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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, December 07, 2018

Employment Situation Report for November 2018

The Employment Situation Report for November 2018 was released by The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +190,000
Actual: +155,000


U-3 Unemployment Rate (Headline)
Actual: 3.7%
Previous Month: 3.7%
12 Months Previous: 4.1%

U-6 Unemployment Rate*
Actual: 7.6%
Previous Month: 7.4%
12 Months Previous: 8.0%

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.22% (+$0.06)

Average Hourly Earnings (year-on-year change)
Predicted: +3.2%
Actual: +3.052% (+$0.81)

Average Weekly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Actual: -0.071% (-$0.67)


Average Weekly Earnings (year-on-year change)
Actual: +2.753% (+$25.21)

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: 62.9%
Previous Month: 62.9%
12 Months Previous: 62.7%

Average Workweek
Predicted: 34.5 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:


"...In November, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $27.35
[+0.22%]. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 81 cents, or [+3.052%]. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $22.95 [+0.306%] in November.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised down from +250,000 to +237,000, and the change for September was revised up from +118,000 to +119,000. With these revisions, employment gains in September and October combined were 12,000 less 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
170,000 per month 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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Thursday, December 06, 2018

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of November 30, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on November 30, 2018 was released this morning: 

-- Change from Last Week: -7,300,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -4,900,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 443,200,000 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 Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for November 2018

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM®) released their Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for November 2018:

Predicted: 59.1%
Actual: 60.7% (+0.4 point month-on-month change)

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Previous month: 60.3%

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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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From today' report:

"...Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in November for the 106TH 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:

  •    “Relatively stable business conditions. Input costs are corn- and soy-based, so the ongoing trade dispute with China presents challenges and opportunities. The chief dilemmas are: When will the dispute be resolved, and what will the market reaction be?”
     (Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting)

  •     “Commercial construction is strong. Employment is struggling due to lack of qualified talent.”
     (Construction)

  •     “Midway through Q4, and on track for another good year. Conditions are favorable and look to remain so going into 2019.”
     (Finance and Insurance)

  •     “Business is booming. Labor costs are rising.”
     (Information)

  •     “November continues our busy season, at a higher rate than we anticipated. Both internal and supplier resources have had success gaining some ground back on backlog of orders. A large volume of orders is always expected this time of year, but this year, it has been busier than our organization and suppliers anticipated.”
     (Management of Companies and Support Services)

  •     “Business continues to improve internationally, but there is a slowdown in domestics offshore and leveling in domestic onshore, which directly affects our business. There are concerns about domestic trucking and international flat rack availability. There is also discussion of implementation of trucking e-log requirements in Mexico sometime in 2019 or 2020. That could affect our trucking providers’ lead time for delivery-support services in the Mexican region.”
     (Other Services)

  •     “The imposition of and threats to impose tariffs are having a negative effect on several capital-improvement projects in progress. The contractors have submitted change order requests for those items impacted, especially those with a steel component. The increases are not expected or budgeted for.”
     (Public Administration)

  •     “The business is preparing for the later phases of tariffs by slowing down growth and capital investment until the future becomes clearer. We are starting to pull months of inventory in before the next round of tariffs hit, so there is a lot of activity on our logistics side.”
     (Retail Trade)

  •     “We are still experiencing low service levels with transportation.”
     (Wholesale Trade)

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ISM Non-Manufacturing (Services) Index (NMI®) - 12 Month History - November 2018 Update
ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) - 12 Month History - November 2018 Update

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Productivity and Labor Costs Report for Q3 2018 (Revised)

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 2018 (revised):

Nonfarm Productivity
Predicted: +2.3%
Actual: +2.3%

Change from A Year Ago: +1.3%

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Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: +1.1%
Actual: +0.9%

Change from A Year Ago: +0.9%

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


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.


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  • The preliminary productivity report for Q4 2018 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.
 
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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of December 1, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on December 1, 2018:

Predicted: 225,000
Actual: 231,000

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): 235,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 228,000
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Monday, December 03, 2018

ISM Manufacturing Index for November 2018

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) released their Manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI®) for November 2018:

Predicted: 57.2%
Actual: 59.3% (+1.6 points month-on-month change)

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Previous month: 57.7%

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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.

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From Today's Report:

"...Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in November, and the overall economy grew for the 115th 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:



  •     “Shortages, longer lead times and capacity constraints [particularly in the electronic components marketplace] and tariffs continue to strain the supply chain and disrupt normal business practices and activities.”
     (Computer and Electronic Products)

  •     “Seeing a number [of] areas of slowdown that are concerning: truck market loosening [and] ISO depots full of empty containers, all signs of decreasing business activity.”
     (Chemical Products)

  •     “Production continues at increased levels.”
     (Transportation Equipment)

  •     “Labor shortages in our area are affecting production volumes.”
     (Food, Beverage and Tobacco Products)

  •     “Trade tariffs and commodity increases have greatly affected our ability to remain competitive in the market.”
     (Machinery)

  •     “Business [orders] steady. Many customers [moving] orders up due to price increases [from commodity costs and tariffs].”
     (Furniture and Related Products)

  •     “Business remains strong. Tariffs impact is fully reflected in Q3 results, and initiatives are underway to move work out of China into other low-cost countries.”
     (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

  •     “A lack of experienced workers is having an impact on production, which impacts sourcing due to the skills gap in the manufacturing trades; particularly computer numeric controlled machinists, but also assemblers and welders. The challenge is meeting customer-delivery requirements for new and repaired equipment.”
     (Fabricated Metal Products)

  •     “Steel tariffs continue to put upward pressure on downstream materials (even when sourcing steel domestically). Long-haul trucking market seems to be normalizing after the implementation of the electronic logging requirements. Oil volatility is also beginning to make its way through downstream materials.”
     (Petroleum and Coal Products)

  •     “Continuing to increase imports in order to receive material in by the end of the year to avoid potential 25-percent tariffs.”
     (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)
     
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ISM Manufacturing Index - 12 Month History - November 2018 Update
ISM Manufacturing Index - 12 Month History - November 2018 Update

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of November 24, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on November 24, 2018:

Predicted: 220,000
Actual: 234,000

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 (unrevised): 224,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 223,250
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PCE Price Index + Personal Income + Consumer Spending Report for October 2018

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its report on The PCE Price Index, Consumer Spending and Personal Income for October 2018:

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Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.6%

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Personal Income
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.5%

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  • Disposable Personal Income, Current Dollars:  +0.5%
  • Disposable Personal Income, 2012 Chained* Dollars +0.3% 

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


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Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +2.0%
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Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.8%
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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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*Chained dollars is a method of adjusting real dollar amounts for inflation over time, so as to allow comparison of figures from different years. The Commerce Department introduced the chained-dollar measure in 1996. Chained dollars generally reflect dollar figures computed with 2012 as the base year.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

New Home Sales During October 2018

The October 2018 New Home Sales report was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: 575,000
Actual New Home Sales: 544,000

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Change from One Month Previous: -8.9%

Change from One Year Previous: -12%

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Median Price for a New Home during October 2018: $309,700

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Average Price for a New Home during October 2018: $395,000


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Inventory: 7.4 months (at current sales rate.)

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Chart: New Home Sales During October 2018
Chart: New Home Sales During October 2018

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Compiled jointly by the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the yellow-highlighted figure above is the seasonally adjusted and annualized number of newly-built homes with committed buyers for the indicated month.

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

The New Home Sales report is watched by economists and investors because it offers insight into the state of the U.S. housing market, and also provides data that can be used to predict sales of large household furniture and appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, microwave ovens, etc.


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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of November 23, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on November 23, 2018 was released this morning: 

-- Change from Last Week: +3,600,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -3,200,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 450,500,000 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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Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Second Estimate for Q3, 2018

Earlier this morning, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its second estimate for U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2018 :

Predicted: +3.5%
Actual: +3.5%

The yellow-highlighted percentage represents the quarter-to-quarter change for Real Gross Domestic Product for the entire United States.

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"...Corporate Profits

Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments) increased $76.0 billion in the third quarter, compared with an increase of $65.0 billion in the second quarter.

Profits of domestic financial corporations decreased $7.8 billion in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase of $16.5 billion in the second quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $66.2 billion, compared with an increase of $53.0 billion. Rest-of-the-world profits increased $17.6 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $4.5 billion. In the third quarter, receipts decreased $7.7 billion, and payments decreased $25.3 billion..."

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GDP, Third Quarter 2018, Second Estimate
GDP, Third Quarter 2018, Second Estimate

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  • On December 21, 2018, a third and "final" GDP estimate will be released by the BEA, which will contain the most accurate and authoritative data for the third quarter of  2018.

The GDP is a very broad measure of economic activity for the entire United States, covering all sectors of the economy. The Commerce Department defines real GDP as, "the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States."

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) for October 2018

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago released its National Activity Index (CFNAI) for October 2018:

Predicted: +0.20
Actual (CFNAI): +0.24

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of growth in national economic activity drawn from four broad categories of data:

  • Production and income;
  • Employment, unemployment, and hours;
  • Personal consumption and housing; and
  • Sales, orders, and inventories.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the yellow-highlighted figure is what was reported.

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  • Previous Month (revised): +0.14
  • 3-Month Moving Average (CFNAI-MA3): +0.31
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Chicago Fed National Activity Index with Business Cycles - October 2018 Update
Chicago Fed National Activity Index with Business Cycles - October 2018 Update

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From Today's Report

"...Index Points To A Slight Increase In Economic Growth In October

Led by improvements in employment-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) increased to +0.24 in October from +0.14 in September. Only one of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from September, but three of the four categories made positive contributions to the index in October. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, ticked up to +0.31 in October from +0.30 in September..."
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Understanding The CFNAI:

A zero value for the monthly index has been associated with the national economy expanding at its historical trend (average) rate of growth; negative values with below-average growth (in standard deviation units); and positive values with above-average growth.

Periods of economic expansion have historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 above -0.70 and the CFNAI Diffusion Index above -0.35. Conversely, periods of economic contraction have historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 below -0.70 and the CFNAI Diffusion Index below -0.35.

An increasing likelihood of a period of sustained increasing inflation has historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 above +0.70 more than two years into an economic expansion. Similarly, a substantial likelihood of a period of sustained increasing inflation has historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 above +1.00 more than two years into an economic expansion.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of November 17, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on November 17, 2018:

Predicted: 215,000
Actual: 224,000

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): 221,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 218,500
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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of November 16, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on November 16, 2018 was released this morning: 

-- Change from Last Week: +4,900,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -10,200,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 446,900,000 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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Leading Economic Index for October 2018

The Conference Board® released its Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for October 2018 this morning:

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Index for October: 112.1 (The baseline 100 score is associated with 2016 data.)

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.0892% (+0.1 point)

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  • Index for September 2018: 112.0  (+0.629%  | +0.7 point)

  • Index for August 2018: 111.3 (+0.451%  | +0.5 point)

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The yellow-highlighted percentage is the month-to-month change for the index.  The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The LEI is a composite of 10 of the nation's economic data releases that's put together by The Conference Board. Statistically, the components listed below have shown a significant increase or decrease before national economic upturns or downturns:

  1. The Standard + Poor's 500 Index

  2. Average weekly claims for unemployment insurance

  3. Building permits for new private housing

  4. The interest rate spread between the yield on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury Note and Federal Funds

  5. ISM® Index of New Orders

  6. Manufacturer's new orders for consumer goods or materials

  7. Manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders

  8. Average weekly manufacturing hours

  9. Average consumer expectations for business conditions

  10. Leading Credit Index™

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Chart: Leading Economic Index - October 2018 Update
Chart: Leading Economic Index - October 2018 Update

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From Today's Report:

"...'The US LEI increased slightly in October, and the pace of improvement slowed for the first time since May,' said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Economic Research and Global Research Chair at The Conference Board. 'The index still points to robust economic growth in early 2019, but the rapid pace of growth may already have peaked. While near term economic growth should remain strong, longer term growth is likely to moderate to about 2.5 percent by mid to late 2019.'..."

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Consumer Sentiment: Final Result for November 2018

The University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) - Final Result for November  2018 was released today:

Predicted: 98.3
Actual: 97.5

  • Change from Previous Month: -1.116% (-1.1 points)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: -1.015% (-1.0 point)

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Previous Month's Final ICS Reading: 98.6

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From today's report:


"...Consumer sentiment has remained largely unchanged at very favorable levels during 2018, with the November reading nearly at the center of the eleven month range from 95.7 to 101.4. Although the data recorded a decline of 2.8 Index points following the election, the drop was related more to income than political party: among those with incomes in the bottom third, the Sentiment Index rose by 10.4 points and fell by 6.6 points among those in the top third of the income distribution. In contrast, the Sentiment Index remained unchanged among Democrats and Republicans prior to and following the election.

Consumers' interest rate expectations have always traced the outlines of economic cycles. As expansions lengthen, the number of consumers who expect interest rate increases gradually increases. After some threshold is reached, however, consumers in large numbers abruptly anticipate future declines in interest rates. Sales declines are then accelerated not only by falling job and income prospects but also from the expectation of falling interest rates in the future. While there is no reason to anticipate a sudden change in interest rate expectations in the next few months, it is still an important task for the Fed to avoid hitting the threshold that causes widespread postponement of purchases..."

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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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Existing Home Sales During October 2018

The Existing Home Sales report for October 2018 was released by The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) this morning:

Predicted: 5,210,000
Actual: 5,220,000

  •  Change from Previous Month: +1.4%

  •  Change from One Year Previous: -5.1%
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Inventory: 1,850,000 (4.3 months supply)

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The yellow-highlighted, "actual" figure above represents the preliminary, seasonally adjusted annualized sales count of existing homes, co-ops and condominiums for the indicated month. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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Median Price for A Used Home During October: $255,400

Change from One Year Previous: +3.8%

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Average Price for A Used Home During October: $294,200

Change from One Year Previous: +2.3%

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From Today's Report:


"...Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says increasing housing inventory has brought more buyers to the market. 'After six consecutive months of decline, buyers are finally stepping back into the housing market,' he said. 'Gains in the Northeast, South and West – a reversal from last month’s steep decline or plateau in all regions – helped overall sales activity rise for the first time since March 2018.'

The median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $255,400, up 3.8% from October 2017 ($246,000). October’s price increase marks the 80th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of October decreased from 1.88 million in September to 1.85 million existing homes available for sale, but that represents an increase from 1.80 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.4 last month and up from 3.9 months a year ago.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 33 days in October, up from 32 days in September but down from 34 days a year ago. 46% of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month.

'As more inventory enters the market and we head into the winter season, home price growth has begun to slow more meaningfully,' said Yun. 'This allows for much more manageable, less frenzied buying conditions.'

Realtor.com®’s Market Hotness Index, measuring time-on-the-market data and listings views per property, revealed that the hottest metro areas in October were Midland, Texas; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Odessa, Texas; Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.; and Columbus, Ohio.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional,
fixed-rate mortgage increased to 4.83% in October from 4.63% in September. The average commitment rate for all of 2017 was 3.99%.

'Rising interest rates and increasing home prices continue to suppress the rate of first-time homebuyers. Home sales could further decline before stabilizing. The Federal Reserve should, therefore, re-evaluate its monetary policy of tightening credit, especially in light of softening inflationary pressures, to help ease the financial burden on potential first-time buyers and assure a slump in the market causes no lasting damage to the economy,' says Yun.

First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in October, down from last month and a year ago (32%). NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 20184 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33%.

'Despite this much welcomed, month-over-month gain, sales are still down from a year ago, a large reason for which is affordability challenges from higher interest rates,' said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota and broker at Edina Realty. 'Prospective buyers looking for their dream home in this market should contact a Realtor® as a first step in the buying process to help them navigate this more challenging environment.'

All-cash sales accounted for 23% of transactions in October, up from September and a year ago (21 and 20%, respectively). Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15% of homes in October, up from September and a year ago (both 13%.)

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – represented 3% of sales in October (the lowest since NAR began tracking in October 2008), unchanged from last month and down from 4% a year ago. 2% of October sales were foreclosures and 1% were short sales..."

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  • The monthly Existing Home Sales report is released on or around the 25TH day of each month.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Housing Starts During October 2018

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released its Housing Starts report for October 2018:

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,240,000
Actual: 1,228,000

Change From Previous Month: +1.5%
Change From One Year Previous: -2.9%

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,260,000
Actual: 1,263,000

Change From Previous Month: -0.6%
Change From One Year Previous: -6.0%

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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 residential 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.

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Housing Starts - October 2018 Update
Housing Starts - October 2018 Update

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Industrial Production + Manufacturing + Capacity Utilization During October 2018

The Industrial Production, Manufacturing and Capacity Utilization numbers for October 2018 were released by the Federal Reserve this morning:

Industrial Production:
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

Manufacturing:
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.3%

The yellow-highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in manufacturing, and physical output from mining operations, utility plants and factories for the entire United States.

Capacity Utilization Rate:
Predicted: 78.2%
Actual: 78.4

The Capacity Utilization Rate represents the use of available resources at mining operations, utility plants and factories for the entire United States last month.

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

From today's report:

"...Industrial production edged up 0.1% in October, as a gain for manufacturing outweighed decreases elsewhere. As a result of upward revisions primarily in mining, the overall index is now reported to have advanced at an annual rate of 4.7% in the third quarter, appreciably above the gain of 3.3% reported initially. Hurricanes lowered the level of industrial production in both September and October, but their effects appear to be less than 0.1% per month. In October, manufacturing output rose 0.3% for its fifth consecutive monthly increase, while the indexes for mining and for utilities declined 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively. At 109.1% of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 4.1% higher in October than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector was 78.4%, a rate that is 1.4 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average..."

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Import and Export Price Indexes for October 2018

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its report on U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes for October 2018:

Import Prices
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.5%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +3.5%

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Export Prices
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.4%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +3.1%

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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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