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John Ydstie

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Janet Yellen chaired her final Federal Reserve policymaking meeting Wednesday. She and her Fed colleagues held interest rates steady and officially elected Jerome Powell to succeed her as chair. As Yellen steps down, she is getting high marks for her four years at the helm of the nation's central bank.

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This is the third and final report in John Ydstie's series on Germany's manufacturing strength.

This is the second of three reports from NPR's John Ydstie on Germany's manufacturing strength.

Manufacturing accounts for nearly a quarter of Germany's economy. In the U.S., it's about half that. A key element of that success is Germany's apprenticeship training program.

This is the first of three reports from NPR's John Ydstie on Germany's manufacturing strength.

The United States needs to create more manufacturing jobs: That has been a constant refrain of President Trump and was one of the goals of the corporate tax cut recently passed by Congress and signed into law. The loss of manufacturing jobs has been a problem for many countries, especially the U.S. It played a big role in Trump's election.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

For the third time this year and the fifth time since the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has increased interest rates another quarter of a point.

The Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates at its December meeting, Jerome Powell, President Trump's pick to be Fed chairman, signaled Tuesday.

"I think the case for raising interest rates at our next meeting is coming together," Powell told the Senate Banking Committee at his confirmation hearing.

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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen today announced that she will resign from the Federal Reserve Board once her successor, Jerome Powell, is sworn in.

Yellen is the first woman to serve as Fed chair. While her term as Fed chair ends in February, Yellen could have stayed on the board until 2024, serving out her 14-year term as a Fed governor. Instead she'll follow the practice of previous Fed leaders and leave the board once Powell becomes chairman.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, the first woman to hold that position, won't have the opportunity to serve four more years as leader of the nation's central bank. But she leaves the Fed's top post having largely achieved its mandate to engineer full employment while keeping inflation at a level that fosters growth.

A day before President Trump was expected to name their next leader, Federal Reserve policymakers decided to hold a key interest rate steady at between 1 percent and 1.25 percent. However, analysts are still looking for a rate increase at the central bank's next meeting, in mid-December.

President Trump says he is very close to making a decision about who will lead the Federal Reserve once Janet Yellen's term expires in February.

The Fed chair is often called the second-most-powerful person in Washington, after the president. By steering interest rate policy, the Fed chair affects economic growth, the pace of job creation and inflation.

President Trump made his view of the North American Free Trade Agreement very clear during the presidential election. He called NAFTA "the worst trade deal in ... the history of this country." And Trump blamed NAFTA for the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

His administration is in the midst of renegotiating the free trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and that is making many U.S. farmers and ranchers nervous.

The dollar is down nearly 10 percent since the beginning of the year. That's bad news if you're a tourist traveling to Europe, but great news if your U.S. company sells goods overseas.

The greenback's tumble against a basket of currencies reflects both positive and negative trends, analysts say.

The biggest factor in the dollar's decline is doubts among currency investors that the Trump administration will be able to put in place pro-growth policies, says Jens Nordvig, CEO of Exante Data, a financial advisory firm.

A fixture of the London landscape and soundscape, Big Ben, is falling silent for four years. The bell will cease its regular tolling while extensive repairs are made to the famous clock tower that looms over the Palace of Westminster, the home of the British Parliament.

Global stock markets ended their worst week in months amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, though U.S. stock indexes steadied on Friday to close up slightly.

Americans have been waiting for a solid pay raise for years. Maybe there's good news awaiting them as the country employs more people.

The U.S. economic recovery has gone on for eight long years, and the unemployment rate is at a low 4.4 percent. But wage gains have barely budged.

That's got economists scratching their heads.

The U.S. economy gained momentum in the second quarter as consumers and businesses picked up their spending. Gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent, an improvement over the first quarter but still not approaching the dynamic economy President Trump promised during the campaign.

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent between April and June.

It was nice comeback from the tepid 1.2 percent annual growth rate of the first quarter and more in line with the turbo-charged growth of 3 percent that has been promised by the Trump administration.

The latest growth was partially driven by an increase in consumer spending. It's a positive sign that Americans are opening up their wallets, especially since consumer spending makes up about 70 percent of the economy.

The Trump administration's promise to turbocharge economic growth has yet to be fulfilled, even though forecasters are predicting that the economy has rebounded from a weak 1.4 percent annual growth rate in the first three months to a rate closer to 2.8 percent. That is the number many economists are expecting to see when the government issues its report on second-quarter growth on Friday.

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