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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, August 17, 2018

Leading Economic Index for July 2018

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

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Index for July: 110.7 (The baseline 100 score is associated with 2016 data.)

Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.636%

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  • June 2018 Reading: 110.0 (+0.548%)

  • May 2018 Reading: 109.4 (+0.091%)

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The yellow-highlighted percentage represents 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 - July 2018 Update
Chart: Leading Economic Index - July 2018 Update

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From Today's Report:

"...'The U.S. LEI increased in July, suggesting the US economy will continue expanding at a solid pace for the remainder of this year,' said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. 'The strengths among the components of the leading index were very widespread, with unemployment claims, the financial components, and the ISM® New Orders Index making the largest positive contributions.'..."

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    Thursday, August 16, 2018

    Housing Starts During July 2018

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

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    Housing Starts:
    Predicted: 1,271,000
    Actual: 1,168,000

    Change From Previous Month: +0.9%
    Change From One Year Previous: -1.4%

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

    Building Permits:
    Predicted: 1,307,000
    Actual: 1,311,000

    Change From Previous Month: +1.5%
    Change From One Year Previous: +4.2%

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

    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 - July 2018 Update
    Housing Starts - July 2018 Update

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    New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of August 11, 2018

    Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on August 11, 2018:

    Predicted: 215,000
    Actual: 212,000

    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): 214,000
    • 4-Week Moving Average: 215,500
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    Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of August 10, 2018

    The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on August 10, 2018 was released this morning:

    -- Change from Last Week: +6,800,000 Barrels

    -- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -52,300,000 Barrels

    -- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 414,200,000 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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    Industrial Production + Manufacturing + Capacity Utilization During July 2018

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

    Industrial Production:
    Predicted: +0.3%
    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: 78.1

    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 percent in July after rising at an average pace of 0.5 percent over the previous five months. Manufacturing production increased 0.3 percent, the output of utilities moved down 0.5 percent, and, after posting five consecutive months of growth, the index for mining declined 0.3 percent. At 108.0 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 4.2 percent higher in July than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector was unchanged in July at 78.1 percent, a rate that is 1.7 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average..."



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    Productivity and Labor Costs Report for Q2 2018 (Preliminary)

    The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) this morning released its quarterly report on Productivity and Unit Labor Costs for the second quarter of 2018 (preliminary):

    Nonfarm Productivity
    Predicted: +2.5%
    Actual: +2.9%

    Change from A Year Ago: +1.3%

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

    Unit Labor Costs
    Predicted: -0.2%
    Actual: -0.9%

    Change from A Year Ago: +1.9%

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

    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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    U.S. Retail And Food Services Sales Report for July 2018

    The Commerce Department this morning released advance estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales for July 2018:

    Predicted: +0.1%
    Actual: +0.5119% (+$2,585,000,000)

    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.

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

    -- Estimated Retail Sales During July 2018: $507,533,000,000

    -- Change from 12 Months Previous: +6.41% (+$30,572,000,000)

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

    -- Previous Month (revised): +0.197% (+$993,000,000)

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    Chart: Retail Sales - July 2018 Update
    Chart: Retail Sales - July 2018 Update

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    Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Import and Export Price Indexes for July 2018

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

    Import Prices
    Predicted: +0.1%
    Actual: Unchanged (0.0%)

    Change From 12 Months Previous: +4.8%

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

    Export Prices
    Predicted: +0.2%
    Actual: -0.5%

    Change From 12 Months Previous: +4.3%

    ===============
     
    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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    Friday, August 10, 2018

    Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July 2018

    Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for  July 2018:

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    Predicted: +0.2%
    Actual: +0.2%

    (Change from 12 months previous: +2.9%)

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

    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: +2.4%)

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

    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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    Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI) - July 2018 Update
    Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI) - July 2018 Update

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    Thursday, August 09, 2018

    New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of August 4, 2018

    Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on August 4, 2018:

    Predicted: 220,000
    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): 219,000
    • 4-Week Moving Average: 214,250
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    Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for July 2018

    The Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for July 2018 was released this morning:

    Predicted: +0.3%
    Actual: Unchanged (0.0%)

    Change from 12 months previous: +3.3%

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

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

    Predicted: +0.3%
    Actual: +0.1%

    Change from 12 months previous: +2.7%

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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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    Wednesday, August 08, 2018

    Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of August 3, 2018

    The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on August 3, 2018 was released this morning:

    -- Change from Last Week: -1,400,000 Barrels

    -- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -68,000,000 Barrels

    -- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 407,400,000 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, August 07, 2018

    Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for June 2018

    The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for June 2018 was released by the Labor Department this morning:

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    Job Openings

    Predicted: 6,650,000
    Actual:    6,662,000

    • Previous Month (revised): 6,659,000

    • One Year Previous: 6,125,000

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    Hires: 5,651,000

    Total Separations: 5,502,000

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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, August 03, 2018

    Employment Situation Report for July 2018

    The Employment Situation Report for July 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: +157,000


    U-3 Unemployment Rate (Headline)
    Actual: 3.9%
    Previous Month: 4.0%
    12 Months Previous: 4.3%

    U-6 Unemployment Rate*
    Actual: 7.5%
    Previous Month: 7.8%
    12 Months Previous: 8.5%



    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.


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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, August 02, 2018

    New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of July 28, 2018

    Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on July 28, 2018:

    Predicted: 218,000
    Actual: 218,000

    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): 217,000
    • 4-Week Moving Average: 214,500
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    Tuesday, July 31, 2018

    Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for July 2018

    The Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) for this month (July 2018) was released by The Conference Board® this morning:

    Predicted: 127.0
    Actual: 127.4

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

    Previous Month (revised): 127.1.
     
    •  Change from Previous Month: +0.236% (+0.3 point)
    ==========

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

    From Today's Report:

    "...'Consumer confidence gained marginal ground in July, after a modest decline in June,' said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 'Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions improved, suggesting that economic growth is still strong. However, while expectations continue to reflect optimism in the short-term economic outlook, back-to-back declines suggest consumers do not foresee growth accelerating.'

    Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved further in July. Those stating business conditions are 'good' increased from 37.2 percent to 38.0 percent, while those saying business conditions are 'bad' declined from 11.5 percent to 10.1 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more favorable. Those claiming jobs are 'plentiful' increased from 40.4 percent to 43.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are 'hard to get' was virtually unchanged at 15.0 percent.

    Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook waned again in July. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 20.7 percent to 23.1 percent, but those expecting business conditions will worsen also rose, from 9.3 percent to 10.8 percent.

    Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 20.0 percent to 22.5 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs also increased, from 13.1 percent to 15.7 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement rose from 19.7 percent to 20.8 percent, but the proportion expecting a decrease also rose, from 7.9 percent to 9.2 percent.
    .."

    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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    Employment Cost Index for Q2, 2018

    The Employment Cost Index (ECI) for the second quarter of 2018 was released by The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

    Predicted: +0.7%
    Actual: +0.6%


    • Reading from previous quarter: +0.8%
       
    • Change from 12 months previous (Y/Y): +2.8%


    The yellow-highlighter figure represents the seasonally adjusted, quarter-to-quarter change for the ECI, which is the Labor Department's broadest measure of employee-compensation costs, and includes wages, salaries and benefits.

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

    • Wages and Salaries: +0.5%

    • Change from 12 months previous (Y/Y): +2.8% 

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

    • Benefits: +0.9%

    • Change from 12 months previous (Y/Y): +2.9% 

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


    From the Labor Department website:


    "...The Employment Cost Index (ECI) measures the change in the cost of labor, free from the influence of employment shifts among occupations and industries..."

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    Employment Cost Index - Q2, 2018 Update
    Employment Cost Index - Q2, 2018 Update

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

    • The ECI report for September 2018 will be released on October 31, 2018.



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    PCE Price Index + Personal Income + Consumer Spending Report for June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

    • Disposable Personal Income, Current Dollars:  +0.4%
    • Disposable Personal Income, 2009 Chained* Dollars +0.3% 

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

    The 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.


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

    Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index
    Predicted: +0.1%
    Actual: +0.1%

    • Change from 12 months previous: +2.2%
    =====================

    Core PCE Price Index
    ( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
    Predicted: +0.2%
    Actual: +0.1%

    • Change from 12 months previous: +1.9%
    =====================

    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.

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

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


     =====================

     =====================

    *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 2009 as the base year.


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    Friday, July 27, 2018

    Consumer Sentiment: Final Result for July 2018

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

    Predicted: 97.1
    Actual: 97.9

    • Change from Previous Month: -0.305% (-0.3 point)
    • Change from 12 Months Previous: +4.818% (+4.5 points)

    =========

    Previous Month's Final ICS Reading: 98.2

    ========= 

    From today's report:


    "...Consumer sentiment posted a trivial 0.3 point one-month decline, remaining a half of an Index-point or less from the average in the prior twelve months (97.7) or since the start of 2017 (97.4). Despite the expectation of higher inflation and higher interest rates during the year ahead, consumers have kept their confidence at high levels due to favorable job and income prospects. This mix of positive and negative expectations is similar to past expansions, and, as in the past, it will prevail as long as increases in inflation and interest rate hikes remain modest. What is unique about the current situation is the potential impact of tariffs on the domestic economy.

    Concerns about tariffs greatly accelerated in the July survey. Across all households, 35% spontaneously mentioned that the tariffs would have a negative economic impact in July, up from 21% in June and 15% in May. Consumers who had negative concerns about the tariffs voiced a much more pessimistic economic outlook, had inflation expectations that were 0.6 percentage points higher than those who hadn't mentioned tariffs, and were more likely to anticipate that the unemployment rate would rise during the year ahead. Of course, these negative economic expectations could quickly disappear if the trade issues with Europe are promptly settled and immediately followed by agreements with China, Canada, and Mexico. Resolution is critical to forestall decreases in consumer discretionary spending as a precaution against a worsening economy..."

    =========

    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?"

    =========


    =========

    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.

    =========

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

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    Gross Domestic Product (GDP): First Estimate for Q2, 2018

    The U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "Advance" (first estimate) report for the second quarter of 2018 was released this morning by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA):

    Predicted: +4.2%
    Actual: +4.1%

    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.

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


    Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - Q2 2018 - First Estimate
    Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - Q2 2018 - First Estimate

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


    • On August 29, 2018, the Commerce Department will release a "preliminary" GDP report for Q2 2018, which will contain a second estimate (more accurate data.)

    • On September 27, 2018, a "final" GDP report will be released by the BEA, which will contain the government's third and best estimate for Q2 2018.

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