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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 26, 2016

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on March 26, 2016:

Predicted: 266,000
Actual: 276,000

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: 265,000 (unrevised.)

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 25, 2016

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on March 25, 2016 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +2,300,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +63,400,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 534,800,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translates 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 the full Week in Petroleum report.

Click here for weekly crude oil prices.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for March 2016

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

Predicted: 94.0
Actual: 96.2

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 94.0 (revised.)

Click here to view the full Conference Board report.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey for March 2016

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

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Production Index: +3.3

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General Business Activity Index: -13.6

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

  • Last month, the Production Index was -8.5

  • Last month, the General Business Activity Index was -31.8

From today's report:

"...Texas factory activity expanded slightly in March, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rebounded to positive territory this month—coming in at 3.3—after two months of negative readings.

Other indexes of current manufacturing activity also rose this month, although some remained in contractionary territory. The new orders index jumped 13 points but was still negative at -4.8, suggesting demand continued to fall but at a slower pace than last month. The growth rate of orders index has been negative since October 2014, although it did rise in March, to -11.7. The capacity utilization index bounced back to positive territory after negative readings so far this year, coming in at 3.3. Shipment volumes were largely unchanged this month as the shipments index remained near zero.

Perceptions of broader business conditions remained negative but showed signs of slight stabilization in March. The general business activity index jumped 18 points but remained negative for a 15th month, posting a reading of -13.6. The company outlook index posted a fourth negative reading in a row but edged up to -11.0.

Labor market indicators reflected continued decline in March. The employment index was largely unchanged at -10.3, with 12 percent of firms noting net hiring and 22 percent noting net layoffs. The hours worked index remained negative for a third month in a row but edged up to -5.6.

Price pressures were mixed and wages continued to rise. Abatement in downward pressure on input costs was seen in March, as the raw materials prices index moved up to zero. The finished goods prices index has been negative for more than a year and edged up to -8.2 this month. Meanwhile, the wages and benefits index stayed positive and rose from 12.3 to 14.7, suggesting a slightly accelerated rise in compensation.

Expectations regarding future business conditions improved in March. The index of future general business activity came in at 6.1, its first positive reading in four months. The index for future company outlook posted a second positive reading, at 11.6. Indexes for future manufacturing activity remained in solid positive territory..."

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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PCE Price Index + Personal Income + Consumer Spending Report for February 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 February 2016:

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

Personal Income
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.2%

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: -0.1%
Actual: -0.1%

  • Change from 12 months ago: +1.0%
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Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

  • Change from 12 months 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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Friday, March 25, 2016

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

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

Predicted: +1.0%
Actual: +1.4%

The above percentages represent the quarter-to-quarter change in the Gross Domestic Product for the United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Today's final GDP report contains the most authoritative data for Q4, 2015.

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, March 24, 2016

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 19, 2016

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on March 19, 2016:

Predicted: 268,000
Actual: 265,000

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: 259,000 (revised.)

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Durable Goods Orders Report for February 2016

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

Predicted: -3.0%
Actual: -2.8%

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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, March 23, 2016

New Home Sales for February 2016

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

Predicted: 510,000
Actual New Home Sales: 512,000

Change from One Month Ago: +2.0%
Change from One Year Ago: -6.1%

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Median Price for a New Home during February: $301,400

Average Price for a New Home during February: $348,900

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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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 18, 2016

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on March 18, 2016 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +9,400,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +65,900,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 532,500,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translates 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 the full Week in Petroleum report.

Click here for weekly crude oil prices.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Existing Home Sales for February 2016

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

Predicted: 5,305,000
Actual: 5,080,000

Change from Last Month: -7.1%
Change from One Year Ago: +2.2%

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 February 2016: $210,800
Change from One Year Ago: +4.4%

Average Price for A Used Home In February 2016: $253,900
Change from One Year Ago: +2.5%

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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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Friday, March 18, 2016

Consumer Sentiment: Preliminary Estimate for March 2016

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

Predicted: 92.2
Actual: 90.0

Month-over-month change: -1.85%
Year-over-year change: -3.23%

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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 91.7.

Click here to view the full University of Michigan report.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Index of Leading Economic Indicators for February 2016

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

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

Last month (revised): -0.2%

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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 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. 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™

Click here to view the full Conference Board report.

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Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey for March 2016

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

Predicted: -1.4
Actual: +12.4

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 -2.8.

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

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 12, 2016

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on March 12, 2016:

Predicted: 270,000
Actual: 265,000

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: 258,000 (revised.)

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 11, 2016

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on March 11, 2016 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +1,300,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +64,700,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 523,200,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translates 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 the full Week in Petroleum report.

Click here for weekly crude oil prices.

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Industrial Production for February 2016

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

Industrial Production:
Predicted: -0.2%
Actual: -0.5%

Manufacturing:
Predicted: 0.0%
Actual: +0.2%

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: 76.9%
Actual: 76.7

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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Housing Starts During February 2016

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

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,146,000
Actual: 1,178,000

Change From Previous Month: +5.2%
Change From One Year Ago: +30.9%

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,202,000
Actual: 1,167,000

Change From Previous Month: -3.1%
Change From One Year Ago: +6.3%

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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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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February 2016

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

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Predicted: -0.3%
Actual: -0.2%

(Change from 12 months ago: +1.0%)

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.3%

(Change from 12 months ago: +2.3%)

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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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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

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

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

Predicted: -0.2%
Actual: -0.2%

Change from 12 months ago: 0.0%

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

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: 0.0%

Change from 12 months ago: +1.2%

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

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

Predicted: -0.1%
Actual: -0.1%

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): -0.4%

Estimated Retail Sales for February: $447,300,000,000

Change from 12 Months Ago: +3.1%

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

Click here to view the full report.

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Empire State Manufacturing Survey for March 2016

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

Predicted: -11.25
Actual: +0.6

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:

"...The March 2016 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business activity steadied for New York manufacturers. The headline general business conditions climbed seventeen points to 0.6, its first positive reading since July of last year. The new orders and shipments indexes rose well above zero for the first time in several months, pointing to an increase in both orders and shipments. Price indexes suggested a slight increase in input prices and a small decline in selling prices. Labor market conditions were little changed, with employment and the average workweek holding fairly steady. The six-month outlook improved, with the index for future new orders rising to its highest level in more than a year..."

Click here to view the full NY Fed report.

  • Last month, the actual figure was -16.6.

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, March 11, 2016

Import and Export Price Indexes for February 2016

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its report on U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes for February 2016:

Import Prices
Predicted: -0.8%
Actual: -0.3%

Last Month (revised): -1.0%

Change From 12 Months Ago: -6.1%

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Export Prices
Predicted: -0.5%
Actual:
-0.4%

Last Month (revised): -0.8%

Change From 12 Months Ago: -6.0%

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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.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 5, 2016

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on March 5, 2016:

Predicted: 272,000
Actual: 259,000

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: 277,000 (revised.)

Click here to view the full Labor Department report

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Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 4, 2016

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on March 4, 2016 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +3,900,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +73,000,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 521,900,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translates 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 the full Week in Petroleum report.

Click here for weekly crude oil prices.

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Friday, March 04, 2016

Employment Situation Report for February 2016

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

Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +190,000
Actual: +242,000


U-3 Unemployment Rate (Official)
Predicted: 4.9%
Actual: 4.9%

U-6 Unemployment Rate*
Actual: 9.7%

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: -0.12%

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

Average Workweek
Predicted: 34.6 hrs
Actual: 34.4 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:

"...In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by 3 cents to $25.35, following an increase of 12 cents in January. Average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent over the year. In February, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees were unchanged at $21.32...


...The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +262,000 to +271,000, and the change for January was revised from +151,000 to +172,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January combined were 30,000 more than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 228,000 per month..."[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."

Click here to view the full Department of Labor report.

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Thursday, March 03, 2016

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

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 (revised data):

Nonfarm Productivity
Predicted: -3.2%
Actual: -2.2%

Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: +4.7%
Actual: +3.3%

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

For Nonfarm 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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U.S. Factory Orders Report for January 2016

The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released their report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders -- also known as Factory Orders -- for January 2016:

Predicted: +2.0%
Actual: +1.6%

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: -2.9.

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of February 27, 2016

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on February 27, 2016:

Predicted: 270,000
Actual: 278,000

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: 272,000 (unrevised.)

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of February 26, 2016

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on February 26, 2016 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +10,400,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +73,600,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 518,600,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translates 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 the full Week in Petroleum report.

Click here for weekly crude oil prices.

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Tuesday, March 01, 2016

ISM Manufacturing Index for February 2016

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

Predicted: 48.5%
Actual: 49.5%

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

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

The previous PMI reading was 48.2%.

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

  • "Low oil prices and reduced activity continue affecting our business."
    (Petroleum and Coal Products)

  • "U.S. business demand is solid; international demand is soft."
    (Chemical Products)

  • "Mobility spend is up."
    (Computer and Electronic Products)

  • "Business has to get better. And it appears it is. Healthy backlog for 2016."
    (Fabricated Metal Products)

  • "Very strong demand for product. Material availability very good and commodity pricing continues to be depressed."
    (Machinery)

  • "Airlines are still ordering planes and spare parts for plane galleys."
    (Transportation Equipment)

  • "Market is beginning to trend up with spring season on its way."
    (Wood Products)

  • "Not seeing impact from global economic volatility or oil prices. Business is strong and growth projections remain the same."
    (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

  • "Orders are coming in stronger than expected."
    (Furniture and Related Products)

  • "Still a bit sluggish."
    (Food, Beverage and Tobacco Products)

Click here to view the complete ISM report.

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Construction Spending During January 2016

Earlier today, the U.S. Census Bureau -- which is part of the Commerce Department -- released the Construction Spending report for January 2016:

Predicted: +0.5%
Actual: +1.5%

The above percentages represent 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.

Change from 12 months ago: +10.4%

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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