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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, June 29, 2018

Consumer Sentiment: Final Result for June 2018

The University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) - Final Result for June 2018 was released today:

Predicted: 99.0
Actual: 98.2

  • Change from Previous Month: +0.204% (+0.2 point)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: +3.368% (+3.2 points)

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Previous Month's Final ICS Reading: 98.0.

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From today's report:


"...Consumer sentiment retreated in late June to just above the May reading largely due to concerns about the potential impact of tariffs on the domestic economy. The falloff in confidence was minor, as the Sentiment Index has been virtually unchanged for the past three months. The persistent strength has been due to favorable assessments of jobs and incomes. While consumers anticipated rising interest rates during the year ahead, those expected increases were associated with a modest decline in longer term prospects for the national economy. For the year ahead, consumers still anticipated that the economy would produce small additional declines in the unemployment rate as well as higher wage gains. Consumers also anticipated an uptick in inflation during the year ahead, partly due to rising energy prices and partly due to tariffs.

The potential impact of tariffs on the domestic economy was spontaneously cited by one-in-four consumers, with most expecting a negative impact on the domestic economy (21% out of 26%). The primary concerns were a downshift in the future pace of economic growth and an uptick in inflation. A longstanding belief of consumers is that trade with other countries results in a broader range of available goods at lower prices. When asked in a recent survey about their views on international trade, two-thirds of consumers thought that more trade with other countries would be better for the domestic economy (see the chart). To be sure, consumers' judgements about the impact of higher tariffs will not crystalize until they gain more experience with actual changes in product prices and domestic employment. While tariffs may have a direct impact on only a very small portion of overall GDP, the negative impact could quickly generalize and produce a widespread decline in consumer confidence..."

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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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PCE Price Index + Personal Income + Consumer Spending Report for May 2018

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its report on The PCE Price Index, Consumer Spending and Personal Income for May 2018:

Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.2%

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

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  • Disposable Personal Income, Current Dollars:  +0.4%
  • Disposable Personal Income, 2009 Chained* Dollars +0.2% 

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


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Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +2.3%
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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: +2.0%
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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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*Chained dollars is a method of adjusting real dollar amounts for inflation over time, so as to allow comparison of figures from different years. The Commerce Department introduced the chained-dollar measure in 1996. Chained dollars generally reflect dollar figures computed with 2009 as the base year.


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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Final Estimate for Q1, 2018

U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "final" (third estimate) report for the first quarter of 2018 was released this morning by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA):

Predicted: +2.2%
Actual: +2.0%

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 $39.5 billion in the first quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter.

Profits of domestic financial corporations increased $7.0 billion in the first quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $14.6 billion in the fourth quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased$28.8 billion, compared with an increase of $19.4 billion. Rest-of-the-world  profits increased $3.7 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $5.9 billion. In the first quarter, receipts increased $20.9 billion, and payments increased $17.2 billion..."
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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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of June 23, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on June 23, 2018:

Predicted: 220,000
Actual: 227,000

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): 218,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 222,000
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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of June 22, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on June 22, 2018 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: -9,900,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -92,600,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 416,600,000 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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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Pending Home Sales Index for May 2018

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) report for May 2018 was released by The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) this morning:

  • Actual: 105.9
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Previous Month (revised): 106.4

  •  Change from Previous Month: -0.4699% (-0.5 point)

  •  Change from One Year Previous: -2.216% (-2.4 points)
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 From the NAR website:

  • An index above 100 coincides with a historically high level of home sales activity.

  • An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, the first year to be analyzed. Coincidentally, 2001 was the first of four consecutive record years for existing-home sales. 2001 sales are fairly close to the higher level of home sales expected in the coming decade relative to the norms experienced in the mid-1990s. As such, an index of 100 coincides with a historically high level of home sales activity.
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From today's report:

"...Pending home sales decreased modestly in May and have now fallen on an annualized basis for the fifth straight month, according to the National Association of Realtors®. A larger decline in contract activity in the South offset gains in the Northeast, Midwest and West.

The Pending Home Sales Index, www.nar.realtor/pending-home-sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, decreased 0.5 percent to 105.9 in May from 106.4 in April. 
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says this year’s spring buying season will go down as one of unmet expectations. 'Pending home sales underperformed once again in May, declining for the second straight month and coming in at the second lowest level over the past year,' he said. 'Realtors® in most of the country continue to describe their markets as highly competitive and fast moving, but without enough new and existing inventory for sale, activity has essentially stalled.'

The lackluster spring, according to Yun, has primarily been a supply issue, and not one of weakening demand. If the recent slowdown in activity were because buyer interest is waning, price growth would start slowing, inventory would begin rising and homes would stay on the market longer. Instead, the underlying closing data in May showed that home price gains are still outpacing income growth, inventory declined on an annual basis for the 36th consecutive month, and listings typically went under contract in just over three weeks1.

'With the cost of buying a home getting more expensive, it’s clear the summer months will be a true test for the housing market. One encouraging sign has been the increase in new home construction to a 10-year high,' added Yun. 'Several would-be buyers this spring were kept out of the market because of supply and affordability constraints. The healthy economy and job market should keep many of them actively looking to buy, and any rise in inventory would certainly help them find a home.'

Yun now forecasts for existing-home sales in 2018 to decrease 0.4 percent to 5.49 million – down from 5.51 million in 2017. The national median existing-home price is expected to increase around 5.0 percent. In 2017, existing sales increased 1.1 percent and prices rose 5.7 percent.

The PHSI in the Northeast increased 2.0 percent to 92.4 in May, but is still 4.8 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest the index rose 2.9 percent to 101.4 in May, but is still 2.5 percent lower than May 2017.

Pending home sales in the South declined 3.5 percent to an index of 122.9 in May (unchanged from a year ago). The index in the West inched forward 0.6 percent in May to 94.7, but is 4.1 percent below a year ago..."
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Durable Goods Orders During May 2018

The Durable Goods Orders report for May 2018 was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: -0.6%
Actual: -0.56%

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The yellow-highlighted figure represents the month-to-month change in new 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.




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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for June 2018

The Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) for this month (June 2018) was released by The Conference Board® this morning:

Predicted: 128.1
Actual: 126.4

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Previous Month (revised): 128.8.
 
  •  Change from Previous Month: -1.863% (-2.4 points)
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The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

From Today's Report:

"...'Consumer confidence declined in June after improving in May,' said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 'Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions was relatively unchanged, suggesting that the level of economic growth remains strong. While expectations remain high by historical standards, the modest curtailment in optimism suggests that consumers do not foresee the economy gaining much momentum in the months ahead.'

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions was relatively unchanged in June. The percentage stating business conditions are 'good' decreased from 38.6 percent to 36.0 percent, while those saying business conditions are 'bad' also decreased, from 12.6 percent to 11.7 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also mixed. The percentage of consumers claiming jobs are 'plentiful' decreased from 42.1 percent to 40.0 percent, but those claiming jobs are 'hard to get' also decreased, from 15.6 percent to 14.9 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook eased in June. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months decreased from 23.3 percent to 21.4 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen rose from 7.8 percent to 9.8 percent. Consumers’ outlook for the labor market, however, was slightly more favorable. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased marginally, from 19.7 percent to 20.0 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased, from 13.1 percent to 12.6 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement declined, from 21.4 percent to 18.8 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease rose from 8.0 percent to 8.7 percent.
.."

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.


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Monday, June 25, 2018

Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) for May 2018

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago released its National Activity Index (CFNAI) for May 2018:

Predicted: +0.37
Actual (CFNAI): -0.15

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.

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  • Previous Month (revised): +0.42
  • 3-Month Moving Average (CFNAI-MA3): +0.18
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Chart: Chicago Fed National Activity Index for May 2018
Chart: Chicago Fed National Activity Index for May 2018

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From Today's Report

"...Index points to slower economic growth in May

Led by declines in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) fell to –0.15 in May from +0.42 in April. Two of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index decreased from April, and two of the four categories made negative contributions to the index in May. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, decreased to +0.18 in May from +0.48 in April..."
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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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New Home Sales During May 2018

The May 2018 New Home Sales report was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: 665,000
Actual New Home Sales: 689,000

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Change from One Month Previous: +6.7%

Change from One Year Previous: +14.1%

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Median Price for a New Home during May 2018: $313,000

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Average Price for a New Home during May 2018: $368,500


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New Home Sales - May 2018
New Home Sales - May 2018
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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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Thursday, June 21, 2018

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of June 16, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on June 16, 2018:

Predicted: 220,000
Actual: 218,000

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): 221,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 221,000
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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of June 15, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on June 15, 2018 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: -5,900,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -82,600,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 426,500,000 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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Existing Home Sales During May 2018

The Existing Home Sales report for May 2018 was released by The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) this morning:

Predicted: 5,500,000
Actual: 5,430,000

  •  Change from Previous Month: -0.4%

  •  Change from One Year Previous: -3.0%
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Inventory: 1,850,000 (4.1 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 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 May: $264,800 (All-Time Record High.)

Change from One Year Previous: +4.9%

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Average Price for A Used Home During May: $303,500 (All-Time Record High Match with The June 2017 Figure.)

Change from One Year Previous: +3.1%

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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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From today's report:

"...Existing-home sales fell back for the second straight month in May, as only the Northeast region saw an uptick in activity, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales, https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, decreased 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.43 million in May from downwardly revised 5.45 million in April. With last month’s decline, sales are now 3.0 percent below a year ago and have fallen year-over-year for three straight months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says a solid economy and job market should be generating a much stronger sales pace than what has been seen so far this year. 'Closings were down in a majority of the country last month and declined on an annual basis in each major region,' he said. 'Incredibly low supply continues to be the primary impediment to more sales, but there’s no question the combination of higher prices and mortgage rates are pinching the budgets of prospective buyers, and ultimately keeping some from reaching the market.'

The median existing-home price for all housing types in May was $264,800, an all-time high and up 4.9 percent from May 2017 ($252,500). May’s price increase marks the 75th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of May climbed 2.8 percent to 1.85 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 6.1 percent lower than a year ago (1.97 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 36 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace (4.2 months a year ago).

Properties typically stayed on the market for 26 days in May, unchanged from April and down from 27 days a year ago. Fifty-eight percent of homes sold in May were on the market for less than a month.

'Inventory coming onto the market during this year’s spring buying season – as evidenced again by last month’s weak reading – was not even close to being enough to satisfy demand,' added Yun. 'That is why home prices keep outpacing incomes and listings are going under contract in less than a month – and much faster – in many parts of the country.'

Realtor.com®’s Market Hotness Index , measuring time-on-the-market data and listings views per property, revealed that the hottest metro areas in May were Midland, Texas; Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; and Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased for the seventh straight month to 4.59 percent in May (highest since 4.64 percent in May 2011) from 4.47 percent in April. The average commitment rate for all of 2017 was 3.99 percent.

“The abrupt hike in  mortgage rates this spring, along with price appreciation and competition being the strongest in the entry-level part of the market, is why first-time buyers are not as active as they should be and their participation remains below its historical average,” said Yun.

First-time buyers were 31 percent of sales in May, which is down from 33 percent both last month and a year ago. NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2017 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 34 percent.

“Realtors® in many parts of the country say their seller clients are dealing with a seesaw of emotions when deciding to put their home on the market,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor® from Columbia, Missouri and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty. “While they’re thrilled that they will immediately find multiple buyers interested in their listing, many fear they’ll have extreme difficulty finding another home to buy. Some have even decided to hold off until inventory conditions start improving, which is actually only exacerbating supply shortages.”

All-cash sales were 21 percent of transactions in May, which is unchanged from April and down from 22 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in May, unchanged from last month and down from 16 percent a year ago.

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – were 3 percent of sales in May (lowest since NAR began tracking in October 2008), down from 4 percent last month and 5 percent a year ago. Two percent of May sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales..."

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Housing Starts During May 2018

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released its Housing Starts report for May 2018:

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,320,000
Actual: 1,350,000

Change From Previous Month: +5.0%
Change From One Year Previous: +20.3%

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,350,000
Actual: 1,301,000

Change From Previous Month: -4.6%
Change From One Year Previous: +8.0%

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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.  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 residential 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.


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Housing Starts - May 2018 - USA
Housing Starts - May 2018 - USA
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Friday, June 15, 2018

Industrial Production + Manufacturing + Capacity Utilization During May 2018

The Industrial Production, Manufacturing and Capacity Utilization numbers for May 2018 were released by the Federal Reserve this morning:

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

Manufacturing:
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: -0.7%

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: 78.0%
Actual: 77.9

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 edged down 0.1 percent in May after rising 0.9 percent in April. Manufacturing production fell 0.7 percent in May, largely because truck assemblies were disrupted by a major fire at a parts supplier. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, factory output moved down 0.2 percent. The index for mining rose 1.8 percent, its fourth consecutive month of growth; the output of utilities moved up 1.1 percent. At 107.3 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 3.5 percent higher in May than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased 0.2 percentage point in May to 77.9 percent, a rate that is 1.9 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average..."



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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Import and Export Price Indexes for May 2018

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its report on U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes for May 2018:

Import Prices
Predicted: +0.5%
Actual: +0.6%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +4.3%

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Export Prices
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.6%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +4.9%

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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.



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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of June 9, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on June 9, 2018:

Predicted: 225,000
Actual: 218,000

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): 222,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 224,250
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U.S. Retail And Food Services Sales Report for May 2018

The Commerce Department this morning released advanced estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales for May 2018:

Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.823% (+$4,000,000,000)

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): +0.4%

-- Estimated Retail Sales During May 2018: $502,000,000,000

-- Change from 12 Months Previous: +5.9%

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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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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of June 8, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on June 8, 2018 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: -4,100,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -79,100,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 432,400,000 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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Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for May 2018

The Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for May 2018 was released this morning:

Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.5%

Change from 12 months previous: +3.1%

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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: +2.4%

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

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, June 12, 2018

The Cleveland Fed's Latest Estimate of 10-Year Expected Inflation Is 2.04%

From the Cleveland Fed website:

Latest Inflation Expectations Model Release (June 12, 2018)

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland reports that its latest estimate of 10-year expected inflation is 2.04 percent. In other words, the public currently expects the inflation rate to be above 2 percent on average over the next decade.

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Latest Estimate of 10-Year Expected Inflation
Latest Estimate of 10-Year Expected Inflation

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NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for May 2018

The National Federation of Independent Business® (NFIB®) released its Small Business Optimism Index (SBOI) for May 2018:

=========

Predicted: 105.2
Actual: 107.8

  • Change from Previous Month: +2.863% (+3.0 points)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: +3.158% (+3.3 points)

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The previous month's SBOI reading was 104.8.

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NFIB - Small Business Optimism Index - May 2018
NFIB - Small Business Optimism Index - May 2018

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NFIB - Small Business Outlook - May 2018
NFIB - Small Business Outlook - May 2018

=========

From today's report (note text in bold):


"...The Small Business Optimism Index increased in May to the second highest level in the NFIB survey’s 45-year history. The index rose to 107.8, a three-point gain, with small businesses reporting high numbers in several key areas including compensation, profits, and sales trends.

'Main Street optimism is on a stratospheric trajectory thanks to recent tax cuts and regulatory changes. For years, owners have continuously signaled that when taxes and regulations ease, earnings and employee compensation increase,' said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The May report hit several records:
 -- Compensation increases hit a 45-year high at a record net 35 percent.
 -- Positive earnings trends reached a survey high at a net three percent.

 -- Positive sales trends are at the highest level since 1995.

 -- Expansion plans are the most robust in survey history.

In another interesting marker, a net 19 percent of small business owners are planning price increases, the highest since 2008 and a signal of a strong economy. A net three percent reported positive profit trends, up four points and the best reading in the survey’s history. In addition, a net 15 percent reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, up an astonishing seven points and the sixth consecutive strong month for sales.

'Small business owners are continuing an 18-month streak of unprecedented optimism which is leading to more hiring and raising wages,' said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. 'While they continue to face challenges in hiring qualified workers, they now have more resources to commit to attracting candidates.'

Small business owners continue to hire with a seasonally-adjusted net 18 percent planning to create new jobs. Twenty-nine percent of owners have job openings for skilled workers, the third highest reading since 2000. Twelve percent have job openings for unskilled workers, with the strongest demand in the transportation, travel, communications, and utilities sector. To compete in the job market, 35 percent of owners reported increases in labor compensation to attract job applicants.

The percentage of owners reporting capital outlays moved up one point to 62 percent, with 47 percent reporting spending on new equipment, 24 percent acquiring vehicles, and 16 percent improving expanded facilities. Thirty percent plan capital outlays in the next few months.

Access to credit continues as a non-issue with 37 percent of owners reporting all credit needs were satisfied and 43 percent saying they were not interested in a loan, down seven points from last month and the lowest reading since 2007. Only one percent reported that financing was their top business problem. Owners planning to build inventories rose three points to a net four percent, the nineteenth positive reading in the past 20 months.

As reported in NFIB’s May jobs report, 23 percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem, followed by taxes at 17 percent and regulations at 13 percent. Fifty-eight percent reported hiring or trying to hire, up one point from last month but 83 percent of those reported few or no qualified workers..."

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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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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for May 2018

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for May 2018:

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

(Change from 12 months previous: +2.8%)

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

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%)

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

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.)

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

Consumer Price Index (CPI) - May 2018
Consumer Price Index (CPI) - May 2018
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    Thursday, June 07, 2018

    New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of June 2, 2018

    Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on June 2, 2018:

    Predicted: 225,000
    Actual: 222,000

    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: 225,500
    ========

    From today's report:


    "...Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal..."

    ========


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    Wednesday, June 06, 2018

    Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of June 1, 2018

    The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on June 1, 2018 was released this morning:

    -- Change from Last Week: +2,100,000 Barrels

    -- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -76,600,000 Barrels

    -- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 436,600,000 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 Costs Report for Q1 2018 (Revised)

    The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) this morning released its quarterly report on Productivity and Unit Labor Costs for the first quarter of 2018 (revised):

    Nonfarm Productivity
    Predicted: +0.7%
    Actual: +0.4%

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

    Unit Labor Costs
    Predicted: +2.8%
    Actual: +2.9%

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

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


    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.




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    Tuesday, June 05, 2018

    ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for May 2018

    Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM®) released their Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for May 2018:

    Predicted: 58.0%
    Actual: 58.6%

    ==========

    Previous month: 56.8%

    ==========

    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).

    ==========

    From today' report:

    "...Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in May for the 100th 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:

    •     “Since the last report, our foil lid supplier stated that the tariff on aluminum has caused supply interruptions and higher costs. A price increase was instituted by the supplier.”
       (Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting)

    •     “Material prices have been difficult to predict this year, and suppliers have struggled to hold prices for any extended period on quotes, specifically on lumber and lumber-related products. The instability has proven frustrating, but a larger problem is that we are starting to see longer lead times in many of the same areas that could start impacting timelines if they continue to get worse as we get into the main building season.”
       (Construction)

    •     “After a challenging 2017 that ended strong, 2018 is off to a good start. Volume from existing clients as well as new sales are up, although the growth is marginal. May is showing a continuation of the monthly growth when measured over [the] previous year, leading to optimism for the rest of 2018.”
       (Management of Companies and Support Services)

    •     “The trade discussions with NAFTA, Korea and the European Union will have critical impacts on our spend relating to steel products. Also, the potential of the U.S. pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal could push crude prices higher.”
       (Mining)

    •     “Business is starting to increase. We have spent two years reducing our inventories to a level to support the current business climate. Now the uptick is faster than anticipated and supply is out of alignment with demand, which is causing many stockouts and shortages, and the need to expedite inventory. In shipping, we still [are] experiencing a shortage of domestic trucking resources (especially flat beds) and international shortage of flat racks. We [are] working to minimize the impact of the tariff on steel and aluminum.”
       (Other Services)

    •     “Oil price stabilization in the (US) $60 to $70 per barrel [is] having a positive impact on hiring, both contract labor and direct employees, in the oil and gas industry and supporting industries.”
       (Professional, Scientific and Technical Services)

    •     “Shortage of qualified labor and services personnel.”
       (Public Administration)

    •     “Sales over the last month have been very strong. We are still struggling with the fluctuation in commodity costs and the weakening U.S. dollar.”
       (Retail Trade)

    •     “The supply chain is shuttering because of a lack of drivers and equipment causing delays in multiple modes of transportation. The activity to adjust to this is not causing stockouts yet, and we are increasing inventory levels in anticipation of worsening conditions.”
       (Wholesale Trade)


    ==========

    ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI) History - May 2018
    ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI) History - May 2018

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    Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for April 2018

    The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for April 2018 was released by the Labor Department this morning:

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

    Job Openings

    Predicted: 6,543,000
    Actual:    6,698,000 (All-Time Record High*)

    • Previous Month (revised): 6,633,000

    • One Year Previous: 6,108,000

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

    Hires: 5,578,000

    Total Separations: 5,408,000

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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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    Monday, June 04, 2018

    U.S. Factory Orders During April 2018

    The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released their report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders -- also known as Factory Orders -- for April 2018:

    Predicted: -0.4%
    Actual: -0.8%


    ========


    • April 2018 New Orders: $494,400,000,000.

    • Previous Month (revised): +1.7% ($498,400,000,000.)

    ========

    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.

    ======== 

    U.S. Factory Orders - April 2018
    U.S. Factory Orders - April 2018
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    Friday, June 01, 2018

    ISM Manufacturing Index for May 2018

    Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) released their Manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI®) for May 2018:

    Predicted: 58.5%
    Actual: 58.7%

    =========

    Previous month: 57.3%

    =========

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

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

    =========

    From Today's Report:

    "...Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in May, and the overall economy grew for the 109th 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:



    •         “We are currently overselling our forecast and don’t see an end to the upswing in business. We are very concerned, however, about the tariffs proposed in Section 301 and are focusing on alternatives to Chinese sourcing.”
      (Transportation Equipment)

    •     “Very difficult to hire skilled and unskilled labor.”
      (Food, Beverage and Tobacco Products)

    •     “We are concerned about the strong dollar affecting our export orders as well as the steel tariffs, which are causing domestic steel prices to rise.”
      (Fabricated Metal Products)

    •     “Strong demand from (agricultural) business; solid demand in all other business segments.”
      (Chemical Products)

    •     “Sales remain strong. Lead times and direct material costs are soaring.”
      (Machinery)

    •     “Suppliers are seeing price increases and trying to pass them on.”
      (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

    •     “Continued talk around steel tariffs has resulted in price increases for domestic line pipe, while HRC seems to be moving sideways. Temporary exemptions for allies and an agreement with South Korea have not calmed the market.”
      (Petroleum and Coal Products)

    •     “Growth seems to be coming in the construction industry, but at a slower pace than expected with delays due to weather in the U.S. Business in (Latin America) is way up, and Canada is off to a decent start.”
      (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)

    •     “Industry demand is causing price increases. Fuel prices are also on the rise, and there have been (price) increases associated with that.”
      (Primary Metals)

    •     “Severe allocation, long lead times and upward price pressure, particularly in the electronic components market, continue to hamper our ability to meet customer demand and our shipping schedule.”
      (Computer and Electronic Products)

    =========

    ISM Manufacturing Index History - May 2018
    ISM Manufacturing Index History - May 2018

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    Construction Spending During April 2018

    Earlier today, the U.S. Census Bureau -- which is part of the Commerce Department -- released its Construction Spending report for April 2018:

    Predicted: +0.8%
    Actual: +1.834% (+$23,600,000)

    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.

    • Estimated construction spending during April: $1,310,400,000.

    • March (revised): $1,286,800,000.
       
    • Change from 12 months previous: +7.613% (+$92,700,000.)

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

    Construction Spending - April 2018 Update
    Construction Spending - April 2018 Update

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