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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Housing Starts During October 2017

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released its Housing Starts report for October 2017:

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,190,000
Actual: 1,290,000

Change From Previous Month: +13.7%
Change From One Year Previous: -2.9%

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,250,000
Actual: 1,297,000

Change From Previous Month: +5.9%
Change From One Year Previous: +0.9%

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Housing Starts: The top, yellow-highlighted figure is a measure of initial construction of single and multi-family residential units in the United States for the indicated month.  Seasonally adjusted annual rate.  The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

If you're wondering about the demand for new homes in the United States,or about the American construction industry in general, then you should pay attention to the monthly Housing Starts report. This report also offers insight into specific types of consumer spending: when housing starts are up, demand for the stuff that a consumer would purchase for a new home (large appliances, consumer electronics, furniture, etc.) tends to also rise --  and vice versa.

Click here to view the full Commerce Department report (PDF).


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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Import and Export Price Indexes for October 2017

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its report on U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes for October 2017:

Import Prices
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.2%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +2.5%

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Export Prices
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: 0.0%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +2.7%

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The above percentages, highlighted in yellow, represent the month-to-month change in prices for:

  • Imports: the cost of goods produced in other countries and sold in the United States.
  • Exports: the cost of goods produced in the USA and sold in other countries.

Together, these indexes offer insight into the status of inflation in the United States, and for the global economy as well. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.


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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of November 10, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on November 10, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +1,900,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -31,300,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 459,000,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).



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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for October 2017

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for October 2017:

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Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.1%

(Change from 12 months previous: +2.0%)

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Below is the CPI when food and energy are removed, also known as core CPI:

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

(Change from 12 months previous: +1.8%)

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The above, yellow-highlighted figures represent the seasonally adjusted, month-to-month change in prices for a specific group of goods and services that consumers buy, and is, therefore, a very important part of the overall inflation picture for the country.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

General categories that constitute the CPI are:

  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Clothing
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Food and Beverages
  • Recreation
  • Miscellaneous Goods and Services (grooming expenses, etc.)
Click here to view the full Labor Department report.



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U.S. Retail And Food Services Sales Report for October 2017

The Commerce Department this morning released advanced estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales for October 2017:

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.2%

The yellow-highlighted percentage represents the month-to-month change in total sales receipts for retailers that sell durable and non-durable goods, and retailers that provide food and beverage services.

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Previous Month (revised): +1.9%

Estimated Retail Sales During October: $486,600,000,000

Change from 12 Months Previous: +4.6%

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The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.


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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for October 2017

The Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for October 2017 was released this morning:

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.4%

Change from 12 months previous: +2.8%

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Below is the PPI-FD when food and energy are removed:

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.4%

Change from 12 months previous: +2.4%

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The above, yellow-highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in prices received by domestic producers of goods and services, for goods, services and construction in the United States, for final demand.

Final Demand = personal consumption (consumers), exports, government purchases and capital investment.

The PPI-FD is released by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.



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Thursday, November 09, 2017

Bull-Market Update for November 8, 2017

Record highs for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), the Standard and Poor's 500 Index and the NASDAQ Composite Index yesterday.  Here's a bull-market update for November 8, 2017.

Since the March 9, 2009 bear-market low:


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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of November 3, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on November 3, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +2,200,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -27,900,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 457,100,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for September 2017

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for September 2017 was released by the Labor Department this morning:

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Job Openings

Predicted: 6,082,000
Actual:    6,093,000

  • Previous Month (revised): 6,090,000

  • One Year Previous: 5,666,000

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Hires: 5,273,000

Total Separations: 5,240,000

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The above, yellow-highlighted percentage represents the estimated number of job openings in the United States during the indicated month. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Here's how the Labor Department defines Total Separations:

"Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations is referred to as turnover. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer. Other separations includes separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm."

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Friday, November 03, 2017

Employment Situation Report for October 2017

The Employment Situation Report for October 2017 was released by The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +325,000
Actual: +261,000


U-3 Unemployment Rate (Headline)
Predicted: 4.2%
Actual: 4.1%

U-6 Unemployment Rate*
Actual: 7.9%
Previous Month: 8.3%

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: -0.0377%

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: 62.7%
Previous Month: 63.1%

Average Workweek
Predicted: 34.4 hours
Actual: 34.4 hours

Economist, academics, central bankers and investors pay very close attention to the monthly Employment Situation report as it offers penetrating insight as to the current and near-future state of the overall U.S. economy. If a) Americans are earning more money and b) the economy is creating new jobs, this typically translates to more money being pumped into the economy (and vice versa.)

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

From today's report:

"...Employment in food services and drinking places increased sharply, mostly offsetting a decline in September that largely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. In October, job gains also occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care..."
"...Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $26.53, were little changed in October (-1 cent) [-0.0377%], after rising by 12 cents in September. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 63 cents, or 2.4%. In October, average hourly earnings of private sector production and nonsupervisory employees, at $22.22, were little changed (-1 cent) [-0.045%].
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised up from +169,000 to +208,000, and the change for September was revised up from -33,000 to +18,000. With these revisions, employment was 90,000 higher than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 162,000 over the last 3 months..." [Establishment Survey Data]
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 * =  The U-6 Unemployment Rate is defined as:

"Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force."

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ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for October 2017

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM®) released their Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for October 2017:

Predicted: 58.6%
Actual: 60.1%

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The NMI is a reliable barometer of the U.S. services sector; above 50% implies expansion, while a reading below 50% implies that the services sector contracted.

Service categories include: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing + Hunting; Mining; Utilities; Construction; Wholesale Trade; Retail Trade; Transportation + Warehousing; Information; Finance + Insurance; Real Estate, Rental + Leasing; Professional, Scientific + Technical Services; Management of Companies + Support Services; Educational Services; Health Care + Social Assistance; Arts, Entertainment + Recreation; Accommodation + Food Services; Public Administration; and Other Services (services such as Equipment + Machinery Repairing; Promoting or Administering Religious Activities; Grantmaking; Advocacy; and Providing Dry-Cleaning + Laundry Services, Personal Care Services, Death Care Services, Pet Care Services, Photofinishing Services, Temporary Parking Services, and Dating Services).

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The previous month's NMI reading was 59.8%.

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From today' report:

"...Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in October for the 94th consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®..."

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Here's a sampling of comments made by survey participants:

  •     "Increasing commodity pricing along with rising construction cost is a concern in [the] quarter ahead."
     (Accommodation and Food Services)

  •     "Business is strong, driven by large upticks in business from clients in the retail industry. Seasonal surge is starting out stronger than in a normal year."
     (Management of Companies and Support Services)

  •     "The current hurricane damage will result in a shortage of some building materials and draw labor forces away from our area."
     (Construction)

  •     "Positive trends continue. Business activity/results good. Revenue and net profit are above plan."
     (Finance and Insurance)

  •     "We continue to struggle with the ‘unknowns’ around Obamacare, and its impacts on our health care and insurance businesses."
     (Health Care and Social Assistance)

  •     "Business activity with oil companies remains flat. Oil field services, midstream, downstream and petrochemical sectors remain strong."
     (Professional, Scientific and Technical Services)

  •     "Business levels increased due to hurricane recovery efforts."
     (Real Estate, Rental and Leasing)

  •     "Outlook is favorable. Labor is in short supply and is constraining growth."
     (Wholesale Trade)

  •     "Uptick based on replacement vehicle activity in hurricane-impacted areas of Texas and Florida."
     (Retail Trade)


Click here to view the complete ISM report



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U.S. Factory Orders During September 2017

The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released their report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders -- also known as Factory Orders -- for September 2017:

Predicted: +1.2%
Actual: +1.4%

The yellow-highlighted percentage is the month-to-month change in orders for both durable and nondurable goods made by from U.S. manufacturers. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Previous Month: +1.2%.

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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Thursday, November 02, 2017

Productivity and Labor Costs Report for Q3 2017 (Preliminary)

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) this morning released its quarterly report on Productivity and Unit Labor Costs for the third quarter of 2017 (preliminary):

Nonfarm Productivity
Predicted: +2.5%
Actual: +3.0%

Reading from Previous Quarter, Revised: +1.5%

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Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: +0.6%
Actual: +0.5%

Reading from Previous Quarter, Revised: +0.2%

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The yellow-highlighted figures represent the quarter-to-quarter change in non-farm productivity and unit labor costs for the United States.

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Labor Productivity, Q3 2017
Labor Productivity, Q3 2017

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Unit Labor Costs, Q3 2017
Unit Labor Costs, Q3 2017


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For non-farm productivity, a positive number represents an improvement in the efficiency of producing domestic goods and services in the U.S., and therefore can signify a favorable inflationary outlook, and vice versa.

The Unit Labor Costs report measures the costs related to producing each unit of output. A positive number can be a harbinger of rising inflation, and vice versa.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report (PDF.)



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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of October 27, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on October 27, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: -2,400,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -27,700,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 454,900,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).


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ISM Manufacturing Index for October 2017

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) released their Manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI®) for October 2017:

Predicted: 59.5%
Actual: 58.7%

Every month, the ISM surveys purchasing and supply executives at hundreds of companies across the country who are involved in manufacturing in some form. The resulting index is watched closely by academics, economists and investors because manufacturing accounts for about 12% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The PMI is a reliable barometer of U.S. manufacturing: A PMI above 50% implies that U.S. manufacturing expanded during the month specified, while a reading below 50% implies that the made-in-the-USA sector contracted.

The previous month's PMI reading was 60.8%.

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From Today's Report:

"...Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in October, and the overall economy grew for the 101st consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®..."
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The following is a sampling of quotes from a diverse pool of U.S. manufacturers:



  •     "Raw material costs on the rise, but purchasing operation has navigated shortages caused by hurricanes."
     (Chemical Products)

  •     "Incoming orders are strong, mainly due to recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Backlogs are up due to operating inefficiencies."
     (Machinery)

  •     "Hurricanes have caused shortages in the resin market, resulting in price increases, inventory constraints and increased lead times."
     (Computer and Electronic Products)

  •     "Ongoing market growth. Minimal impact expected from hurricanes so far in this season."
     (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

  •     "Business seems to be a bit depressed due to the storms last month, but is picking back up."
     (Fabricated Metal Products)


        "Business continues to be better than expected."
     (Transportation Equipment)

  •     "Business is good. Supplier deliveries have extended. Things are really picking up."
     (Food, Beverage and Tobacco Products)

  •     "Our plants are sold out for 2017 — we can’t take any new orders."
     (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)

  •     "In plastics processing, Hurricane Harvey is the reason for every price increase being announced — and virtually all suppliers are announcing price increases."
     (Plastics and Rubber Products)


Click here to view the complete ISM report



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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for October 2017

The Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) for this month (October 2017) was released by The Conference Board® this morning:

Predicted: 121.0
Actual: 125.9

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

From Today's Report:

"...'Consumer confidence increased to its highest level in almost 17 years (Dec. 2000, 128.6) in October after remaining relatively flat in September,' said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 'Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved, boosted by the job market which had not received such favorable ratings since the summer of 2001. Consumers were also considerably more upbeat about the short-term outlook, with the prospect of improving business conditions as the primary driver. Confidence remains high among consumers, and their expectations suggest the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace for the remainder of the year.'

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved in October. The percentage saying business conditions are 'good' increased from 33.4 percent to 34.5 percent, while those saying business conditions are 'bad' rose marginally from 13.2% to 13.5
%. Consumers’ assessment of the job market was more upbeat. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are 'plentiful' increased from 32.7% to 36.3%, while those claiming jobs are 'hard to get' decreased slightly from 18.0% to 17.5%.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook also rose in October. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 20.9
% to 22.2%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased from 9.6% to 6.9%.

Consumers’ outlook for the job market, however, was somewhat less favorable than in September. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased marginally from 19.2
% to 18.9%, however, those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 13.0% to 11.8 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement decreased marginally from 20.5% to 20.3%, however, the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 8.6% to 7.4%..."

Every month, The Conference Board sends a questionnaire to 5,000 U.S. households. Survey participants are polled about their feelings regarding the U.S. economy, current and future, and about their own fiscal circumstances. On average, 3,500 participants complete and return the 5-question survey.

The baseline "100" score for the CCI is associated with 1985 survey data.

When consumers feel good about the economy, they tend to do more spending, and vice versa.

Based in New York City, The Conference Board is a private, not-for-profit organization with a mission to, "create and disseminate knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society."

The CCI is usually released on the last Tuesday of the month.

Last month, the CCI was 120.6 (revised.)

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Monday, October 30, 2017

PCE Price Index + Personal Income + Consumer Spending Report for September 2017

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its report on The PCE Price Index, Consumer Spending and Personal Income for September 2017:

Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)
Predicted: +0.9%
Actual: +1.0%

----------------------

Personal Income
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.4%


The highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in Consumer Spending (aka Personal Consumption Expenditures) and Personal Income for the entire United States.

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=====================

Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.4%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.6%
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Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.1%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.3%
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The yellow-highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in the prices associated with domestic personal consumption.  The PCE Price Index is different from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in that it is a very broad measure of the prices associated with domestic products and services, while the CPI measures a more limited fixed basket of goods and services.

The broad nature of the PCE Price Index is key to why it is the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) pays very close attention to it.

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The "predicted" figures are what economists were expecting, while the "actual" figures are the true or real figure.



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Friday, October 27, 2017

Consumer Sentiment: Final Result for October 2017

The University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) - Final Result for October 2017 was released today:

Predicted: 101.0
Actual: 100.7

  • Change from Last Month: +5.8885%
  • Change from 12 Months Ago: +15.4817%

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From today's report:

"...Consumer sentiment slipped ever so slightly in late October, despite remaining at its highest monthly level since the start of 2004. This is only the second time the Sentiment Index has been above 100.0 since the end of the record 1990's expansion, and its average during the first ten months of 2017 (96.7) has been the highest since 2000 (108.5). The October gain was reflected in more favorable consumers' assessments of current economic conditions (+4.8) as well as expected economic prospects (+6.1). Personal finances were judged near all-time record favorable levels due to gains in household incomes as well as decade highs in home and stock values. Lingering doubts about the near term strength of the national economy were dispelled as more than half of all respondents expected good times during the year ahead and anticipated the expansion to continue uninterrupted over the next five years. To be sure, consumers do not anticipate accelerating growth rates but rather a continuation of the slower pace of growth that has characterized this recovery. Low unemployment and low inflation rates have made lower income growth rates more acceptable. Moreover, the Great Recession has caused a fundamental change in assessments of economic risks, with consumers now giving greater preference to economic stability relative to economic growth. This is the essential reason why consumers have voiced such positive economic assessments of such a modest pace of economic growth. Overall, the data indicate a 2.6% growth rate in real consumption in 2017 and in the first half of 2018..."

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The ICS is derived from the following five survey questions:

  1. "We are interested in how people are getting along financially these days. Would you say that you (and your family living there) are better off or worse off financially than you were a year ago?"


  2. "Now looking ahead, do you think that a year from now you (and your family living there) will be better off financially, or worse off, or just about the same as now?"


  3. "Now turning to business conditions in the country as a whole, do you think that during the next twelve months we'll have good times financially, or bad times, or what?"


  4. "Looking ahead, which would you say is more likely: that in the country as a whole we'll have continuous good times during the next five years or so, or that we will have periods of widespread unemployment or depression, or what?"


  5. "About the big things people buy for their homes, such as furniture, a refrigerator, stove, television, and things like that. Generally speaking, do you think now is a good or bad time for people to buy major household items?"

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The ICS uses a 1966 baseline, i.e. for 1966, the ICS = 100. So any number that is below the 1966 baseline of 100 means that the folks who were polled recently aren't as optimistic about the U.S. economy as the sample that was polled back in 1966.

The ICS is similar to the Consumer Confidence Index in that they both measure consumer attitudes and offer valuable insight into consumer spending.

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The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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Last month's final ICS reading was 95.1.



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Gross Domestic Product (GDP) First Estimate for Q3, 2017

The U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "advance" (first estimate) report for the third quarter of 2017 was released this morning by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA):

Predicted: +2.5%
Actual: +3.0%

The yellow-highlighted figure represents the quarter-to-quarter change in real gross domestic product for the entire United States.

The GDP is the broadest measure of economic activity in the entire United States, covering all sectors of the economy.

The "advance" estimate is based on data that are subject to future revision.

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - Q3 2017 - First Estimate
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - Q3 2017 - First Estimate

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  • On November 29, 2017, the Commerce Department will release a "preliminary" GDP report for Q3 2017, which will contain a second estimate (more accurate data.)

  • On December 21, 2017, a "final" GDP report will be released by the BEA, which will contain the government's best estimates for Q3 2017.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of October 21, 2017

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on October 21, 2017:

Predicted: 235,000
Actual: 233,000

The yellow-highlighted figure represents the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

  • Previous Week (revised): 223,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 239,500
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From today's report:

"...Claims taking procedures continue to be severely disrupted in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as a result of power outages and infrastructure damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria..."
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