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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Housing Starts During August 2017

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released its Housing Starts report for August 2017:

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,173,000
Actual: 1,180,000

Change From Previous Month: -0.8%
Change From One Year Previous: +1.4%

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,220,000
Actual: 1,300,000

Change From Previous Month: +5.7%
Change From One Year Previous: +8.3%

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Housing Starts: The top, yellow-highlighted figure is a measure of initial construction of single and multi-family residential units in the United States for the indicated month. 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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Import and Export Price Indexes for August 2017

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its report on U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes for August 2017:

Import Prices
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.6%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +2.1%

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

Export Prices
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.6%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +2.3%

===============
 
The above percentages, highlighted in yellow, represent the month-to-month change in prices for:

  • Imports: the cost of goods produced in other countries and sold in the United States.
  • Exports: the cost of goods produced in the USA and sold in other countries.

Together, these indexes offer insight into the status of inflation in the United States, and for the global economy as well. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Industrial Production + Manufacturing + Capacity Utilization During August 2017

The Industrial Production, Manufacturing and Capacity Utilization numbers for August 2017 were released by the Federal Reserve this morning:

Industrial Production:
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: -0.9%

Manufacturing:
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: -0.3%

The yellow-highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in manufacturing, and physical output from mining operations, utility plants and factories for the entire United States.

Capacity Utilization Rate:
Predicted: 76.7%
Actual: 76.1

The Capacity Utilization Rate represents the use of available resources at mining operations, utility plants and factories for the entire United States last month.

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

From today's report:

"...Industrial production declined 0.9% in August following six consecutive monthly gains. Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Gulf Coast of Texas in late August, is estimated to have reduced the rate of change in total output by roughly 3/4 percentage point. The index for manufacturing decreased 0.3%; storm-related effects appear to have reduced the rate of change in factory output in August about 3/4 percentage point. The manufacturing industries with the largest estimated storm-related effects were petroleum refining, organic chemicals, and plastics materials and resins.

The output of mining fell 0.8% in August, as Hurricane Harvey temporarily curtailed drilling, servicing, and extraction activity for oil and natural gas. The output of utilities dropped 5.5%, as unseasonably mild temperatures, particularly on the East Coast, reduced the demand for air conditioning..."
 

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

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

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: -0.2%

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.

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

Previous Month (revised): +0.3%

Estimated Retail Sales During August: $474,800,000,000

Change from 12 Months Previous: +3.2%

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

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

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of September 8, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on September 8, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +5,900,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -11,900,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 468,200,000 Barrels

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

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

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Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for August 2017

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

Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.2%

Change from 12 months previous: +2.4%

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

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

Change from 12 months previous: +2.0%

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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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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for August 2017

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

=========

Predicted: 104.5
Actual: 105.3

  • Change from Previous Month: +0.0951%.
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: +11.5466%

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NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - August 2017
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - August 2017

=========

From today's report:


"...The Index of Small Business Optimism rose 0.1 points to 105.3 in August, basically unchanged from July. Five of the 10 Index components posted a gain and five declined. The Index peaked for this recovery at 105.9 in January, just 0.6 points above the August reading. It is unlikely that progress in Washington D.C. is the source of continued owner optimism because there isn’t any on the major issues of health care and tax reform. So owner optimism is more like a “relief rally”, relief that they did not get another four years of costly federal regulations which increased the hold of government on the private sector. The Congressional Record is nearly empty compared to years of record new and changed regulations posted for the past eight years..."

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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 105.2.

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

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

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Job Openings

Predicted: 6,010,000
Actual:    6,170,000 (All-Time Record High)

  • Previous Month (revised): 6,116,000

  • One Year Previous: 5,973,000

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Hires: 5,501,000

Total Separations: 5,332,000

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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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Thursday, September 07, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of September 1, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on September 1, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +4,600,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -18,400,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 462,400,000 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 (Revised)

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 (revised):

Nonfarm Productivity
Predicted: +1.3%
Actual: +1.5%

Revised Reading from Previous Quarter: 0.0%

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Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.2%

Revised Reading from Previous Quarter: +2.2%

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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 (Revised)
Labor Productivity, Q2 2017 (Revised)

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Unit Labor Costs, Q2 2017 (Revised)
Unit Labor Costs, Q2 2017 (Revised)

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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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of September 2, 2017

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on September 2, 2017:

Predicted: 241,000
Actual: 298,000

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

  • Previous Week (unrevised): 236,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 250,250
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From today's report:

"...Hurricane Harvey impacted this week's initial claims...."

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    Wednesday, September 06, 2017

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

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

    Predicted: 55.8%
    Actual: 55.3%

    ==========

    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).

    ==========

    The previous month's NMI reading was 53.9%.

    ==========

    From today' report:

    "...Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in August for the 92nd consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®..."

    ==========

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

    •     "Impressive numbers month-over-month, 8 percent more projects and 4 percent higher revenues."
       (Construction)

    •     "Economy is chugging along. Decent crop yields seem to be offsetting poor commodity prices to some extent. Construction abounds."
       (Finance and Insurance)

    •     "Volumes remain about the same. Actual revenue has decreased due to price compression."
       (Health Care and Social Assistance)

    •     "Flat, stable pricing in the oil and gas sector currently has led to a flattening of supply chain activities."
       (Mining)

    •     "The overall animal protein market is stable, except for pork bellies and bacon. A major shortage of raw material has caused prices to spike, with every restaurant and hotel using bacon or pork bellies on their menu. The demand has outstripped supply. This will continue for the next 3 ‒ 6 months. Eggs are at an all-time historical low and [there is] an overabundance of supply."
       (Accommodation and Food Services)

    •     "Still optimistic conditions and attitudes about [the] economy, job and wage growth."
       (Professional, Scientific and Technical Services)

    •     "Seasonally slow period. Preparations for busy quarter well under way."
       (Retail Trade)

    •     "General slight increase in activity. Some stocking up in the market in anticipation of increased sales in the fall months and to cover for recent inventory shortfalls."
       (Wholesale Trade)

    Click here to view the complete ISM report


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    Tuesday, September 05, 2017

    U.S. Factory Orders During July 2017

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

    Predicted: -3.2%
    Actual: -3.3%

    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): +3.2%.

    Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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    Friday, September 01, 2017

    Employment Situation Report for August 2017

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

    Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
    Predicted: +180,000
    Actual: +156,000


    U-3 Unemployment Rate (Headline)
    Predicted: 4.3%
    Actual: 4.4%

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

    Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
    Predicted: +0.2%
    Actual: +0.1138%

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

    Average Workweek
    Predicted: 34.5 hours
    Actual: 34.4 hours

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

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

    From today's report:

    "...In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $26.39 [+0.1138%], after rising by 9 cents in July. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 65 cents, or 2.5%. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $22.12 [+0.1812%].


    The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised down from +231,000 to +210,000, and the change for July was revised down from +209,000 to +189,000. With these revisions, employment gains in June and July combined were 41,000 less than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged
    185,000 per month over the past 3 months..." [Establishment Survey Data]
    ======

     * =  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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    Consumer Sentiment: Final Result for August 2017

    The University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) - Final Result for August 2017 was released today:

    Predicted: 97.4
    Actual: 96.8

    • Change from Last Month: +3.6403%
    • Change from 12 Months Ago: +7.7951%

    =========

    From today's report:

    "...Consumer confidence has remained at a very favorable level, although slipping somewhat from mid-month. The Sentiment Index has been higher during the first eight months of 2017 than in any year since 2000, which was the peak year of the longest expansion in U.S. history. The renewed strength in 2017 was mainly due to consumers' favorable assessments of their own financial situations. Lows in unemployment, inflation, and interest rates, as well as renewed gains in the value of their homes and stock portfolios, pushed personal financial evaluations to near all-time peaks. When asked about news of recent developments, surprisingly few consumers made any reference to Charlottesville, North Korea, or Harvey-although too few interviews were conducted to fully assess the storm's ultimate impact. Harvey may diminish the 3rd quarter pace of economic growth, and higher gas prices will directly impact consumers. Prior to the storm, consumers anticipated no increase in gas prices in the year ahead (an expected change of just +0.4 cents). Given the current resilience of consumers, temporary increases in gas prices as well as a brief period of weakness in economic growth and employment are unlikely to derail confidence. Nonetheless, all of these events are more likely to increase precautionary motives and to slightly temper spending trend..."

    =========

    The ICS is derived from the following five survey questions:

    1. "We are interested in how people are getting along financially these days. Would you say that you (and your family living there) are better off or worse off financially than you were a year ago?"


    2. "Now looking ahead, do you think that a year from now you (and your family living there) will be better off financially, or worse off, or just about the same as now?"


    3. "Now turning to business conditions in the country as a whole, do you think that during the next twelve months we'll have good times financially, or bad times, or what?"


    4. "Looking ahead, which would you say is more likely: that in the country as a whole we'll have continuous good times during the next five years or so, or that we will have periods of widespread unemployment or depression, or what?"


    5. "About the big things people buy for their homes, such as furniture, a refrigerator, stove, television, and things like that. Generally speaking, do you think now is a good or bad time for people to buy major household items?"

    =========


    =========

    The ICS uses a 1966 baseline, i.e. for 1966, the ICS = 100. So any number that is below the 1966 baseline of 100 means that the folks who were polled recently aren't as optimistic about the U.S. economy as the sample that was polled back in 1966.

    The ICS is similar to the Consumer Confidence Index in that they both measure consumer attitudes and offer valuable insight into consumer spending.

    =========

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

    =========

    Last month's final ICS reading was 93.4.


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    Construction Spending During July 2017

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

    Predicted: +0.6%
    Actual: -0.6%

    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): -1.4%.
    • Change from 12 months previous: +1.8%.

    Click here to view the full Census Bureau report

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    ISM Manufacturing Index for August 2017

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

    Predicted: 56.6%
    Actual: 58.8%

    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 56.3%.

    =========

    From Today's Report:

    "...Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in August, and the overall economy grew for the 99th 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:



    •     "Steady demand across businesses."
       (Chemical Products)

    •     "Demand for light construction equipment continues strong; usually at this time of year, demand slackens."
       (Machinery)

    •     "Overall very steady; starting to pick up as expected."
       (Computer and Electronic Products)

    •     "Overall optimism about the market, both for 2017 and 2018."
       (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

    •     "Business has strengthened over the summer, beyond [the] same period last year."
       (Paper Products)

    •     "Busy production month for August."
       (Textile Mills)

    •     "Sales remain strong month-to-month.
       (Transportation Equipment)

    •     "Slightly higher order intake."
       (Electrical Equipment, Appliances and Components)

    •     "Order board is very strong right now."
       (Food, Beverage and Tobacco Products)

    •     "Business is steady and strong."
       (Furniture and Related Products)


    Click here to view the complete ISM report

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