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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, December 28, 2018

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of December 21, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on December 21, 2018 was released this morning: 

-- Change from Last Week: No Change

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): +9,500,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 441,400,000 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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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for December 2018

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

Predicted: 134.0
Actual: 128.1

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Previous Month (revised): 136.4.
 
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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 decreased in December, following a moderate decline in November,' said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 'Expectations regarding job prospects and business conditions weakened, but still suggest that the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace in the short-term. While consumers are ending 2018 on a strong note, back-to-back declines in Expectations are reflective of an increasing concern that the pace of economic growth will begin moderating in the first half of 2019.'

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions declined slightly in December. The percentage of consumers saying business conditions are 'good' decreased from 42.0 percent to 37.2 percent, while those claiming business conditions are 'bad' increased from 10.7 percent to 11.3 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was mixed. Those claiming jobs are 'plentiful' decreased marginally from 46.8 percent to 46.2 percent, while those claiming jobs are 'hard to get' declined from 12.6 percent to 11.6 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term future fell in December. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months decreased from 21.9 percent to 18.3 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen increased, from 8.3 percent to 9.7 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also less favorable. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 22.7 percent to 16.6 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased, from 11.2 percent to 14.4 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement declined from 23.2 percent to 22.4 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease rose, from 7.2 percent to 7.7 percent..
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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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of December 22, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on December 22, 2018:

Predicted: 217,000
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 (revised): 217,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 218,000
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Friday, December 21, 2018

Consumer Sentiment: Final Result for December 2018

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

Predicted: 97.5
Actual: 98.3

  • Change from Previous Month: +0.821% (+0.8 point)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: +2.503% (+2.4 points)

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Previous Month's Final ICS Reading: 97.5

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Chart: Index of Consumer Sentiment History
Chart: Index of Consumer Sentiment History

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From today's report:


"...Consumer confidence remained in December at the same record favorable levels as it has throughout the year. The Sentiment Index averaged 98.4 in 2018, the best year since 107.6 in 2000. Over the past half century, sentiment was higher in only two other time periods: 1964-65 and 1997-2000. These periods correspond to the two longest prior expansions since the mid 1800's. If the current expansion lasts past mid-2019, as is likely based on current data, it will become the longest expansion ever recorded.

While the plunge in stock prices has recently garnered the most attention in the national press, consumers have focused more on their concerns about income and job prospects. Consumers reported more negative than positive news about job prospects for the first time in two years, with the shift widespread across socioeconomic subgroups. When asked about prospects for the national unemployment rate, 30% expected increases, up from last month's 22% and the highest percentage in two years. Importantly, this still meant that 70% anticipated no increase in unemployment in the year ahead. Surprisingly, even in the last week of the survey, falling stock prices were reported by just 12% as a primary concern about recent economic developments. This may reflect their initial dismissal as another indication of the heightened volatility of stock prices, and not signal an emerging downtrend. While next month's data may reflect increased concerns, it has been news of changing job and income prospects that have been of the greatest concern to consumers..."

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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 November 2018

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

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Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.4%

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Personal Income
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.2%

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  • Disposable Personal Income, Current Dollars:  +0.2%
  • Disposable Personal Income, 2012 Chained* Dollars +0.2% 

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The above 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: +0.1%
Actual: +0.1%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.8%
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Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.9%
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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 2012 as the base year.


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Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Third (Final) Estimate for Q3, 2018

Earlier this morning, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its third and final estimate for U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2018 :

Predicted: +3.5%
Actual: +3.4%

The yellow-highlighted percentage represents the quarter-to-quarter change for Real Gross Domestic Product for the entire United States.

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"...Corporate Profits

Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments) increased $78.2 billion in the third quarter, compared with an increase of $65.0 billion in the second quarter.

Profits of domestic financial corporations decreased $6.1 billion in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase of $16.5 billion in the second quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $83.0 billion, compared with an increase of $53.0 billion. Rest-of-the-world  profits increased $1.3 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $4.5 billion. In the third quarter, receipts decreased $9.5 billion, and payments decreased $10.8 billion..."

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Chart: GDP, Third Quarter 2018, Third / Final Estimate
Chart: GDP, Third Quarter 2018, Third / Final Estimate

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The GDP is a very broad measure of economic activity for the entire United States, covering all sectors of the economy. The Commerce Department defines real GDP as, "the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States."

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of December 15, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on December 15, 2018:

Predicted: 220,000
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 (unrevised): 206,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 222,000
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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Existing Home Sales During November 2018

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

Predicted: 5,190,000
Actual: 5,320,000

  •  Change from Previous Month: +1.9%

  •  Change from One Year Previous: -7.0%
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Inventory: 1,740,000 (3.9 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 November: $257,700

Change from One Year Previous: +4.2%

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Average Price for A Used Home During November: $296,300

Change from One Year Previous: +2.3%

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From Today's Report:


"...Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says two consecutive months of increases is a welcomed sign for the market. 'The market conditions in November were mixed, with good signs of stabilizing home sales compared to recent months, though down significantly from one year ago. Rising inventory is clearly taming home price appreciation.'

The median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $257,700, up 4.2 percent from November 2017 ($247,200). November’s price increase marks the 81st straight month of year-over-year gains.

'A marked shift is occurring in th West region, with much lower sales and very soft price growth,' says Yun. 'It is also the West region where consumers have expressed the weakest sentiment about home buying, largely due to lack of affordable housing inventory.'

Properties typically stayed on the market for 42 days in November, up from 36 days in October and 40 days a year ago. Forty-three percent of homes sold in November were on the market for less than a month.

'It is not surprising to see homes remain on the market a little longer,' said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota and broker at Edina Realty. 'Buyers can often negotiate a more favorable price in those circumstances, especially when paired with a motivated seller and the aid of a Realtor® familiar with their local market.'

'Inventory is plentiful on the upper-end, but a mismatch between supply and demand exists at affordable price points,' Yun added. 'Therefore, facilitating real estate development of affordable housing units in designated Opportunity Zones can provide better housing access in addition to boosting the local economy.'..."


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    Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of December 14, 2018

    The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on December 14, 2018 was released this morning: 

    -- Change from Last Week: -500,000 Barrels

    -- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): +5,000,000 Barrels

    -- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 441,500,000 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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    Tuesday, December 18, 2018

    Empire State Manufacturing Survey for December 2018

    Earlier today, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York  (NY Fed) released the Empire State Manufacturing Survey for this month (December 2018):

    Expected: +30.6
    Actual: +10.9

    Any figure below zero implies that manufacturing in the region is contracting, and vice versa.

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    The November 2018 actual figure was +23.3 

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    About this survey, from the NY Fed website:

    "...Participants from across the state in a variety of industries respond to a questionnaire and report the change in a variety of indicators from the previous month. Respondents also state the likely direction of these same indicators six months ahead..."

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    Housing Starts During November 2018

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

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    Housing Starts:
    Predicted: 1,221,000
    Actual: 1,256,000

    Change From Previous Month: +3.2%
    Change From One Year Previous: -3.6%

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    Building Permits:
    Predicted: 1,255,000
    Actual: 1,328,000

    Change From Previous Month: +5.0%
    Change From One Year Previous: +0.4%

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    Housing Starts: The top, yellow-highlighted figure is a measure of initial construction of single and multi-family residential units in the United States for the indicated month. 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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    Chart: Housing Starts - November 2018 Update
    Chart: Housing Starts - November 2018 Update

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    Saturday, December 15, 2018

    Industrial Production + Manufacturing + Capacity Utilization During November 2018

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

    Industrial Production:
    Predicted: +0.3%
    Actual: +0.6%

    Manufacturing:
    Predicted: +0.2%
    Actual: Unchanged

    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: 78.5%
    Actual: 78.5

    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 0.6 percent in November after moving down 0.2 percent in October; the index for October was previously reported to have edged up 0.1 percent. In November, manufacturing production was unchanged, the output of mining increased 1.7 percent, and the index for utilities gained 3.3 percent. At 109.4 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 3.9 percent higher in November than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector rose 0.4 percentage point in November to 78.5 percent, a rate that is 1.3 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average. .."

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    Friday, December 14, 2018

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

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

    Predicted: +0.1%
    Actual: +0.229

    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 November 2018: $513,531,000,000


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    Thursday, December 13, 2018

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

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

    Predicted: 228,000
    Actual: 206,000

    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): 233,000
    • 4-Week Moving Average: 224,750
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    Import and Export Price Indexes for November 2018

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

    Import Prices
    Predicted: -0.1%
    Actual: -1.6%

    Change From 12 Months Previous: +0.7%

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    Export Prices
    Predicted: +0.1%
    Actual: -0.9%

    Change From 12 Months Previous: +1.8%

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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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    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    Consumer Price Index (CPI) for November 2018

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

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    Predicted: Unchanged
    Actual: Unchanged 

    (Change from 12 months previous: +2.2%)

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

    Predicted: +0.2%
    Actual: +0.2%

    (Change from 12 months previous: +2.2%)

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    The above, yellow-highlighted figures represent the seasonally adjusted, month-to-month change in prices for a specific group of goods and services that consumers buy, and is, therefore, a very important part of the overall inflation picture for the country.

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

    General categories that constitute the CPI are:

    • Healthcare
    • Housing
    • Clothing
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Transportation
    • Food and Beverages
    • Recreation
    • Miscellaneous Goods and Services (grooming expenses, etc.)

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    Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of December 7, 2018

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

    -- Change from Last Week: -1,200,000 Barrels

    -- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -1,000,000 Barrels

    -- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 442,000,000 Barrels

    Diminishing crude oil inventories often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

    The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).


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    Tuesday, December 11, 2018

    Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for November 2018

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

    Predicted: No change
    Actual: +0.1%

    Change from 12 months previous: +2.5%

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

    Predicted: +0.1%
    Actual: +0.3%

    Change from 12 months previous: +2.7%

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    The above, yellow-highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in prices received by domestic producers of goods and services, for goods, services and construction in the United States, for final demand.

    Final Demand = personal consumption (consumers), exports, government purchases and capital investment.

    The PPI-FD is released by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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


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    Monday, December 10, 2018

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

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

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    Job Openings

    Predicted: 7,000,000
    Actual:    7,079,000

    • Previous Month (revised): 6,960,000

    • One Year Previous: 6,059,000

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    Hires: 5,892,000

    Total Separations: 5,556,000

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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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    Friday, December 07, 2018

    Employment Situation Report for November 2018

    The Employment Situation Report for November 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: +155,000


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

    U-6 Unemployment Rate*
    Actual: 7.6%
    Previous Month: 7.4%
    12 Months Previous: 8.0%

    Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
    Predicted: +0.3%
    Actual: +0.22% (+$0.06)

    Average Hourly Earnings (year-on-year change)
    Predicted: +3.2%
    Actual: +3.052% (+$0.81)

    Average Weekly Earnings (month-to-month change)
    Actual: -0.071% (-$0.67)


    Average Weekly Earnings (year-on-year change)
    Actual: +2.753% (+$25.21)

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

    Average Workweek
    Predicted: 34.5 hours
    Actual: 34.4 hours

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

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

    From today's report:


    "...In November, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $27.35
    [+0.22%]. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 81 cents, or [+3.052%]. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $22.95 [+0.306%] in November.

    The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised down from +250,000 to +237,000, and the change for September was revised up from +118,000 to +119,000. With these revisions, employment gains in September and October combined were 12,000 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
    170,000 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, December 06, 2018

    Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of November 30, 2018

    The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on November 30, 2018 was released this morning: 

    -- Change from Last Week: -7,300,000 Barrels

    -- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -4,900,000 Barrels

    -- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 443,200,000 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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    ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for November 2018

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

    Predicted: 59.1%
    Actual: 60.7% (+0.4 point month-on-month change)

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    Previous month: 60.3%

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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 November for the 106TH 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:

    •    “Relatively stable business conditions. Input costs are corn- and soy-based, so the ongoing trade dispute with China presents challenges and opportunities. The chief dilemmas are: When will the dispute be resolved, and what will the market reaction be?”
       (Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting)

    •     “Commercial construction is strong. Employment is struggling due to lack of qualified talent.”
       (Construction)

    •     “Midway through Q4, and on track for another good year. Conditions are favorable and look to remain so going into 2019.”
       (Finance and Insurance)

    •     “Business is booming. Labor costs are rising.”
       (Information)

    •     “November continues our busy season, at a higher rate than we anticipated. Both internal and supplier resources have had success gaining some ground back on backlog of orders. A large volume of orders is always expected this time of year, but this year, it has been busier than our organization and suppliers anticipated.”
       (Management of Companies and Support Services)

    •     “Business continues to improve internationally, but there is a slowdown in domestics offshore and leveling in domestic onshore, which directly affects our business. There are concerns about domestic trucking and international flat rack availability. There is also discussion of implementation of trucking e-log requirements in Mexico sometime in 2019 or 2020. That could affect our trucking providers’ lead time for delivery-support services in the Mexican region.”
       (Other Services)

    •     “The imposition of and threats to impose tariffs are having a negative effect on several capital-improvement projects in progress. The contractors have submitted change order requests for those items impacted, especially those with a steel component. The increases are not expected or budgeted for.”
       (Public Administration)

    •     “The business is preparing for the later phases of tariffs by slowing down growth and capital investment until the future becomes clearer. We are starting to pull months of inventory in before the next round of tariffs hit, so there is a lot of activity on our logistics side.”
       (Retail Trade)

    •     “We are still experiencing low service levels with transportation.”
       (Wholesale Trade)

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    ISM Non-Manufacturing (Services) Index (NMI®) - 12 Month History - November 2018 Update
    ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) - 12 Month History - November 2018 Update

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    Productivity and Labor Costs Report for Q3 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 third quarter of 2018 (revised):

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

    Change from A Year Ago: +1.3%

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    Unit Labor Costs
    Predicted: +1.1%
    Actual: +0.9%

    Change from A Year Ago: +0.9%

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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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    • The preliminary productivity report for Q4 2018 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.
     
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    New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of December 1, 2018

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

    Predicted: 225,000
    Actual: 231,000

    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): 235,000
    • 4-Week Moving Average: 228,000
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    Monday, December 03, 2018

    ISM Manufacturing Index for November 2018

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

    Predicted: 57.2%
    Actual: 59.3% (+1.6 points month-on-month change)

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    Previous month: 57.7%

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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 November, and the overall economy grew for the 115th 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:



    •     “Shortages, longer lead times and capacity constraints [particularly in the electronic components marketplace] and tariffs continue to strain the supply chain and disrupt normal business practices and activities.”
       (Computer and Electronic Products)

    •     “Seeing a number [of] areas of slowdown that are concerning: truck market loosening [and] ISO depots full of empty containers, all signs of decreasing business activity.”
       (Chemical Products)

    •     “Production continues at increased levels.”
       (Transportation Equipment)

    •     “Labor shortages in our area are affecting production volumes.”
       (Food, Beverage and Tobacco Products)

    •     “Trade tariffs and commodity increases have greatly affected our ability to remain competitive in the market.”
       (Machinery)

    •     “Business [orders] steady. Many customers [moving] orders up due to price increases [from commodity costs and tariffs].”
       (Furniture and Related Products)

    •     “Business remains strong. Tariffs impact is fully reflected in Q3 results, and initiatives are underway to move work out of China into other low-cost countries.”
       (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

    •     “A lack of experienced workers is having an impact on production, which impacts sourcing due to the skills gap in the manufacturing trades; particularly computer numeric controlled machinists, but also assemblers and welders. The challenge is meeting customer-delivery requirements for new and repaired equipment.”
       (Fabricated Metal Products)

    •     “Steel tariffs continue to put upward pressure on downstream materials (even when sourcing steel domestically). Long-haul trucking market seems to be normalizing after the implementation of the electronic logging requirements. Oil volatility is also beginning to make its way through downstream materials.”
       (Petroleum and Coal Products)

    •     “Continuing to increase imports in order to receive material in by the end of the year to avoid potential 25-percent tariffs.”
       (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)
       
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    ISM Manufacturing Index - 12 Month History - November 2018 Update
    ISM Manufacturing Index - 12 Month History - November 2018 Update

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