Chicago Fed says economic activity slipped in April
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's national activity index worsened in April, falling to negative 0.53 from negative 0.23 in March, MarketWatch reported. The three-month moving average meanwhile was at negative 0.04 from negative 0.05 in March. The three-month average of the index, which is a weighted average of 85 different economic indicators, is designed so that a zero reading equals trend growth and a reading below negative 0.70 indicates an increasing likelihood a recession has begun.

Budget deficit shrinks, and with it hopes for a budget deal

The chances of a deal between Democratic and Republican lawmakers that would overhaul the tax system, trim government spending and reform safety net spending programs appear to be fading, Reuters reported.  A sudden improvement in the outlook for the government deficit over the next decade has alleviated some of the pressure on lawmakers to act. Read more.


Feeling little recovery, small businesses in no rush to hire

Small business owners say they're not yet feeling the effects of an improving economy, and most aren't rushing to hire, or seeking funds to invest in their businesses, CNNMoney reported. Read more