, well below the Dow Jones estimate of 845,000.
Rich countries’ governments borrowed $18 tril¬lion from bond markets in 2020—more than ever before—but their borrowing costs hit a record low, due to a big rise in bond purchases by central banks, as well as a lack of concern about public debt levels among private investors. In contrast to the years that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers in Sep¬tember 2008, there was no rise in bond yields in 2020, and governments faced a lower interest bill than they did before the financial crisis, the OECD said.
The FCC has announced the winners of a wireless airwave auction it conducted over the past few months which racked up a record $81B in bids. The mid-band spectrum, sometimes called the "Goldilocks band," is well-suited for 5G networks because it is able to transmit large amounts of data on a wavelength that can travel long distances. The 280-megahertz spectrum is also especially important to wireless giants who have been trying to fill out their spectrum portfolios. Verizon captured the lion’s share for $45B.