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Wednesday, Mar 20th

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National debt surpasses $22T for first time in U.S. history

National debt tops $5T for first time The gross national debt surpassed $22 trillion for the first time in U.S. history, according to data released by the Treasury Department on Tuesday.

The Treasury Department estimated the national debt reached $22.01 trillion, up $30 billion from the previous month.

National debt stood at $21.974 trillion as of Dec. 31, representing an increase one year after President Donald Trump signed a tax reform bill in which a lower corporate tax rate lowered Treasury revenues.

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Government shutdown costs the economy $11 billion, significantly dings Q1 GDP growth, CBO estimates

CBOThe 35-day government shutdown wiped out $11 billion in economic activity, most of which will be recouped, but the episode will noticeably reduce economic growth in the first quarter, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

The shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, reduced the nation’s gross domestic product by $3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 and $8 billion in the current quarter, CBO estimates. As a result, inflation-adjusted GDP growth will be an annualized 0.2 percentage points lower in the fourth quarter and 0.4 percentage points lower in the first quarter, CBO said.

Many economists now estimate the economy grew about 2.5 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter and will expand at about a 2 percent pace in the current quarter.

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Hustle, the Political Text Messaging Service, Fires One-Third of Its Staff

Hustle, Campaign text messaging service, fires one third of staff

Hustle Inc., a text messaging startup that worked with more than 1,300 Democratic campaigns in the 2018 midterms, has fired over 35 percent of its staff in the wake of the election.

Hustle has regularly been heralded as one of the biggest success stories in the nascent industry of politically minded tech startups. It raised more than $40 million in venture capital funding to date, from investors like Social Capital, Insight Venture Partners and Alphabet Inc.’s GV. The company’s stumble illustrates a fundamental weakness of businesses who count electoral campaigns as their primary client base. Hustle’s chief executive officer, Roddy Lindsay, first disclosed the job cuts in a blog post Thursday.

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Trump supporter eyes moving factory to Mexico over tariffs

EBW Electronics may move to MexicoA supporter of President Trump is considering moving his company's production headquarters to Mexico in an effort to avoid Trump's tariffs on Chinese imports, according to The New York Times.

Pat LeBlanc, the chairman of EBW Electronics, voted for Trump in 2016 but told the Times that the tariffs are "killing us."

“I just feel so betrayed. If we fail because the company is being harmed by the government, that just makes me sick," he added, saying that he expects that his profits in 2019 will be cut in half because of the tariffs.

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Key reading of the manufacturing sector falls to lowest level in more than 2 years

US manufacturing at lowest point in last three years

Activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded at a much slower pace than expected last month, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

The ISM manufacturing index fell to 54.1 in December, its lowest level since November 2016. Economists polled by Refinitiv expected the index to slip to 57.9 in December, down from 59.3 in November.

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Dow Jumps More Than 1,000 Points in One Day

Dow Jumps More Than 1000After weathering the worst Christmas Eve market drop in history, the Dow Jones Industrial Average came roaring back to life on Wednesday, jumping more than 1,000 points to hit the largest single-day gain since 2009.

The New York Times reports that the markets have been remarkably volatile in recent days, in part because of President Trump’s attacks on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The Washington Post notes that the rapid market recovery began soon after White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told reporters that Powell is “100 percent safe.”

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Dow Suffers Record-Breaking Christmas Eve Losses

NY Stock Exchange on Xmas Eve, 2018

The stock market was only open for half a day Monday, and that was more than enough time for the Dow Jones Industrial Average to drop 2.9 percent to 21,792.20, breaking 1918's record for the worst Christmas Eve performance.

Other U.S. indexes fell too. The Nasdaq lost 2.2 percent to 6,192.92. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.7 percent to 2,351.10.

U.S. stocks are on track for their worst year since 2008, which was during the Great Recession, and their worst December since 1931, which was during the Great Depression.

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