Afternoon Coffee: Consumer Confidence Called Strong But Weakening, Jobless Claims Fall After Rising All Autumn

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The U.S. consumer confidence index slipped lower for the second month in a row over concerns about slowing economic growth and the volatile stock market, The Wall Street Journal reports about the data released Thursday.

After a recent peak index reading of 137.9 in October (the highest since 2000), December’s reading hit 128.1, down from November’s 136.4.

“Even though confidence remains historically strong, the report suggested consumers were spooked by the recent rout in global equity markets, weak housing data and the continuing concerns about the Trump administration’s trade actions this year,” the WSJ reports.

Unemployment Near Record Low

In other economic data released Thursday, unemployment claims were down to near a 49-year low after climbing since September, CNBC reports. Labor Department figures show 216,000 people filed for unemployment benefits for the week ending Dec. 22, down 1,000 from the previous period. The record low, reached in 1969, is 202,000.

“After several years of near-steady falls, claims trended higher between mid-September and mid-December, prompting concern the U.S. economy was losing a step,” CNBC reports.

Medpricer Sees High Growth

Medpricer, a cost management solution company for hospital “purchased services,” announced that 2018 was a banner year for revenues, “driven by ARR (annual recurring revenue) subscription growth of more than 376%.” The company reported high subscriber growth with new accounts like Scripps Health, Geisinger and Texas Children’s Hospital.

According to the announcement, Medpricer helps “healthcare organizations understand their purchased services spend, develop sourcing plans and connect a healthcare organization’s supply chain to the most competitive suppliers, enabling them to improve the self-sourcing process, and simplify RFP and contract management on one platform.”

The announcement also noted that its cost management platform, mSource, has had 100% customer retention since its launch in 2016. According to the Medpricer website, mSource is “the industry’s only end-to-end purchased services lifecycle management platform.” In April 2018, Medpricer augmented the mSource platform with an analytics module that can “characterize, visualize and benchmark spend across more than 600 purchased services categories.”

The Year’s Top Supply Chain Stories

Supply Chain Dive compiles its top 10 stories of 2018, which includes a lot of transformation and impact on supply chains.

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