US gross national debt has surpassed $31 trillion
America’s national debt has surpassed $31 trillion, according to a U.S. Treasury report released Tuesday that logs the country’s daily finances.
Edging closer to the statutory ceiling of roughly $31.4 trillion — an artificial cap Congress placed on the U.S. government’s ability to borrow — the debt numbers hit an already tenuous economy facing high inflation, rising interest rates and a strong U.S. dollar.
And while President Joe Biden has touted his administration's deficit reduction efforts this year and recently signed the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which attempts to tame 40-year high price increases caused by a variety of economic factors, economists say the latest debt numbers are a cause for concern.
Owen Zidar, a Princeton economist, said rising interest rates will exacerbate the nation's growing debt issues and make the debt itself more costly. The Federal Reserve has raised rates several times this year in an effort to combat inflation.
US job openings drop sharply, labor market starting to loosen
U.S. job openings fell by the most in nearly 2-1/2 years in August, suggesting that the labor market was starting to cool.
Despite the fifth month of decreases in job openings this year reported by the Labor Department in its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report, on Tuesday, vacancies remained above 10 million for the 14th straight month.
The Federal Reserve is trying to cool demand for labor and the overall economy to bring inflation down to its 2% target. The U.S. central bank has since March hiked its policy rate from near zero to the current range of 3.00% to 3.25%, and last month signaled more large increases were on the way this year.