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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

U.S. Retail And Food Services Sales Report for July 2017

The Commerce Department this morning released advanced estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales for July 2017:

Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.6%

The yellow-highlighted percentage represents the month-to-month change in total sales receipts for retailers that sell durable and non-durable goods, and retailers that provide food and beverage services.

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Previous Month (revised): +0.3%

Estimated Retail Sales During February: $478,900,000,000

Change from 12 Months Previous: +4.2%

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

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July 2017

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July 2017:

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Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

(Change from 12 months previous: +1.7%)

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

(Change from 12 months previous: +1.7%)

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

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

General categories that constitute the CPI are:

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

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of August 5, 2017

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on August 5, 2017:

Predicted: 241,000
Actual: 244,000

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): 241,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 241,000
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Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for July 2017

The Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for July 2017 was released this morning:

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: -0.1%

Change from 12 months previous: +1.9%

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: -0.1%

Change from 12 months previous: +1.8%

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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 09, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of August 4, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on August 4, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: -6,500,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -17,500,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 475,400,000 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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Productivity and Labor Cost Report for Q2 2017 (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 2017 (preliminary):

Nonfarm Productivity
Predicted: +0.8%
Actual: +0.9%

Reading from Previous Quarter, Revised: +0.1%

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Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: +1.3%
Actual: +0.6%

Reading from Previous Quarter, Revised: +5.4%

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

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Labor Productivity, Q2 2017
Labor Productivity, Q2 2017
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Unit Labor Costs, Q2 2017
Unit Labor Costs, Q2 2017

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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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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) During June 2017

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) during June 2017 was released by the Labor Department this morning:

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Job Openings

Predicted: 5,600,000
Actual:    6,163,000 (All-Time Record High)

  • Previous Month (revised): 5,702,000

  • One Year Previous: 5,535,000

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Hires: 5,356,000

Total Separations: 5,224,000

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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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NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for July 2017

The National Federation of Independent Business® (NFIB®) released its Small Business Optimism Index for July 2017:

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Predicted: 103.2
Actual: 105.2

  • Change from Previous Month: +1.5444%.
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: +11.2051%

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NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - July 2017
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - July 2017
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From today's report:


"...The Index of Small Business Optimism rose 1.6 points to 105.2, preserving the surge in optimism that started the day after the election. Seven of the 10 Index components posted a gain, two declined, and one was unchanged. Since the recession, the Index peaked at 105.9 in January, just 0.7 points above the July reading. Main Street was buoyed by stronger customer demand despite the dysfunction in Washington, D.C. The economy (GDP) grew about 2 percent in the first half of the year, nothing special, but the second quarter was much stronger than the first, and consumer spending was a major contributor to growth. The stock market continues to post record high readings, although a bit inconsistent with moderate growth in output from the nation’s business sector..."

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  • Small business survey questions can be found at the end of today's report.
  • The baseline "100" score is associated with 1986 survey data.
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The previous month's Small Business Optimism Index was 103.6.

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Friday, August 04, 2017

Employment Situation Report for July 2017

The Employment Situation Report for July 2017 was released by The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +178,000
Actual: +209,000


U-3 Unemployment Rate (Headline)
Predicted: 4.3%
Actual: 4.3%

U-6 Unemployment Rate*
Actual: 8.6%
Previous Reading: 8.6%

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.3426%

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: 62.9%
Previous Reading (revised): 62.8%

Average Workweek
Predicted: 34.5 hours
Actual: 34.5 hours

Economist, academics, central bankers and investors pay very close attention to the monthly Employment Situation report as it offers penetrating insight as to the current and near-future state of the overall U.S. economy. If a) Americans are earning more money and b) the economy is creating new jobs, this typically translates to more money being pumped into the economy (and vice versa.)

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

From today's report:

"...In July, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 9 cents to $26.36 [+0.3426%]. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 65 cents, or 2.5%. In July, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 6 cents to $22.10 [+0.2722%].

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised down from +152,000 to +145,000, and the change for June was revised up from +222,000 to +231,000. With these revisions, employment gains in May and June combined were 2,000 more than previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged
195,000 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."

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Thursday, August 03, 2017

U.S. Factory Orders During June 2017

The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released their report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders -- also known as Factory Orders -- for June 2017:

Predicted: +2.7%
Actual: +3.0%

The yellow-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): -0.3%.

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for July 2017

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM®) released their Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for July 2017:

Predicted: 56.9%
Actual: 53.9%

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The NMI is a reliable barometer of the U.S. services sector; above 50% implies expansion, while a reading below 50% implies that the services sector contracted.

Service categories include: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing + Hunting; Mining; Utilities; Construction; Wholesale Trade; Retail Trade; Transportation + Warehousing; Information; Finance + Insurance; Real Estate, Rental + Leasing; Professional, Scientific + Technical Services; Management of Companies + Support Services; Educational Services; Health Care + Social Assistance; Arts, Entertainment + Recreation; Accommodation + Food Services; Public Administration; and Other Services (services such as Equipment + Machinery Repairing; Promoting or Administering Religious Activities; Grantmaking; Advocacy; and Providing Dry-Cleaning + Laundry Services, Personal Care Services, Death Care Services, Pet Care Services, Photofinishing Services, Temporary Parking Services, and Dating Services).

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The previous month's NMI reading was 57.4%.

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From today' report:

"...Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in July for the 91st consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®..."

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Here's a sampling of comments made by survey participants:

  •     "A typical and expected midsummer slowdown in hiring activity by employers is causing a normal slowdown in business for this time of year. We expect a sharp ramp-up of business activity over the next three months."
     (Management of Companies and Support Services)

  •     "Quiet time of year for us, with focus on busy August through December peak season to come."
     (Information)

  •     "Through the first half of 2017, revenue and profits are ahead of projections and holding steady. Minimal expansion expected through year end 2017."
     (Finance and Insurance)

  •     "Business volume slowed some in June."
     (Health Care and Social Assistance)

  •     "We are still experiencing an increased activity level over last month, though the rate of growth seems to be flattening somewhat."
     (Mining)

  •     "Pork bellies trending higher in price. Beef, specifically grilling meats, still remain a bit high, even after the Fourth of July holiday. Some Asian vegetables are in short supply due to local grower issues."
     (Accommodation and Food Services)

  •     "Business in third quarter is looking up, but it may be delayed from slower than expected second quarter. The next couple of months will determine the outcome."
     (Professional, Scientific and Technical Services)

  •     "Overall business conditions remained stable and flat from the previous month."
     (Retail Trade)

  •     "In general, a very stable sales month; flat to very slight increases in activity. Some slight price declines for products."
     (Wholesale Trade)

Click here to view the complete ISM report


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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of July 29, 2017

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on July 29, 2017:

Predicted: 244,000
Actual: 240,000

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): 245,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 241,750
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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of July 28, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on July 28, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: -1,500,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -10,000,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 481,900,000 Barrels

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

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

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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Construction Spending During June 2017

Earlier today, the U.S. Census Bureau -- which is part of the Commerce Department -- released its Construction Spending report for June 2017:

Predicted: +0.5%
Actual: -1.3%

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

  • Previous Month (revised): +0.3%.
  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.6%.

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report

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ISM Manufacturing Index for July 2017

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) released their Manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI®) for July 2017:

Predicted: 56.2%
Actual: 56.3%

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 month's PMI reading was 57.8%.

From Today's Report:

"... Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in July, and the overall economy grew for the 98th consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®..."

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



  •     "Orders are strong, and quote activity is just as strong. Gearing up for [a] strong third quarter."
     (Chemical Products)

  •     "In regard to sales, we have had our best year ever. Demand still exceeds supply in our category. Competitors are investing in capital expansion."
     (Food, Beverage and Tobacco Products)

  •     "We are having huge sales numbers, and backlog is growing."
     (Computer and Electronic Products)

  •     "Strong demand for our products has our manufacturing plants focusing on uptime and production."
     (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)

  •     "Export orders are continuing to strengthen. The understatement is how stable domestic business is as well."
     (Wood Products)

  •     "Business is very steady, but everyone is waiting till the last minute to place their orders."
     (Machinery)

  •     "Six profitable months in a row. First time since 2007."
     (Fabricated Metal Products)

  •     "Starting to see better order entry and planning on turnaround for 2018."
     (Electrical Equipment, Appliances and Components)

  •     "Business has picked up the last few months, but next month is a bit slower — could be cyclical."
     (Plastics and Rubber Products)

  •     "Labor shortages are pretty universal, leading to longer lead times through the supply chain. Pricing pressure as community clamors for premium capacity."
     (Transportation Equipment)


Click here to view the complete ISM report

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PCE Price Index + Personal Income + Consumer Spending Report for June 2017

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its report on The PCE Price Index, Consumer Spending and Personal Income for June 2017:

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

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Personal Income
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: 0.0%


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: 0.0%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.4%
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Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.1%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.5%
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The yellow-highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in the prices associated with domestic personal consumption.  The PCE Price Index is different from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in that it is a very broad measure of the prices associated with domestic products and services, while the CPI measures a more limited fixed basket of goods and services.

The broad nature of the PCE Price Index is key to why it is the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) pays very close attention to it.

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


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