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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, September 14, 2018

Import and Export Price Indexes for August 2018

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

Import Prices
Predicted: -0.1%
Actual: (-0.6%)

Change From 12 Months Previous: +3.7%

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Export Prices
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: -0.1%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +3.6%

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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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Industrial Production + Manufacturing + Capacity Utilization During August 2018

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

Industrial Production:
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.4%

Manufacturing:
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.2%

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: 78.3%
Actual: 78.1

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

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

From today's report:

"...Industrial production rose 0.4 percent in August for its third consecutive monthly increase. Manufacturing output moved up 0.2 percent on the strength of a 4.0 percent rise for motor vehicles and parts; motor vehicle assemblies jumped to an annual rate of 11.5 million units, the strongest reading since April. Excluding the gain in motor vehicles and parts, factory output was unchanged. The output of utilities advanced 1.2 percent, and mining production increased 0.7 percent; the index for mining last decreased in January. At 108.2 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 4.9 percent higher in August than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector moved up in August to 78.1 percent, a rate that is 1.7 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average..."




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U.S. Retail And Food Services Sales Report for August 2018

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

Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.087% (+$440,000,000)

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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-- Estimated Retail Sales During August 2018: $507,533,000,000

-- Change from 12 Months Previous: +6.6347% (+$31,680,000,000)

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Chart: Retail Sales - August 2018 Update
Chart: Retail Sales - August 2018 Update
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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Consumer Price Index (CPI) for August 018

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

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Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.2%

(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: +0.1%

(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.)

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Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI) - August 2018 Update
Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI) - August 2018 Update

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of September 8, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on September 8, 2018:

Predicted: 210,000
Actual: 204,000

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): 205,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 208,000
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From today's report:


"...This is the lowest level for initial claims since December 6, 1969 when it was 202,00...."

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of September 7, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on September 7, 2018 was released this morning: 

-- Change from Last Week: -5,300,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -72,000,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 396,200,000 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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Friday, September 07, 2018

Employment Situation Report for August 2018

The Employment Situation Report for August 2018 was released by The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +195,000
Actual: +201,000


U-3 Unemployment Rate (Headline)
Actual: 3.9%
Previous Month: 3.9%
12 Months Previous: 4.4%

U-6 Unemployment Rate*
Actual: 7.4%
Previous Month: 7.5%
12 Months Previous: 8.6%

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.37% (+$0.10)

Average Hourly Earnings (year-on-year change)
Predicted: +2.7%
Actual: +2.918% (+$0.77)

Average Weekly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Actual: +0.37% (+$3.45)


Average Weekly Earnings (year-on-year change)
Actual: +3.216% (+$29.20)

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: 62.7%
Previous Month: 62.9%
12 Months Previous: 62.9%

Average Workweek
Predicted: 34.5 hours
Actual: 34.5 hours

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

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

From today's report:


"...In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents to $27.16
[+0.37%]. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 77 cents, or [+2.918%]. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $22.73 [+0.309%] in August.


The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised down from +248,000 to +208,000, and the change for July was revised down from +157,000 to +147,000. With these revisions, employment gains in June and July combined were 50,000 less than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.)
After revisions, job gains have averaged 185,000 per month over the last 3 months..." [Establishment Survey Data]
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 * =  The U-6 Unemployment Rate is defined as:

"Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force."



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Thursday, September 06, 2018

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

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

Predicted: 56.8%
Actual: 58.5% (+2.8 points | +5.027% M/M Change)

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Previous month: 55.7%

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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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From today' report:

"...Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in June for the 103RD consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®..."

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

  •     'Tariff-related cost increases are beginning to accelerate, whether tariffs have been put into effect or not.'
     (Construction)

  •     'Our business continues to increase, perhaps linked to the general economy and aging baby boomers.'
     (Health Care + Social Assistance)

  •     'Government tariffs are negatively impacting production and recycling sales. Pulp costs have gone up, and that has directly impacted paper for our newspaper production and copy paper. A 10-percent tariff has been placed on aluminum, [which] is used to make production plates. Those used plates are put on the recycling market, which China has put a tariff on. These dynamics have a significant impact on newspaper margins.'
     (Information)

  •     'Business for August is surprisingly higher for our company compared to last month and YOY [year over year]. Based on current trends on customer quote requests and conversions to orders, we are trending for this month to be the best August in the history of our company.'
     (Management of Companies + Support Services)

  •     'The global tariff war, [with] steel in particular, has driven the cost of goods higher.'
     (Mining)

  •     'Oil and gas hiring continues to increase, particularly in the oil-field services sector. Capital-project activity is strong in the downstream, petrochemical, midstream and onshore drilling sectors. New investment in deepwater drilling projects remains low.'
     (Professional, Scientific + Technical Services)

  •     'Business activity is markedly higher now that the government is in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year and agencies need to obligate their fiscal year 2018 funds. Many contracts expiring in this time frame require renewal.'
     (Public Administration)

  •     'Overall, business has increased. Many factors can be attributed to this increase in demand, [including] the budget and positive outlook on the economy.'
     (Real Estate, Rental + Leasing)

  •     'Solid Q2 results, beating estimates all around. Since we are a services business, the tariffs have little impact [at this point] but are nonetheless a consideration. We do harbor future concerns about the general cost of goods from overseas and the effects on consumer pricing. In the labor market, we have seen a noticeable increase in difficulty to attract and retain talent at all levels. We have begun taking steps to change compensation packages to combat this issue.'
     (Retail Trade)

  •     'Demand for transportation has started earlier than normal with the rail [industry] announcing peak season surcharges that were effective August 1. We are having to re-adjust inventory levels sooner than anticipated.'
     (Wholesale Trade)



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ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI) History - August 2018 Update
ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI) History - August 2018 Update

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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of August 31, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on August 31, 2018 was released this morning: 

-- Change from Last Week: -4,300,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -60,900,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 401,500,000 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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Productivity and Labor Costs Report for Q2 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 second quarter of 2018 (revised):

Nonfarm Productivity
Predicted: +3.0%
Actual: +2.9%

Change from A Year Ago: +1.3%

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Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: -1.0%
Actual: -1.0%

Change from A Year Ago: +1.9%

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The yellow-highlighted percentages 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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of September 1, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on September 1, 2018:

Predicted: 213,000
Actual: 203,000

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): 213,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 209,500
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From today's report:


"...This is the lowest level for initial claims since December 6, 1969 when it was 202,000...."

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U.S. Factory Orders During July 2018

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

Predicted: -0.7%
Actual: -0.769% (-$3,858,000,000)


  • July 2018 New Orders: $497,754,000,000.

  • June 2018 New Orders (revised): $501,612,000,000 (+0.644% | +$3,211,000,000)

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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.

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U.S. Factory Orders - July 2018 Update
U.S. Factory Orders - July 2018 Update

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Tuesday, September 04, 2018

ISM Manufacturing Index for August 2018

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

Predicted: 57.7%
Actual: 61.3%

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Previous month: 58.1%

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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.

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From Today's Report:

"...Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in June, and the overall economy grew for the 112th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®..."
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The following is a sampling of quotes from a diverse pool of U.S. manufacturers:



  •     'Busy for new orders, but the cost of raw material chemicals keeps going up.'
     (Chemical Products)

  •     'We have seen a slight uptick in international business. Suppliers do not seem to know how to handle the recently imposed tariffs. Most are waiting to re-evaluate potential price increases until September.'
     (Computer + Electronic Products)

  •     'Generally high levels of demand continue, and [we are] planning for this elevated rate through the rest of the year.'
     (Transportation Equipment)

  •     'Suppliers appear to be bracing us for cost increases, given increased talk of tariffs and inflation. We are budgeting for 2019 accordingly.'
     (Food, Beverage
    + Tobacco Products)

  •     'The toughest thing we deal with is the unknown. Dealing with tariffs on steel purchases and not knowing if or when they will end makes planning difficult. We are entering the period when we begin our pricing negotiations for next year and will likely treat the tariffs as if they will be here for the entire year. It’s challenging, but not insurmountable.'
     (Fabricated Metal Products)

  •     'Business is positive, new equipment sales and inquiries are strong, and the parts business is strong. Raw material costs, especially steel, appear to be leveling off. Cost of manufactured components has also leveled off. Most suppliers are willing and able to suppress cost increases. Tariff impacts are still a concern.'
     (Machinery)

  •     'Business continues to be strong. We anticipate growth in the next few months.'
     (Plastics
    + Rubber Products)

  •     'Business conditions are strong. Orders are up. Purchase prices are up. Unemployment is down.'
     (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

  •     'Continued strong demand has most locations in a sold-out market, putting pressure on our facilities to produce and have strong uptime. Purchasing is under pressure to provide critical parts in a market where lead times have increased.'
     (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)

  •     'Steel tariffs and their threats are putting upward pressure on downstream materials.'
     (Petroleum
    + Coal Products)

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ISM Manufacturing Index History - August 2018 Update
ISM Manufacturing Index History - August 2018 Update

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