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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Housing Starts During October 2018

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

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,240,000
Actual: 1,228,000

Change From Previous Month: +1.5%
Change From One Year Previous: -2.9%

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,260,000
Actual: 1,263,000

Change From Previous Month: -0.6%
Change From One Year Previous: -6.0%

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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 - October 2018 Update
Housing Starts - October 2018 Update

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Industrial Production + Manufacturing + Capacity Utilization During October 2018

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

Industrial Production:
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

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

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

Capacity Utilization Rate:
Predicted: 78.2%
Actual: 78.4

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.

From today's report:

"...Industrial production edged up 0.1% in October, as a gain for manufacturing outweighed decreases elsewhere. As a result of upward revisions primarily in mining, the overall index is now reported to have advanced at an annual rate of 4.7% in the third quarter, appreciably above the gain of 3.3% reported initially. Hurricanes lowered the level of industrial production in both September and October, but their effects appear to be less than 0.1% per month. In October, manufacturing output rose 0.3% for its fifth consecutive monthly increase, while the indexes for mining and for utilities declined 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively. At 109.1% of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 4.1% higher in October than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector was 78.4%, a rate that is 1.4 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average..."

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Import and Export Price Indexes for October 2018

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

Import Prices
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.5%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +3.5%

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Export Prices
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.4%

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.


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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of November 10, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on November 10, 2018:

Predicted: 214,000
Actual: 216,000

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): 214,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 215,250
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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of November 9, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on November 9, 2018 was released this morning: 

-- Change from Last Week: +10,300,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -16,900,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 442,100,000 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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U.S. Retail And Food Services Sales Report for October 2018

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

Predicted: +0.5%
Actual: +0.765% (+$3,882,000)

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 October 2018: $511,488,000,000

-- Change from 12 Months Previous: +4.567% (+$22,340,000,000)

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Chart: Retail Sales - October 2018 Update
Chart: Retail Sales - October 2018 Update

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Consumer Price Index (CPI) for October 2018

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

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Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.3%

(Change from 12 months previous: +2.5%)

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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: +2.1%)

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

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Thursday, November 08, 2018

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of November 3, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on November 3, 2018:

Predicted: 213,000
Actual: 214,000

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): 215,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 213,750
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Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of November 2, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on November 2, 2018 was released this morning: 

-- Change from Last Week: +5,800,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -25,400,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 431,800,000 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, November 06, 2018

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

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

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Job Openings

Predicted: 7,110,000
Actual:    7,009,000

  • Previous Month (revised): 7,293,000 (all-time record high*)

  • One Year Previous: 6,229,000

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Hires: 5,744,000

Total Separations: 5,667,000

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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, November 05, 2018

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

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

Predicted: 59.1%
Actual: 60.3% (-1.3 points | -2.11% Month-on-Month Change)

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Previous month: 61.6%

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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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From today' report:

"...Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in June for the 105TH 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:

  •    “Tariffs are beginning to impact business. We ask our suppliers to hold pricing for six months, but we are experiencing difficulties.”
     (Construction)

  •     “Wrapping up fiscal year budgets [and] seeing modest increases in volume and spend. Some price increases due to tariffs on computers/peripherals.”
     (Finance + Insurance)

  •     “Stable at the moment. Still continuing to look at opportunities to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.”
     (Health Care + Social Assistance)

  •     “The promotional-products trade continues to stay strong going into the end of the year. This reflects the overall macroeconomics of how the economy is doing thus far. We have not yet begun to see the impacts on prices due to the additional tariffs against China. We anticipate that price increases may start to work into the supply chain early in the first quarter.”
     (Management of Companies + Support Services)

  •     “It has been very difficult to make decisions due to instability brought by the latest trading dispute. In this environment, clients tend to postpone capital-expenditure decisions.”
     (Mining)

  •     “Increasing oil prices should provide an uptick in customer orders for our services in the fourth quarter. Conversely, it will likely lead to higher prices for consumables, specifically bulk chemicals and plastics. Also, hiring is becoming an issue, as finding suitable workers is more difficult as time passes.”
     (Professional, Scientific + Technical Services)

  •     “September 30 was the last day of the fiscal year. To close out the year and transition to the new year, activity levels will be different from the usual. Economic growth continues to be high, especially related to construction projects. As such, construction contractors, sub-contractors and labor remain in short supply.”
     (Public Administration)

  •     “Business has been strong. Continuing momentum seen in past month. Anticipating continued strong sales through remainder of the year.”
     (Retail Trade)

  •     “Transportation capacity shortages remain our largest challenge.”
     (Wholesale Trade)

  •     “There was a slight seasonal drop in activity as the school year commenced [because] most orders we placed and received were in the quarter preceding the school year.”
     (Educational Services)

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    ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) 12 Month History
    ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) 12 Month History

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    Friday, November 02, 2018

    Employment Situation Report for October 2018

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

    Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
    Predicted: +190,000
    Actual: +250,000


    U-3 Unemployment Rate (Headline)
    Actual: 3.7%
    Previous Month: 3.7%
    12 Months Previous: 4.1%

    U-6 Unemployment Rate*
    Actual: 7.4%
    Previous Month: 7.5%
    12 Months Previous: 8.0%

    Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
    Predicted: +0.2%
    Actual: +0.1835% (+$0.05)

    Average Hourly Earnings (year-on-year change)
    Predicted: +3.0%
    Actual: +3.136% (+$0.83)

    Average Weekly Earnings (month-to-month change)
    Actual: +0.475% (+$4.45)


    Average Weekly Earnings (year-on-year change)
    Actual: +3.435% (+$31.28)

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

    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 October, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents to $27.30 [+0.1835%]. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 83 cents, or [+3.136%]. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $22.89 [+0.3067%] in October.

    The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised down from +134,000 to +118,000, and the change for August was revised up from +270,000 to +286,000. The downward revision in September offset the upward revision in August. (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
    218,000 over the past 3 months..." [Establishment Survey Data]
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     * =  The U-6 Unemployment Rate is defined as:

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



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    Thursday, November 01, 2018

    ISM Manufacturing Index for October 2018

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

    Predicted: 59.1%
    Actual: 57.7% (-2.1 points | -3.512% M/M change)

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    Previous month: 59.8%

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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 114th 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:



    •     “All electronic components are having shortages and much longer lead times that impact our production.”
       (Computer + Electronic Products)

    •     “Tariffs are causing inflation: increased costs of imports, increased cost of freight and increased domestic costs from suppliers who import.”
       (Chemical Products)

    •     “Protein prices continue under pressure from heavy U.S. supplies and export concerns related to trade tariffs. Higher costs related to trade tariffs are starting to be passed on to the cost of goods sold.”
       (Food, Beverage + Tobacco Products)

    •     “While order intake remains steady, the pace has slowed since the first half the year. Instead of growing, the backlog is declining. We were processing orders at a high level; now they are at the point of status quo from late 2017. We are not concerned yet, but there is certainly trepidation about the future.”
       (Machinery)

    •     “NAFTA 2.0/USMCA does nothing to help our company, as it does not address Section 232 tariffs.”
       (Plastics + Rubber Products)

    •     “We continue to run at full capacity. I continue to see pricing pressures and longer lead times in most commodities.”
       (Primary Metals)

    •     “Mounting pressure due to pending tariffs. Bracing for delays in material from China — a rush of orders trying to race tariff implementation is flooding shipping and customs.”
       (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

    •     “Demand is high, and the supply chains are stressed.”
       (Transportation Equipment)

    •     “Orders and shipments are strong right now. Backlog for Q4 and next year are way down. Savvy customers are asking us to hold pricing on blanket orders, but material suppliers will only hold prices for a few days, which puts us in a bad spot. We'll be spending as much as possible on capital improvements before the end of the year.”
       (Fabricated Metal Products)

    •     “Steel tariffs continue to negatively affect our cost, even though we utilize U.S. sources for steel. Oil prices put meaningful upward pressure on cost. Continued tightness with truck drivers is expected.”
       (Petroleum + Coal Products)

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    ISM Manufacturing Index History - October 2018 Update
    ISM Manufacturing Index History - October 2018 Update

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    New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of October 27, 2018

    Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on October 27, 2018:

    Predicted: 212,000
    Actual: 214,000

    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): 216,000
    • 4-Week Moving Average: 213,750
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    Productivity and Labor Costs Report for Q3 2018 (Preliminary)

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

    Nonfarm Productivity
    Predicted: +2.3%
    Actual: +2.2%

    Change from A Year Ago: +1.3%

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    Unit Labor Costs
    Predicted: +1.1%
    Actual: +1.2%

    Change from A Year Ago: +1.5%

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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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    • The revised Q3 2018 productivity report is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, December 5, 2018.
     
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