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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Consumer Sentiment: Final Result for March 2017

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

Predicted: 97.6
Actual: 96.9

  • Change from Last Month: +0.623%
  • Change from 12 Months Ago: +6.484%

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From today's report:

"...The continued strength in consumer sentiment has been due to optimistic views on three critical components: higher incomes and wealth, more favorable job prospects, and low inflation expectations. All of these factors, however, have been influenced by partisanship. Democrats expect an imminent recession, higher unemployment, lower income gains, and more rapid inflation, while Republicans anticipate a new era of robust growth in incomes, job prospects, and lower inflation. It is a rare situation that combines increasing optimism, which promotes spending, and rising uncertainty which makes consumers more cautious spenders. The high prevailing level of sentiment reflects the use of changed evaluative criteria. Like economists who have lowered growth prospects, consumers have done the same, and have thus judged lower rates of growth more favorably than they would have in an earlier era. While the partisan divide will likely recede in the months ahead, consumers’ new evaluative standards will resist change. In an earlier era, growth of 3.0% was below average and a cause for concern, now growth above 2.5% represents an optimistic outlook. Overall, the data indicate both rising optimism as well as rising uncertainty due to the partisan divide. The data indicate that real consumer spending will advance by 2.7% in 2017, but those gains will be uneven over time and across products..."

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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.

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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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Last month's final ICS reading was 96.3.

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

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 2017:

Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

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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.

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

  • Change from 12 months previous: +2.1%
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Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.8%
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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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Thursday, March 30, 2017

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 25, 2017

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on March 25, 2017:

Predicted: 247,000
Actual: 258,000

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): 261,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 254,250
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Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Final Estimate for Q4, 2016

U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "final" (third estimate) report for the fourth quarter of 2016 was released this morning by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA):

Predicted: +2.0%
Actual: +2.1%

The yellow-highlighted percentage represents 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 actual or real figure.

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Corporate Profits

Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment and capital consumption adjustment) increased $11.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with an increase of $117.8 billion in the third quarter.

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GDP, Fourth Quarter 2016, Final Estimate
GDP, Fourth Quarter 2016, Final Estimate
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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."

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 24, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on March 24, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +900,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +30,200,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 534,000,000 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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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for March 2017

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

Predicted: 113.8
Actual: 125.6

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

From Today's Report:

"...'Consumer confidence increased sharply in March to its highest level since December 2000 (Index = 128.6),' said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 'Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved considerably. Consumers also expressed much greater optimism regarding the short-term outlook for business, jobs and personal income prospects. Thus, consumers feel current economic conditions have improved over the recent period, and their renewed optimism suggests the possibility of some upside to the prospects for economic growth in the coming months.'..."

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 116.1 (revised.)


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Friday, March 24, 2017

Durable Goods Orders During February 2017

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

Predicted: +1.5%
Actual: +1.7%

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  • Previous month, revised: +2.3%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +5.0%
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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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Thursday, March 23, 2017

New Home Sales During February 2017

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

Predicted: 565,000
Actual New Home Sales: 592,000

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Change from One Month Previous: +6.1%

Change from One Year Previous: +12.8%

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Median Price for a New Home during February: $296,200

Average Price for a New Home during February: $390,400


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Chart: Cost of A Newly Built Home, USA
Chart: Cost of A Newly Built Home, USA
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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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 18, 2017

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on March 18, 2017:

Predicted: 240,000
Actual: 258,000

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): 243,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 240,000

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 17, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on March 17, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +5,000,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +31,600,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 533,100,000 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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Existing Home Sales During February 2017

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

Predicted: 5,555,000
Actual: 5,480,000

Change from Previous Month: -3.7%
Change from One Year Previous: +5.4%

Inventory: 1,750,000 (3.8 months supply)

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The yellow-highlighted, "actual" figure above represents the preliminary, seasonally adjusted annualized 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 During February 2017: $228,400
Change from One Year Previous: +7.7%

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Average Price for A Used Home During February 2017: $270,100
Change from One Year Previous: +5.8%

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Click here for historical prices and a chart.


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Cost of A Used (Preowned) Home in The USA
Cost of A Used (Preowned) Home in The USA


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

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Industrial Production + Manufacturing + Capacity Utilization for February 2017

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

Industrial Production:
Predicted: 0.2%
Actual: 0.0%

Manufacturing:
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.5%

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

Capacity Utilization Rate:
Predicted: 75.4%
Actual: 75.4

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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Leading Economic Index for February 2017

The Conference Board® released its Leading Economic Index® for February 2017 this morning:

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Index for February: 126.2 (The baseline 100 score is associated with 2010 data.)

Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.6%

  • Previous Month: +0.6

  • Two Months Previous: +0.6

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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™

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Leading Economic Index for February 2017
Leading Economic Index for February 2017
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From Today's Report:

"...'After six consecutive monthly gains, the U.S. LEI is at its highest level in over a decade. Widespread gains across a majority of the leading indicators points to an improving economic outlook for 2017, although GDP growth is likely to remain moderate,' said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. 'Only housing permits contributed negatively to the LEI in February, reversing gains over the previous two months.'..."

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 11, 2017

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on March 11, 2017:

Predicted: 240,000
Actual: 241,000

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): 243,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 237,250

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Housing Starts During February 2017

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

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,270,000
Actual: 1,288,000

Change From Previous Month: +3.0%
Change From One Year Previous: +6.2%

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,270,000
Actual: 1,213,000

Change From Previous Month: -6.2%
Change From One Year Previous: +4.4%

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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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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 10, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on March 10, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: -200,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +36,000,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 528,200,000 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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U.S. Retail And Food Services Sales Report for February 2017

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

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.1%

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): +0.6%

Estimated Retail Sales During February: $474,000,000,000

Change from 12 Months Previous: +5.7%

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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 February 2017

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

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Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.1%

(Change from 12 months previous: +2.7%)

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

(Change from 12 months previous: +2.2%)

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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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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for February 2017

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

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Predicted: 105.0
Actual: 105.3

  • Change from Previous Month: -0.5666%
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: +13.3477%

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Small Business Optimism Index - February 2017
Small Business Optimism Index - February 2017

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From today's report:

"...The Index fell 0.6 points in February to 105.3 yet remains a very high reading. The slight decline follows the largest month-over-month increase in the survey’s history in December and another uptick in January. Three of the ten components increased, six declined modestly, and one was unchanged. Despite a small decrease, nearly half of owners expect better business conditions in the coming months.

“It is encouraging that the Index has persisted at 105 for three months in a row,' said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Although optimism remains high, growth is still a problem because of restrictive government policies.'

The job openings component reached its highest level since December 2000, but more owners reported difficulty finding qualified workers to fill open positions. Dunkelberg said that the scarcity of qualified workers is pressuring owners to raise compensation to retain and attract good employees. Twenty-six percent of small business owners reported raising compensation, one of the highest readings since February 2007.

“Many small business owners are being squeezed by this historically tight labor market,' Dunkelberg said. “They are not confident enough to raise prices on consumers, which limits how much they can increase compensation and makes them less competitive in attracting qualified applicants.' 

Business owners reporting higher sales improved four percentage points, rising to the first positive reading since early 2015. The percent of owners expecting higher real sales fell three points to a net 26 percent. This follows a 20-point rise in December and remains positive.

Capital spending among small business owners rose two points to 62 percent, the second highest reading since 2007. Owners reported spending on new equipment, vehicles, and improvement or expansion of facilities. The percent of owners planning capital outlays slipped one point to 26 percent. Duggan said after years of ball-and-chain regulation and poor economic growth, small businesses are ready to invest.

“Small businesses will begin to turn optimism into action when their two biggest priorities, healthcare and small business taxes, are addressed,' said Duggan. “To small business, these are both taxes that need reform. It is money out the door that strangles economic growth.'..."
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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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Last month's Small Business Optimism Index was 105.9.

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

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

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.3%

Change from 12 months previous: +2.2%

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.3%

Change from 12 months previous: +1.5%

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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.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Employment Situation Report for February 2017

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

Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +200,000
Actual: +235,000


U-3 Unemployment Rate (Headline)
Predicted: 4.7%
Actual: 4.7%

U-6 Unemployment Rate*
Actual: 9.2%
Previous Reading: 9.4%

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.2305%

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: 63.0%
Previous Reading (revised): 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 February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 6 cents to $26.09 [+0.2305%], following a 5-cent increase in January. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 71 cents, or 2.8%. In February, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $21.86 [+0.1833%]...

...
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised down from +157,000 to +155,000, and the change for January was revised up from +227,000 to +238,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January combined were 9,000 more than previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 209,000 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, March 09, 2017

Import and Export Price Indexes for February 2017

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

Import Prices
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +4.6%

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Export Prices
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.3%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +3.1%

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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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 4, 2017

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on March 4, 2017:

Predicted: 238,000
Actual: 243,000

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.

  • Last Week (unrevised): 223,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 236,500

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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 3, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on March 3, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +8,200,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +37,600,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 528,400,000 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 Q4 2016 (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 2016 (revised):

Nonfarm Productivity
Predicted: +1.4%
Actual: +1.3%

Reading from Previous Quarter, Revised: +3.5%

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Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: +1.6%
Actual: +1.7%

Reading from Previous Quarter: +0.2%

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

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Labor Productivity, Q4 2016 (Revised)
Labor Productivity, Q4 2016 (Revised)

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Unit Labor Costs, Q4 2016 (Revised)
Unit Labor Costs, Q4 2016 (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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Monday, March 06, 2017

U.S. Factory Orders During January 2017

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

Predicted: +1.1%
Actual: +1.2%

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

Previous Month (revised): +1.3%.

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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Friday, March 03, 2017

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

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

Predicted: 56.5%
Actual: 57.6%

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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 non-manufacturing NMI reading was 56.5%.

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Here's a sampling of comments from survey participants:

  •     "Our business remains strong."
     (Health Care and Social Assistance)

  •     "Business has been consistent for the start of 2017."
     (Management of Companies and Support Services)

  •     "U.S. construction labor is tight."
     (Construction)

  •     "Lending has picked up quite nicely."
     (Finance and Insurance)

  •     "Strong 1st quarter for our industry shows promise for 2017."
     (Mining)

  •     "Heavy rains and continuing storms have affected the quality and availability of greens and lettuces in California. Prices have also increased. Product yield has also declined, specifically for heartier greens."
     (Accommodation and Food Services)

  •     "Oil prices have stabilized, but not at a level that drives significant increases in capital spending at oil and gas companies. Business activity has increased just slightly."
     (Professional, Scientific and Technical Services)

  •     "Slow after the holiday. Positive year ahead."
     (Retail Trade)

  •     "The dramatic improvement in business, which began in December continued into January. Early February is showing similar results."
     (Wholesale Trade)

Click here to view the complete ISM report

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Thursday, March 02, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of February 24, 2017

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on February 24, 2017 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +1,500,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +33,500,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 520,200,000 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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of February 25, 2017

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on February 25, 2017:

Predicted: 245,000
Actual: 223,000

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.

  • Last Week (revised): 242,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 234,250

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From Today's Report:

"...[223,000] is the lowest level for initial claims since March 31, 1973 when it was 222,000..."

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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Construction Spending During January 2017

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

Predicted: +0.5%
Actual: -1.0%

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): +0.1%.

Change from 12 months previous: +3.1%.

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report

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

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

Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.2%

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Personal Income
Predicted: +0.3%
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.

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

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.9%
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Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.3%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +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.

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ISM Manufacturing Index for February 2017

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

Predicted: 56.4%
Actual: 57.7%

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%.

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



  •      “Business [is] improving and lead times are extending by two or more weeks.”
     (Chemical Products)

  •     “Very positive outlook for this quarter. Production goals have been adjusted multiple times and increased each time due to demand.”
     (Computer and Electronic Products)

  •     “Product demand continues to be solid.”
     (Plastics and Rubber Products)

  •     “Bookings are heavy early in the season. Expect robust first half of the year.”
     (Primary Metals)

  •     “Demand still outstrips capacity. Competitors have announced heavy capital investments to increase capacity.”
     (Food, Beverage and Tobacco Products)

  •     “Sales and business continue to be strong and increasing.”
     (Machinery)

  •     “Business holding steady in Q1.”
     (Transportation Equipment)

  •     “Medical device manufacturing is still strong.”
     (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

  •     “Even though oil and gas prices are on the upswing, we still face a tough 2017 and will continue to save on costs.”  (Petroleum and Coal Products)

  •     “Major focus on commodities and potential [for] further inflation.”
     (Electrical Equipment, Appliances and Components)

Click here to view the complete ISM report

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