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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for October 2017

The Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) for this month (October 2017) was released by The Conference Board® this morning:

Predicted: 121.0
Actual: 125.9

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

From Today's Report:

"...'Consumer confidence increased to its highest level in almost 17 years (Dec. 2000, 128.6) in October after remaining relatively flat in September,' said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 'Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved, boosted by the job market which had not received such favorable ratings since the summer of 2001. Consumers were also considerably more upbeat about the short-term outlook, with the prospect of improving business conditions as the primary driver. Confidence remains high among consumers, and their expectations suggest the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace for the remainder of the year.'

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved in October. The percentage saying business conditions are 'good' increased from 33.4 percent to 34.5 percent, while those saying business conditions are 'bad' rose marginally from 13.2% to 13.5
%. Consumers’ assessment of the job market was more upbeat. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are 'plentiful' increased from 32.7% to 36.3%, while those claiming jobs are 'hard to get' decreased slightly from 18.0% to 17.5%.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook also rose in October. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 20.9
% to 22.2%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased from 9.6% to 6.9%.

Consumers’ outlook for the job market, however, was somewhat less favorable than in September. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased marginally from 19.2
% to 18.9%, however, those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 13.0% to 11.8 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement decreased marginally from 20.5% to 20.3%, however, the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 8.6% to 7.4%..."

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 120.6 (revised.)

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Monday, October 30, 2017

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

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

Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)
Predicted: +0.9%
Actual: +1.0%

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

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


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

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

Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.4%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.6%
=====================

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

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.3%
=====================

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

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

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

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



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Friday, October 27, 2017

Consumer Sentiment: Final Result for October 2017

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

Predicted: 101.0
Actual: 100.7

  • Change from Last Month: +5.8885%
  • Change from 12 Months Ago: +15.4817%

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From today's report:

"...Consumer sentiment slipped ever so slightly in late October, despite remaining at its highest monthly level since the start of 2004. This is only the second time the Sentiment Index has been above 100.0 since the end of the record 1990's expansion, and its average during the first ten months of 2017 (96.7) has been the highest since 2000 (108.5). The October gain was reflected in more favorable consumers' assessments of current economic conditions (+4.8) as well as expected economic prospects (+6.1). Personal finances were judged near all-time record favorable levels due to gains in household incomes as well as decade highs in home and stock values. Lingering doubts about the near term strength of the national economy were dispelled as more than half of all respondents expected good times during the year ahead and anticipated the expansion to continue uninterrupted over the next five years. To be sure, consumers do not anticipate accelerating growth rates but rather a continuation of the slower pace of growth that has characterized this recovery. Low unemployment and low inflation rates have made lower income growth rates more acceptable. Moreover, the Great Recession has caused a fundamental change in assessments of economic risks, with consumers now giving greater preference to economic stability relative to economic growth. This is the essential reason why consumers have voiced such positive economic assessments of such a modest pace of economic growth. Overall, the data indicate a 2.6% growth rate in real consumption in 2017 and in the first half of 2018..."

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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?"

=========


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

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

=========

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

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Last month's final ICS reading was 95.1.



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Gross Domestic Product (GDP) First Estimate for Q3, 2017

The U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "advance" (first estimate) report for the third quarter of 2017 was released this morning by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA):

Predicted: +2.5%
Actual: +3.0%

The yellow-highlighted figure represents the quarter-to-quarter change in real gross domestic product for the entire United States.

The GDP is the broadest measure of economic activity in the entire United States, covering all sectors of the economy.

The "advance" estimate is based on data that are subject to future revision.

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

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - Q3 2017 - First Estimate
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - Q3 2017 - First Estimate

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


  • On November 29, 2017, the Commerce Department will release a "preliminary" GDP report for Q3 2017, which will contain a second estimate (more accurate data.)

  • On December 21, 2017, a "final" GDP report will be released by the BEA, which will contain the government's best estimates for Q3 2017.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of October 21, 2017

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on October 21, 2017:

Predicted: 235,000
Actual: 233,000

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): 223,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 239,500
========

From today's report:

"...Claims taking procedures continue to be severely disrupted in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as a result of power outages and infrastructure damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria..."
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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of October 20, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on October 20, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +900,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -10,800,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 457,300,000 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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New Home Sales During September 2017

The September 2017 New Home Sales report was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: 555,000
Actual New Home Sales: 667,000

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Change from One Month Previous: +18.9%

Change from One Year Previous: +17.0%

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Median Price for a New Home during September: $319,700

Average Price for a New Home during September: $385,200 (all-time record high)


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Compiled jointly by the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the yellow-highlighted figure above is the seasonally adjusted and annualized number of newly-built homes with committed buyers for 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.

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Durable Goods Orders During September 2017

The Durable Goods Orders report for September 2017 was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: +1.0%
Actual: +2.2

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

  • Previous month (revised): +2.0%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +8.3%
================

The yellow-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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Monday, October 23, 2017

Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) for September 2017

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago released its National Activity Index (CFNAI) for September 2017:

Predicted: -0.10
Actual (CFNAI): +0.17

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of growth in national economic activity drawn from four broad categories of data:

  • Production and income;
  • Employment, unemployment, and hours;
  • Personal consumption and housing; and
  • Sales, orders, and inventories.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the yellow-highlighted figure is what was reported.

========

  • Previous Month (revised): -0.37
  • 3-Month Moving Average (CFNAI-MA3): -0.16
========

Chart: Chicago Fed National Activity Index for September 2017
Chart: Chicago Fed National Activity Index for September 2017

========

From Today's Report


"...Index points to a pickup in economic growth in September

Led by improvements in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) moved up to +0.17 in September from –0.37 in August. All four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from August, and three of the four categories made positive contributions to the index in September. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, was unchanged at –0.16 in September..."
========

Understanding The CFNAI:

A zero value for the monthly index has been associated with the national economy expanding at its historical trend (average) rate of growth; negative values with below-average growth (in standard deviation units); and positive values with above-average growth.

Periods of economic expansion have historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 above -0.70 and the CFNAI Diffusion Index above -0.35. Conversely, periods of economic contraction have historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 below -0.70 and the CFNAI Diffusion Index below -0.35.

An increasing likelihood of a period of sustained increasing inflation has historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 above +0.70 more than two years into an economic expansion. Similarly, a substantial likelihood of a period of sustained increasing inflation has historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 above +1.00 more than two years into an economic expansion.

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Existing Home Sales During September 2017

The Existing Home Sales report for September 2017 was released by The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) this morning:

Predicted: 5,300,000
Actual: 5,390,000

  •  Change from Previous Month: +0.7%
  •  Change from One Year Previous: -1.5%
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Inventory: 1,900,000 (4.2 months supply)

==========

The yellow-highlighted, "actual" figure above represents the preliminary, seasonally adjusted annualized sales count of existing homes, co-ops and condominiums for the indicated 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 During September 2017: $245,100

Change from One Year Previous: +4.2%

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Average Price for A Used Home During September 2017: $286,700

Change from One Year Previous: +3.5%

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



==========

From today's report:

"...After three straight monthly declines, existing-home sales slightly reversed course in September, but ongoing supply shortages and recent hurricanes muted overall activity and caused sales to fall back on an annual basis, according to the National Association of Realtors®..."
==========

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





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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Leading Economic Index for September 2017

The Conference Board® released its Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for September 2017 this morning:

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

Index for September: 128.6 (The baseline 100 score is associated with 2010 data.)

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: -0.2%

  • Previous Month: +0.4%

  • Two Months Previous: +0.3%

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

The yellow-highlighted percentage represents the month-to-month change for the index.  The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The LEI is a composite of 10 of the nation's economic data releases that's put together by The Conference Board. Statistically, the components listed below have shown a significant increase or decrease before national economic upturns or downturns:

  1. The Standard + Poor's 500 Index

  2. Average weekly claims for unemployment insurance

  3. Building permits for new private housing

  4. The interest rate spread between the yield on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury Note and Federal Funds

  5. ISM® Index of New Orders

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

  7. Manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders

  8. Average weekly manufacturing hours

  9. Average consumer expectations for business conditions

  10. Leading Credit Index™

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

Leading Economic Index (LEI) - September 2017
Leading Economic Index (LEI) - September 2017

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

From Today's Report:

"...'The US LEI declined slightly in September for the first time in the last twelve months, partly a result of the temporary impact of the recent hurricanes,' said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. 'The source of weakness was concentrated in labor markets and residential construction, while the majority of the LEI components continued to contribute positively. Despite September’s decline, the trend in the US LEI remains consistent with continuing solid growth in the US economy for the second half of the year.'..."


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Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey for October 2017

Earlier today, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released its diffuse index of current manufacturing conditions for this month (October 2017):

Predicted: +20.2
Actual: +27.9

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, while a figure above zero implies expansion.


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

Philadelphia Fed: Current and Future General Activities Indexes
Philadelphia Fed: Current and Future General Activities Indexes

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


Click here to view the full Philadelphia Fed report.

  • Last month, the actual figure was +23.8.

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 October 14, 2017

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on October 14, 2017:

Predicted: 240,000
Actual: 222,000 (lowest level in 44 years.)

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): 244,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 248,250
========

From today's report:

"...This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 31, 1973...
...Claims taking procedures continue to be severely disrupted in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as a result of power outages and infrastructure damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria..."
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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of October 13, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on October 13, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: -5,700,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -12,200,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 456,500,000 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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Housing Starts During September 2017

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

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,170,000
Actual: 1,127,000

Change From Previous Month: -4.7%
Change From One Year Previous: +6.1%

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,238,000
Actual: 1,215,000

Change From Previous Month: -4.5%
Change From One Year Previous: -4.3%

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

Housing Starts: The top, yellow-highlighted figure is a measure of initial construction of single and multi-family residential units in the United States for the indicated month.  Seasonally adjusted annual rate.  The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

If you're wondering about the demand for new homes in the United States,or about the American 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, October 17, 2017

Industrial Production + Manufacturing + Capacity Utilization During September 2017

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

Industrial Production:
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.3%

Manufacturing:
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.1%

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: 76.2%
Actual: 76.0

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 rose 0.3% in September. The rates of change for July and August were notably revised; the current estimate for July, a decrease of 0.1%, was 0.5 percentage point lower than previously reported, while the estimate for August, a decrease of 0.7%, was 0.2 percentage point higher than before. The estimates for manufacturing, mining, and utilities were each revised lower in July. The continued effects of Hurricane Harvey and, to a lesser degree, the effects of Hurricane Irma combined to hold down the growth in total production in September by 1/4 percentage point. For the third quarter as a whole, industrial production fell 1.5% at an annual rate; excluding the effects of the hurricanes, the index would have risen at least 1/2%..."
 

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Import and Export Price Indexes for September 2017

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

Import Prices
Predicted: +0.5%
Actual: +0.7%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +2.7%

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

Export Prices
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.8%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +2.9%

===============
 
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, October 13, 2017

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

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

Predicted: +1.8%
Actual: +1.6%

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.

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

Previous Month (revised): -0.1%

Estimated Retail Sales During September: $483,900,000,000

Change from 12 Months Previous: +4.4%

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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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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for September 2017

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

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

Predicted: +0.6%
Actual: +0.5%

(Change from 12 months previous: +2.2%)

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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%)

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

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, October 12, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of October 6, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on October 6, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: -2,700,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -11,700,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 462,200,000 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 September 2017

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

Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.4%

Change from 12 months previous: +2.6%

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

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.4%

Change from 12 months previous: +2.2%

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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, October 11, 2017

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

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

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Job Openings

Predicted: 6,160,000
Actual:    6,082,000

  • Previous Month (revised): 6,140,000

  • One Year Previous: 5,491,000

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Hires: 5,430,000

Total Separations: 5,228,000

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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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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for September 2017

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

=========

Predicted: 105.4
Actual: 103.0

  • Change from Previous Month: -2.184%.
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: +9.458%

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NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - September 2017
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - September 2017
=========

From today's report:


"...The NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism tumbled in September from 105.3 to 103 led by a steep drop in sales expectations, not just in hurricane-affected states, but across the country.

'The temptation is to blame the decline on the hurricanes in Texas and Florida, but that is not consistent with our data,' said Juanita Duggan, NFIB President and CEO. 'Small business owners across the country were measurably less enthusiastic last month.'

The number of small business owners who expected better sales plunged a net 12 points last month.  Owners who think that it’s a good time to expand dropped a net 10 points. Also within the Index, expected better business conditions (-6) and capital expenditure plans (-5) retreated in September.

'The drop-off was consistent around the country regardless of region, and it’s likely that members in Florida and Texas were underrepresented in this survey because of the obvious disruptions,' said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. 'The adjusted average employment change per firm dipped to -0.17, which is a significant drop in hiring activity.

'The Index remains very high by historical standards,' he continued. 'Small business owners still expect policy changes from Washington on health care and taxes, and while they don’t know what those changes will look like, they expect them to be an improvement. But the frothy expectations they’ve had in the previous few months clearly slipped in September.'..."

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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 105.3.

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Friday, October 06, 2017

Employment Situation Report for September 2017

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

Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +100,000
Actual: -33,000


U-3 Unemployment Rate (Headline)
Predicted: 4.4%
Actual: 4.2%

U-6 Unemployment Rate*
Actual: 8.3%
Previous Month: 8.6%

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.454%

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: 63.1%
Previous Month: 62.9%

Average Workweek
Predicted: 34.4 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 September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 12 cents to $26.55 [+0.454%]. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 74 cents, or 2.9%. In September, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 9 cents to $22.23 [+0.407%].

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised down from +189,000 to +138,000, and the change for August was revised up from +156,000 to +169,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 38,000 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
91,000 over the past 3 months..." [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, October 05, 2017

U.S. Factory Orders During August 2017

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

Predicted: +1.0%
Actual: +1.2%

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: -3.3%.

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of September 29, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on September 29, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: -6,000,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -4,100,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 465,000,000 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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ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for September 2017

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

Predicted: 55.5%
Actual: 59.8%

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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 55.3%.

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From today' report:

"...Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in September for the 93rd 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:

  •     "Hurricane Irma caused a revenue challenge that will take some time to recover from, interrupting business operations in that region and offsetting growth in others."
     (Accommodation and Food Services)

  •     "Our business continues to grow at a good pace."
     (Health Care and Social Assistance)

  •     "General outlook looking up, with sales picking up. That will drive spend and investment."
     (Information)

  •     "Overall, consistent growth in construction/office renovation jobs. Eight percent more jobs and 6 percent more revenue."
     (Construction)

  •     "Positive business trends continue in second half. Business results above plan and higher year-to-year. Forecast above planned results for 2017."
     (Finance and Insurance)

  •     "Business still in a down trend due to lack of capital investment in worldwide mining market."
     (Mining)

  •     "Hurricane Harvey has been a disruption to normal business activity in the oil and gas industry. Refineries and petrochemical plants were shut down due to the storm, as were many offices along the Gulf Coast. Business is just now returning to some sense of normalcy."
     (Professional, Scientific and Technical Services)

  •     "Continued growth; however, slower pace than in past. Expecting some further disruptions due to weather in Texas and Florida."
     (Retail Trade)

Click here to view the complete ISM report


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Monday, October 02, 2017

Construction Spending During August 2017

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

Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.5%

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): -1.2%.
  • Change from 12 months previous: +2.5%.

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report

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ISM Manufacturing Index for September 2017

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

Predicted: 58.0%
Actual: 60.8%

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 58.8%.

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From Today's Report:

"...Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September, and the overall economy grew for the 100th consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®..."
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The following is a sampling of quotes from a diverse pool of U.S. manufacturers:



  •     "Hurricanes causing supply chain and pricing issues."
     (Chemical Products)

  •     "Business levels continue [to be] strong; usually by now, a seasonal downturn begins."
     (Machinery)

  •     "Energy sector (oil and gas) continues to be strong. Price of oil appears to be beginning to stabilize."
     (Computer and Electronic Products)

  •     "We’ve had a very good year and we are forecasting continued strong demand for our product in 2018."
     (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

  •     "Business is strong. However, we are concerned about price increases due to the hurricanes."
     (Plastics and Rubber Products)

  •     "We are closely watching the Houston events as many of our production chemicals are produced in the Gulf region. Some tightening of supply and/or price increases expected."
     (Paper Products)

  •     "Labor shortages continue to haunt operational capacity both at [the] local plant [level] and up and down the supply chain."
     (Transportation Equipment)

  •     "Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will have significant effects on input costs. Disruption in supply chain. Concerns of transportation."
     (Food, Beverage and Tobacco Products)

  •     "Hurricane Harvey, and now Irma, have impacted the business (building materials). Increasing sales but also causing significant price increases on input raw materials.
     (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)

  •     "Lumber prices starting to drop, and log prices starting to increase. Not the best combination.
     (Wood Products)

Click here to view the complete ISM report

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