Federal judge rules in favor of request to halt California’s Prop 65 labeling of glyphosate

Citing harm to the nation’s agriculture economy, Judge William Shubb of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting California from implementing its “false and misleading” Prop 65 labeling requirement for the herbicide glyphosate. The preliminary injunction will halt California’s labeling requirement until a final ruling on the matter is issued by the court. “Farmers work tirelessly to put food on America’s tables, and Glyphosate is a vital tool that growers have trusted to provide safe, affordable food,” said Chandler Goule, chief executive officer for the National Wheat Growers Association, the lead plaintiff in the case. “Every regulatory body in the world that has reviewed glyphosate has found it safe for use and no available product matches glyphosate with a comparable health and environmental safety profile. We are pleased Judge Stubb granted our request, which is the first step in our efforts to prevent California from forcing farmers, growers and manufacturers to place

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U.S. consumer confidence rises to highest level since November 2000

American consumers are the most confident they’ve been since 2000. The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index rose to 130.8 in February, highest since November 2000 and up from 124.3 in January. The business research group’s index measures consumers’ assessment of current conditions and their outlook for the next six months. They feel better about today’s economy than they have since March 2001. Their outlook also improved. Tax cuts passed into law last year are starting to show up in workers’ paychecks. “As people slowly absorb the details of the tax reform package, opinion polls suggest that it is becoming significantly more popular,” Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities, wrote in a research note. A strong job market is boosting confidence. The unemployment rate has stayed at a 17-year low 4.1%. “Overall, consumers remain quite confident that the economy will continue expanding at a strong pace in the months ahead,” says Lynn Franco, the Conference Board’s director

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Fed Chair Powell indicates he’ll keep bolstering growth in public debut

Jerome H. Powell, the new chairman of the federal reserve, said in his debut on Tuesday that his expectations for domestic economic growth have increased since the beginning of the year due to both the Trump tax cuts and stronger global growth. In testimony before Congress, Powell said that the Fed planned to continue increasing it’s benchmark rate only gradually. Powell told the House Financial Services Committee headwinds once holding back the American economy had turned into tailwinds. “My personal outlook for the economy has changed since December,” Powell said. READ MORE HERE

Buffett says tax cuts provide huge boost to US businesses

Investor Warren Buffett said in an interview on Monday that businesses will benefit from the Trump tax reforms. The billionaire told CNBC that the tax plan, which President Trump signed into law in December, gives U.S. businesses a “huge tailwind.” The law slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. “It certainly means corporations will pay quite a bit less in tax than they otherwise would,” Buffett said. “When we make money in 2018 domestically, and subject to a lot of little things here and there, basically we’ll be paying at 21 percent instead of 35 percent. That’s a lot of money.” READ MORE HERE

Fed Says U.S. labor market near or beyond full employment

The U.S. labor market is near or beyond full employment according to a Federal Reserve report. “The labor market in early 2018 appears to be near or a little beyond full employment,” the Fed said in the February 2018 Monetary Policy Report published in Washington on Friday. “The unemployment rate is now somewhat below most estimates of its natural rate.” The report noted that the labor force participation rate, a measure of what percent of the working age population either has a job or is looking for one, has been mostly unchanged over the past four years, “representing an important cyclical improvement relative to its declining trend.” “The current level” of the participation rate “is relatively close to many estimates of its trend,” the report said. While the participation rate for prime-age men remains below its pre-recession levels, that “seems to reflect the continuation of a decades-long secular decline rather than a cyclical shortfall.” The Fed said that despite reports

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White House says US could reach 3 percent growth rate

The White House’s top economist said Wednesday the U.S. could achieve annual growth rates of 3 percent through the next decade if President Donald Trump’s policies on regulations and infrastructure are enacted. The Council of Economic Advisers released its annual economic report, which praises the effects of the tax cuts and tax overhaul signed into law by Trump last December. The report forecasts an overall average annual growth rate of 2.2 percent through 2028. But with the “full implementation of the Administration’s agenda,” including the implementation of the tax law, additional cuts to regulation and a sweeping infrastructure plan, the projected growth rate reaches 3 percent through the next decade, said the report. The economic projections are more subdued than the bold predictions made by the president in recent months. Trump suggested in December he saw “no reason why we don’t go to 4 percent, 5 percent, and even 6 percent.” READ MORE HERE

St. Louis County earns work readiness certification

St. Louis County officials announced Wednesday the county has obtained certification as a “work ready” community by pushing thousands of area workers to earn a certification demonstrating proficiency in math, reading and graphic literacy. St. Louis County spent more than two years pushing more of its labor force to earn the certification. Employers such as Boeing, Ameren and Sprint recognize the designation, St. Louis County says. ACT reports that 323 St. Louis County employers recognize the certificate. The designation is administered by ACT Inc., the company known for administering college entrance exams. ACT designates a county as a Certified Work Ready Community when enough of its workers take a test to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate and enough employers agree to recognize the certificate. “With this tool, businesses know that the skilled workers they need for a productive workforce are readily available in St. Louis County,” County Executive Steve Stenger said in a statement announcing the designation. “Also, individuals

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