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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Monday, February 29, 2016

Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey for February 2016

Earlier today, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas  (Dallas Fed) released the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey for this month (February 2016):

Production Index: -8.5

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General Business Activity Index
Predicted: -30.0
Actual: -31.8

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Any figure below zero implies that manufacturing in the region is contracting, and vice versa.

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

  • Last month, the Production Index was -10.2.

From today's report:

"...Texas factory activity contracted again in February, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, remained negative but edged up from -10.2 to -8.5, suggesting output declined but at a slightly softer pace than in January.

Most other indexes of current manufacturing activity also indicated further contraction in February. The new orders index fell 8 points to -17.6, reaching its lowest level since May 2009, when Texas was in recession. The growth rate of orders index remained strongly negative at -17.4. The capacity utilization index was largely unchanged at -8.2. Meanwhile, the shipments index rose 10 points to -1.1 after plunging last month.

Perceptions of broader business conditions remained strongly negative in February. The general business activity index has been negative for more than a year and came in at -31.8, up slightly from the January reading. The company outlook index posted a third negative reading in a row but edged up to -17.4. More than a quarter of manufacturers noted their outlook had worsened from January..."

About this survey, from the Dallas Fed website:

"...The Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey (TMOS) is a monthly survey of area manufacturers. Firm executives report on how business conditions have changed for a number of indicators, such as production, new orders, employment, prices and company outlook. Respondents are also asked to report on how they perceive broader economic conditions to have changed (general business activity). For all questions, participants are asked whether the indicator has increased, decreased or remained unchanged. Answers cover changes over the previous month and expectations for activity six months into the future. Participants are given the opportunity to submit comments on current issues that may be affecting their business.

About 100 manufacturers regularly participate in TMOS, which began collecting data in mid-2004. Respondents are broadly representative of manufacturing subsectors in the state economy. TMOS questionnaires are electronically transmitted to respondents in the middle of each month, and answers are collected over seven business days.

Survey responses are used to calculate an index for each indicator. Each index is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents reporting a decrease from the percentage reporting an increase. When the share of firms reporting an increase exceeds the share of firms reporting a decrease, the index will be greater than zero, suggesting the indicator has increased over the prior month. If the share of firms reporting a decrease exceeds the share reporting an increase, the index will be below zero, suggesting the indicator has decreased over the prior month. An index will be zero when the number of firms reporting an increase is equal to the number of firms reporting a decrease. Indexes are seasonally adjusted as needed...

...Texas is important to the nation’s manufacturing output. The state produced $159 billion in manufactured goods in 2008, roughly 9.5% of the country’s manufacturing output. Texas ranks second behind California in factory production and first as an exporter of manufactured goods.

Texas turns out a large share of the country’s production of petroleum and coal products, reflecting the significance of the region’s refining industry. Texas also produces over 10 percent of the nation’s computer and electronics products and nonmetallic mineral products, such as brick, glass and cement..."

Click here to view the full Dallas Fed report.


For a national perspective on manufacturing in the United States, check out the Institute of Supply Management's Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI).

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Friday, February 26, 2016

PCE Price Index + Personal Income + Consumer Spending Report for January 2016

Earlier today, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its report on The PCE Price Index, Consumer Spending and Personal Income for January 2016:

Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.5%

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

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

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Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index
Predicted: 0.0%
Actual: +0.1%

  • Change from 12 months ago: +1.3%
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Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.3%

  • Change from 12 months ago: +1.7%
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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.

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

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Consumer Sentiment: Final Result for February 2016

The Consumer Sentiment (final result) reading for February 2016 was released today:

Predicted: 91.0
Actual: 91.7

Change from last month: -0.33%
Change from one year ago: -3.88%

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The Consumer Sentiment Index is compiled on a monthly basis by the University of Michigan; 500 U.S. households are queried about their own financial circumstances and about the economy in general. 200 questions are asked, e.g. "Do you think that right now is a good time to purchase a major household item, like a new microwave oven, TV set, or a new sofa?"

The Consumer Sentiment Index uses a 1966 baseline, i.e. for 1966, the Consumer Sentiment Index = 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 Consumer Sentiment Index is similar to the Consumer Confidence Index in that they both measure consumer attitudes and offer insight into consumer spending.

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

Last month's Consumer Sentiment reading was 92.0.

Click here to view the full University of Michigan report.

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "Preliminary" Released Today for Q4 2015

U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "preliminary" report for the fourth quarter of 2015 was released this morning by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA):

Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +1.0%

The highlighted percentage represents the quarter-to-quarter change in the Gross Domestic Product for the United States (preliminary = second estimate.)  The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

The final GDP report for Q4 2015, which will contain the most authoritative data for the fourth quarter, will be released on March 25, 2016.

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."

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

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of February 20, 2016

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on February 20, 2016:

Predicted: 270,000
Actual: 272,000

The 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.

Last Week: 262,000 (unrevised.)

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Durable Goods Orders Report for January 2016

The Durable Goods Orders report for January 2016 was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: +2.0%
Actual: +4.9%

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Change from 12 months ago: +1.8%

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The  highlighted figure represents the month-to-month change in orders for durable or hard goods for immediate or future delivery from U.S. manufacturers. Examples of durable goods: cars, airplanes, computers, furniture -- items that are built to last at least three years.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure. The Durable Goods Orders report is produced by the Commerce Department.

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

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of February 19, 2016

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on February 19, 2016 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +3,500,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +73,500,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 507,600,000 Barrels

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

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

Click here for a more detailed summary of The Week in Petroleum.

Click here for weekly crude oil prices. 

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New Home Sales for January 2016

The January 2016 New Home Sales report was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: 520,000
Actual New Home Sales: 494,000

Change from One Month Ago: -9.2%
Change from One Year Ago: -5.2%

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Median Price for a New Home during January: $278,800

Average Price for a New Home during January: $365,700

Click here for historical prices and a chart.

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Compiled jointly by the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the monthly New Home Sales report measures the number of newly-built homes with committed buyers during 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.

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

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Existing Home Sales for January 2016

The Existing Home Sales report for January 2016 was released by The National Association of Realtors® this morning:

Predicted: 5,320,000
Actual: 5,470,000

Change from One Month Previous: +0.4%
Change from One Year Ago: +11.0%

The "actual" figure above represents the preliminary, seasonally adjusted annual sales count of existing homes, co-ops and condominiums for last 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 In  January 2016: $213,800
Change from One Year Ago: +8.2%

Average Price for A Used Home In  January 2016: $257,500
Change from One Year Ago: +4.8%

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Click here for historical prices and a chart.

The monthly Existing Home Sales report is released on or around the 25TH day of each month.

Click here to view the full NAR report.

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Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for February 2016

The Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) for this month (February 2016) was released by The Conference Board® this morning:

Predicted: 97.2
Actual: 92.2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last month, the CCI was 97.8 (revised.)

Click here to view the full Conference Board report.

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January 2016

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January 2016:

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Predicted: -0.1%
Actual: 0.0%

(Change from 12 months ago: +1.4%)

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

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.3%

(Change from 12 months ago: +2.2%)

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

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

General categories that constitute the CPI are:

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

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of February 12, 2016

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on February 12, 2016 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +2,100,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +78,500,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 504,100,000 Barrels

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

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

Click here for a more detailed summary of The Week in Petroleum.

Click here for weekly crude oil prices.

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Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey for February 2016

Earlier today, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released its diffuse index of current manufacturing conditions for this month (February 2016):

Predicted: -2.5
Actual: -2.8

The "actual" figure above is an index of current manufacturing conditions within the Federal Reserve's Third District, which includes eastern Pennsylvania, all of Delaware and the southern half of New Jersey. Any figure below zero implies that manufacturing in the region is contracting, and vice versa.

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

Click here to view the full Philadelphia Fed report.

  • Last month, the actual figure was -3.5.

For a national perspective of manufacturing conditions, check out the Institute of Supply Management's Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI).

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Index of Leading Economic Indicators for January 2016

The Conference Board® release its Index of Leading Economic Indicators for January 2016 this morning:

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Index for January: 123.2 (The baseline 100 score is associated with 2010 data.)

Predicted: -0.2%
Actual: -0.2%

Last month (revised): -0.3%

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The 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 Leading Economic Indicators Index 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.  The Money Supply (M2)

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

  7. Manufacturer's new orders for non-defense capital goods

  8. Average weekly manufacturing hours

  9. The Index of Consumer Expectations

  10. Leading Credit Index™

Click here to view the full Conference Board report.

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of February 13, 2016

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on February 13, 2016:

Predicted: n/a
Actual: 262,000

The 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.

Last Week: 269,000 (revised.)

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Industrial Production for January 2016

The Industrial Production numbers for January 2016 were released by the Federal Reserve this morning:

Industrial Production:
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.9%

Manufacturing:
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.5%

The above numbers (highlighted) 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: 76.7%
Actual: 77.1

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.

Click here to view the full Federal Reserve report.

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Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for January 2016

The Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for January 2016 was released this morning:

Predicted: -0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

Change from 12 months ago: -0.2%

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

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.4%

Change from 12 months ago: +0.6%

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The above numbers (highlighted) 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.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Housing Starts During January 2016

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released the Housing Starts report for January 2016:

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,175,000
Actual: 1,099,000

Change From Previous Month: -3.8%
Change From One Year Ago: +1.8%

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,224,000
Actual: 1,202,000

Change From Previous Month: -0.2%
Change From One Year Ago: +13.5%

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The above is a measure of initial construction of single and multi-family residential units in the United States for the indicated month. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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

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

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Empire State Manufacturing Survey for February 2016

Earlier today, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York  (NY Fed) released the Empire State Manufacturing Survey for this month (February 2016):

Predicted: -10.0
Actual: -16.64

Any figure below zero implies that manufacturing in the region is contracting, and vice versa.

About this survey, from the NY Fed website:

"...Participants from across the state in a variety of industries respond to a questionnaire and report the change in a variety of indicators from the previous month. Respondents also state the likely direction of these same indicators six months ahead..."

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

From today's report:

"...Business activity declined for a seventh consecutive month for New York manufacturing firms, according to the February 2016 survey. After dropping to its lowest level since the Great Recession in January, the general business conditions index edged up three points to -16.6..."

Click here to view the full NY Fed report.

  • Last month, the actual figure was -19.37.

For a national perspective on manufacturing in the United States, check out the Institute of Supply Management's Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI).

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Consumer Sentiment: Preliminary Estimate for February 2016

The Consumer Sentiment (preliminary estimate) reading for February 2016 was released today:

Predicted: 92.5
Actual: 90.7

Month-over-month change: -1.4%
Year-over-year change: -4.9%

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The Consumer Sentiment Index is compiled on a monthly basis by the University of Michigan; 500 U.S. households are queried about their own financial circumstances and about the economy in general. 200 questions are asked, e.g. "Do you think that right now is a good time to purchase a major household item, like a new microwave oven, TV set, or a new sofa?"

The Consumer Sentiment Index uses a 1966 baseline, i.e. for 1966, the Consumer Sentiment Index = 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 Consumer Sentiment Index is similar to the Consumer Confidence Index in that they both measure consumer attitudes and offer insight into consumer spending.

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

The previous Consumer Sentiment reading was 92.0.

Click here to view the full University of Michigan report.

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Import and Export Price Indexes for January 2016

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its report on US Import and Export Price Indexes for January 2016:

Import Prices
Predicted: -1.4%
Actual: -1.1%

Last Month (revised): -1.1%

Change From 12 Months Ago: -6.2%

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Export Prices
Predicted: -0.6%
Actual:
-0.8%

Last Month: -1.1

Change From 12 Months Ago: -5.7%

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The above percentages 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 and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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U.S. Retail & Food Services Sales Report for January 2016

The Commerce Department this morning released advanced estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales for January 2016:

Predicted: 0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

The above percentages represent 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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Last Month (revised): +0.2%

Estimated Retail Sales for January: $449,900,000,000

Change from 12 Months Ago: +3.4%

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

Click here to view the full report.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of February 6, 2016

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on February 6, 2016:

Predicted: 281,000
Actual: 269,000

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

Last Week: 285,000

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Friday, February 05, 2016

Employment Situation Report for January 2016

The Employment Situation Report for January 2016 was released by The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +188,000
Actual: +151,000


Unemployment Rate
Predicted: 5.0%
Actual: 4.9%

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.47%

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: 62.7%
Previous Month: 62.6%

Average Workweek
Predicted: 34.5 hrs
Actual: 34.6 hrs

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:

"...The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised from +252,000 to +280,000, and the change for December was revised from +292,000 to +262,000. With these revisions, employment gains in November and December combined were 2,000 lower than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 231,000 per month...In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 12 cents to $25.39..."[Establishment Survey Data]


"...Both the number of unemployed persons, at 7.8 million, and the unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent, changed little in January. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were down by 1.1 million and 0.8 percentage point, respectively..."[Household Survey Data]


Click here to view the full Department of Labor report

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

U.S. Factory Orders Report for December 2015

The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released their report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders -- also known as Factory Orders -- for December 2015:

Predicted: -2.8%
Actual: -2.9%

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

Previous Month (revised): -0.7.

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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Productivity and Labor Cost Report for Q4 2015 Released Today (Preliminary)

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) this morning released its quarterly report on Productivity and Unit Labor Costs for the fourth quarter of 2015 (preliminary data):

Nonfarm Productivity
Predicted: -1.8%
Actual: -3.0%

Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: +4.4%
Actual: +4.5%

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

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

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

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

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

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of January 30, 2016

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on January 30, 2016:

Predicted: 280,000
Actual: 285,000

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

Last Week (revised): 277,000

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Challenger Report on Corporate Layoffs for January 2016

Earlier today, the global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc. released its report on Corporate Layoffs for January 2016:

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Job Cuts Announced During January 2016: 75,114
Last month: 23,622
Change from last month: +218%

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If corporate layoffs are high, consumer spending may decline, since there would be fewer people with steady jobs.

When corporate layoffs are low, this can mean that the job market is relatively tight, which can be a harbinger of wage inflation.

Click here to read the full Challenger, Gray and Christmas report.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of January 29, 2016

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on January 29, 2016 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +7,800,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +89,700,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 502,700,000 Barrels

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

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

Click here for a more detailed summary of The Week in Petroleum.

Click here for weekly crude oil prices.

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Monday, February 01, 2016

ISM Manufacturing Index for January 2016

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released their Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) for January 2016:

Predicted: 48.3%
Actual: 48.2%

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 factory sector contracted.

Last month, the PMI was 48.0% (revised.)

The following is a sampling of quotes from a diverse pool of U.S. manufacturers:


    "The oil and gas sector continues to be challenged by low oil and gas prices. Risk of suppliers filing for bankruptcy and reducing their workforce is becoming an increasing risk. Our company workforce is also declining."
(Petroleum and Coal Products)


"Business this month [is] better than last month and better than this period last year. Reduced oil and basic chemical prices providing favorable margin comparisons."
(Chemical Products)


"Huge rollout in wireless in 2016 across all markets. We should be very, very busy."
(Computer and Electronic Products)


"We are a bit slower, but staying busy."
(Fabricated Metal Products)

"Business is still strong, but slowing."
(Transportation Equipment)
"2016 starting off with strong orders."
(Primary Metals)
"Market is sluggish to start the year."
(Wood Products)

"Medical device continues to be strong."
(Miscellaneous Manufacturing)


"Much worldwide macroeconomic uncertainty affecting our business. Business confidence seems low."
(Food, Beverage and Tobacco Products)


"Overall demand is higher than expected for post-holiday season."
(Plastics and Rubber Products)


Click here to view the complete ISM report.

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PCE Price Index + Personal Income + Consumer Spending Report for December 2015

Earlier today, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis released its report on The PCE Price Index, Consumer Spending and Personal Income for December 2015:

Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: 0.0%

Personal Income
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.3%

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

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Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index
Predicted: 0.0%
Actual: -0.1%

  • Change from 12 months ago: +0.6%
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Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: 0.0%

  • Change from 12 months ago: +1.4%
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The 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 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.

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

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