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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of October 5, 2019

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on  October 5, 2019:

Predicted: 219,000
Actual: 210,000

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): 220,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 213,750
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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for September 2019

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for September 2019:

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Predicted: +0.0% (unchanged)
Actual: +0.0% (unchanged)

  • Change From 12 Months Previous: +1.7%

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

  • Change From 12 Months Previous: +2.4%

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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.)

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From Today's Report:

"...Increases in the indexes for shelter and food were offset by declines in the indexes for energy and used cars and trucks to result in the seasonally adjusted all items index being flat. The energy index fell 1.4 percent as the gasoline index declined 2.4 percent. The food index increased 0.1 percent in September after being unchanged in each of the prior 3 months.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in September after increasing 0.3 percent in each of the last 3 months. Along with the shelter index, the indexes for medical care, household furnishings and operations, and motor vehicle insurance all rose in September. The indexes for used cars and trucks, apparel, new vehicles, and communication all declined..."

 
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Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI) - September 2019 Update
Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI) - September 2019 Update

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Friday, October 04, 2019

Employment Situation Report for September 2019

The Employment Situation Report for September 2019 was released by The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +145,000
Actual: +136,000


U-3 Unemployment Rate (Headline)
Actual: 3.5%
Previous Month: 3.7%
12 Months Previous: 3.7%

U-6 Unemployment Rate*
Actual: 6.9%
Previous Month: 7.2%
12 Months Previous: 7.5%

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: -0.036% (-$0.01)

Average Hourly Earnings (year-on-year change)
Predicted: +3.2%
Actual: +2.894% (+$0.79)

Average Weekly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Actual: -0.035% (-$0.34)


Average Weekly Earnings (year-on-year change)
Actual: +2.596% (+$24.45)

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: 63.2%
Previous Month: 63.2%
12 Months Previous: 62.7%

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:

"...
In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $28.09, were little changed (-1 cent [-0.036%]), after rising by 11 cents in August. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by [+2.894%]. In September, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 4 cents [+0.169%] to $23.65.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised up by 7,000 from +159,000 to +166,000, and the change for August was revised up by 38,000 from +130,000 to +168,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 45,000 more 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
157,000 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, October 03, 2019

ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for September 2019

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM®) released their Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for September 2019:

Predicted: 55.5%
Actual: 52.6% (-3.8 points month-on-month change)

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Previous month: 56.4%

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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 September for the 116th 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:

  •    'Tariffs are adding uncertainty to short-term pricing on certain commodities, but suppliers are finding alternate solutions. The bigger impacts appear to be on demand side, which is driving short-term favorability in certain domestic markets.'
     (Accommodation + Food Services)

  •     'Demand has been variable: up one month, down the next. I think customers are watching our input costs and buying ahead on the dips, to the extent that contracts allow.'
     (Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing + Hunting)

  •     'We are very busy right now [and] expect to be so for the next 12 months. We are still very shorthanded with qualified labor.'
     (Construction)

  •     'Gearing up for the fourth quarter of 2019. On track to end the year generally as anticipated, considering interest-rate changes, trade and tariff issues and other economic indicators and trends.'
     (Finance + Insurance)

  •     'We continue with low patient census, which affects our orders and revenue.'
     (Health Care + Social Assistance)

  •     'As employee cost [wages] are increasing in this better economy, it is getting harder to fight price increases on goods and services.'
     (Information)

  •     'Costs are going up, from labor to chemicals to metals.'
     (Management of Companies + Support Services)

  •     'While Chinese tariffs are understandable, they are impacting our supply chain decisions. We are actively pursuing alternate sources for our China-based production. At this point, we have not passed on tariff costs to our customers, but we are evaluating all options.'
     (Other Services)

  •     'Business continues to pick up as we quickly approach Q4. Week by week, we inch closer to a much-anticipated holiday retail season, which requires not only last-minute buys, but a push to fill open positions.'
     (Retail Trade)

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ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) - 12 Month History September 2019 Update
ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) - 12 Month History
September 2019 Update

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Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of September 27, 2019

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on September 27, 2019 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: +3,100,000 Barrels

-- Change from A Year Ago (Y/Y): +18,700,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 422,600,000 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, October 01, 2019

Construction Spending During August 2019

Earlier today, the U.S. Census Bureau -- which is part of the Commerce Department -- released its Construction Spending report for August 2019:

Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.135% (+$1,734,000,000)

The yellow-highlighted percentage represents the month-to-month change in new public and private construction activity for the United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

  • Estimated construction spending during August 2019: $1,287,306,000,000.

  • July 2019 (revised): $1,285,572,000,000.
     
  • Change from 12 months previous: -1.895% (-$24,865,000,000.)

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ISM Manufacturing Index for September 2019

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) released their Manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI®) for September 2019:

Predicted: 50.0%
Actual: 47.8% (-1.3 points month-on-month change)

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Previous month: 49.1%

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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 contracted in September, and the overall economy grew for the 125th 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:



  •     'Second month in a row in which shipments have outpaced new orders.'
     (Computer + Electronic Products)

  •     'Continued softening in the global automotive market. Trade-war impacts also have localized effects, particularly in select export markets. Seeing warehouses filling again after what appeared to be a short reduction of demand.'
     (Chemical Products)

  •     'Business outlook remains cautious. Orders seem to be decreasing, but luckily not as sharp of a decrease as we were expecting.'
     (Transportation Equipment)

  •     'Chinese tariffs going up are hurting our business. Most of the materials are not made in the U.S. and made only in China.'
     (Food, Beverage + Tobacco Products)

  •     'General market is slowing even more than a normal fourth-quarter slowdown.'
     (Fabricated Metal Products)

  •     'Demand softening on some product lines, backlogs have reduced, and dealer inventories are growing.'
     (Machinery)

  •     'Business has been flat for us. Year-over-year growth has slowed dramatically.'
     (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

  •     'We have seen a reduction in sales orders and, therefore, a lower demand for products we order. We have also reduced our workforce by 10 percent.'
     (Plastics + Rubber Products)

  •     'Incoming sales are sluggish for this time of year.'
     (Furniture + Related Products)

  •     'Economy seems to be softening. The tariffs have caused much confusion in the industry.'
     (Electrical Equipment, Appliances + Components)

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ISM Manufacturing Index - 12 Month History September 2019 Update
ISM Manufacturing Index - 12 Month History
September 2019 Update

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Friday, September 27, 2019

PCE Price Index + Personal Income + Consumer Spending Report for August 2019

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its report on The PCE Price Index, Consumer Spending and Personal Income for August 2019:

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Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.1%

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

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  • Disposable Personal Income, Current Dollars:  +0.5%
  • Disposable Personal Income, 2012 Chained* Dollars +0.4% 

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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: Unchanged

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.4%
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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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Chart: Real Disposable Personal Income and Real Consumer Spending - August 2019 Update
Chart: Disposable Personal Income and Real Consumer Spending
August 2019 Update

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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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Thursday, September 26, 2019

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of September 21, 2019

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on September 21, 2019:

Predicted: 211,000
Actual: 213,000

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): 210,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 212,000
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Chart: Jobless Claims - September 21, 2019 Update
Chart: Jobless Claims - September 21, 2019 Update
  
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Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Third (Final) Estimate for Q2, 2019

Earlier this morning, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its third and final estimate for U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2019:

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Predicted: +2.0%
  • Actual: +2.0%

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 $75.8 billion in the second quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $78.7 billion in the first quarter.

Profits of domestic financial corporations increased $2.5 billion in the second quarter, compared with an increase of $22.2 billion in the first quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $34.7 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $108.2 billion. Rest-of-the-world profits increased $38.7 billion, compared with an increase of $7.3 billion. In the second quarter, receipts increased $25.3 billion, and payments decreased $13.4 billion.
.."
 
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Chart: GDP, Second Quarter 2019, Third / Final Estimate
Chart: GDP, Second Quarter 2019, Third / Final Estimate

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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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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of September 20, 2019

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on September 20, 2019 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: +2,400,000 Barrels

-- Change from A Year Ago (Y/Y): +23,500,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 419,500,000 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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New Home Sales During August 2019

The August 2019 New Home Sales report was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: 662,000
Actual New Home Sales: 713,000

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  • Change from One Month Previous: +7.1%

  • Change from One Year Previous: +18.0%

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Median Price for a New Home during August 2019: $328,400

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Average Price for a New Home during August 2019: $404,200 (all-time record high)


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Inventory: 326,000 (5.5 months supply at current sales rate.)

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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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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for September 2019

The Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) for this month (September 2019) was released by The Conference Board® this morning:

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Predicted: 133.0
  • Actual: 125.1

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Previous Month (revised): 134.2.
 
  • Change from Previous Month: -6.781% (-9.1 points)
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The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

From Today's Report:

"...The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® decreased in September, following a slight decline in August. The Index now stands at 125.1 (1985 = 100), down from 134.2 in August. The Present Situation Index -- based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions -- decreased from 176.0 to 169.0. The Expectations Index -- based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions -- declined from 106.4 last month to 95.8 this month.

'Consumer confidence declined in September, following a moderate decrease in August,' said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 'Consumers were less positive in their assessment of current conditions and their expectations regarding the short-term outlook also weakened. The escalation in trade and tariff tensions in late August appears to have rattled consumers. However, this pattern of uncertainty and volatility has persisted for much of the year and it appears confidence is plateauing. While confidence could continue hovering around current levels for months to come, at some point this continued uncertainty will begin to diminish consumers’ confidence in the expansion.'.
.."

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.

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of September 14, 2019

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on September 14, 2019:

Predicted: 215,000
Actual: 208,000

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): 206,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 212,250
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Chart: Jobless Claims - September 14, 2019 Update
Chart: Jobless Claims - September 14, 2019 Update
  
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Leading Economic Index for August 2019

The Conference Board® released its Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for August 2019 this morning:

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

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Predicted: Unchanged
  • Actual: Unchanged

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  • LEI for July 2019: 112.1
     
  • LEI for June 2019: 111.7

  • LEI for May 2019: 111.7

  • LEI for April 2019: 111.8

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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 - August 2019 Update
Chart: Leading Economic Index - August 2019 Update

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From Today's Report:

"...The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for theU.S. was unchanged in August, remaining at 112.1 (2016 = 100), following a 0.4 percent increase in July, and no change in June.

'The US LEI remained unchanged in August, following a large increase in July. Housing permits and the Leading Credit Index offset the weakness in the index from the manufacturing sector and the interest rate spread,' said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. 'The recent trends in the LEI are consistent with a slow but still expanding economy, which has been primarily driven by strong consumer spending and robust job growth.'..."

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Existing Home Sales - August 2019

The Existing Home Sales report for August 2019 was released by The National Association of Realtors® (NAR®) this morning:

Predicted: 5,380,000
Actual: 5,490,000

  •  Change from Previous Month: +1.3%

  •  Change from One Year Previous: +2.6%
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Inventory: 1,860,000 (4.1 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 August 2019: $278,200

Change from One Year Previous: +4.7%

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Average Price for A Used Home During August 2019: $314,600

Change from One Year Previous: +3.5%

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From Today's Report:


"...Existing-home sales inched up in August, marking two consecutive months of growth, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Three of the four major regions reported a rise in sales, while the West recorded a decline last month.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, attributed the increase in sales to falling mortgage rates. 'As expected, buyers are finding it hard to resist the current rates,' he said. 'The desire to take advantage of these promising conditions is leading more buyers to the market.'

'Sales are up, but inventory numbers remain low and are thereby pushing up home prices,' said Yun. 'Homebuilders need to ramp up new housing, as the failure to increase construction will put home prices in danger of increasing at a faster pace than income.'

Total housing inventory at the end of August decreased to 1.86 million, down from 1.90 million existing-homes available for sale in July, and marking a 2.6% decrease from 1.91 million one year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.2 months in July and from the 4.3-month figure recorded in August 2018.

Properties typically remained on the market for 31 days in August, up from 29 days in July and in August of 2018. Forty-nine percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional,
fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 3.62% in August, down from 3.77% in July. The average commitment rate across all of 2018 was 4.54%.

The Federal Reserve should have been bolder and made a deeper rate cut, given current low inflation rates,' said Yun. 'The housing sector has been broadly underperforming but there is huge upward potential there that will help our overall economy grow.'

First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in August, down from 32% in July and equal to the 31% recorded in August 2018. NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers --
released in late 2018 -- revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33%.

As the share of first-time buyers rose, individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14% of homes in August 2019, up from 11% recorded in July and from 13% recorded in August a year ago. All-cash sales accounted for 19% of transactions in August, about equal to July’s percentage and moderately down from August 2018 (19% and 20%, respectively).

Distressed sales -- foreclosures and short sales -- represented 2% of sales in August, unchanged from July, but down from 3% in August 2018.

'Rates continue to be historically low, which is extremely beneficial for everyone buying or selling a home,' said NAR President
John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota, and broker at Edina Realty. 'The new condominium loan policies, as well as other reforms NAR is pursuing within our housing finance system, will allow even more families and individuals in this country to reach the American Dream of homeownership.'..."

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Housing Starts During August 2019

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released its Housing Starts report for August 2019:

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,251,000
Actual: 1,364,000

Change From Previous Month: +12.263% (+149,000 units)
Change From One Year Previous: +6.646% (+85,000 units)

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,300,000
Actual: 1,419,000

Change From Previous Month: +7.745% (+102,000 units)
Change From One Year Previous: +11.997% (+152,000 units)

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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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Chart: Housing Starts - August 2019 Update
Chart: Housing Starts - August 2019 Update
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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Industrial Production + Manufacturing + Capacity Utilization During August 2019

The Industrial Production, Manufacturing and Capacity Utilization numbers for August 2019 were released by the Federal Reserve this morning:

Industrial Production:
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.6%

Manufacturing:
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.5%

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: 77.6%
Actual: 77.9

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 rose 0.6 percent in August after declining 0.1 percent in July. Manufacturing production increased 0.5 percent, more than reversing its decrease in July. Factory output has increased 0.2 percent per month over the past four months after having decreased 0.5 percent per month during the first four months of the year. In August, the indexes for utilities and mining moved up 0.6 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively. At 109.9 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 0.4 percent higher in August than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.4 percentage point in August to 77.9 percent, a rate that is 1.9 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2018) average..."

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Friday, September 13, 2019

U.S. Retail And Food Services Sales Report for August 2019

The Commerce Department this morning released advance estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales for August 2019:

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.361% (+$1,892,000,000)

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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  • Estimated Retail Sales During August 2019: $526,057,000,000
  • Change From 12 Months Previous: +4.135% (+$20,890,000,000)

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Chart: Retail Sales - August 2019 Update
Chart: Retail Sales - August 2019 Update

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Import and Export Price Indexes for August 2019

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its report on U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes for August 2019:

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Import Prices
Predicted: -0.5%
Actual: -0.5%

Change From 12 Months Previous: -2.0%

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Export Prices
Predicted: -0.1%
Actual: -0.6%

Change From 12 Months Previous: -1.4%

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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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Chart: Import Price Index - August 2019 Update
Chart: Import Price Index - August 2019 Update

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Chart: Export Price Index - August 2019 Update
Chart: Export Price Index - August 2019 Update

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