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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): First Estimate for Q4, 2018

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

Predicted: +2.2%
Actual: +2.6%

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


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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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Chart: GDP - Q4 2018 - First Estimate
Chart: GDP - Q4 2018 - First Estimate

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of February 22, 2019

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on February 22, 2019 was released this morning: 

-- Change from Last Week: -8,600,000

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): +22,400,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 445,900,000 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, February 21, 2019

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of February 15, 2019

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on February 15, 2019 was released this morning: 

-- Change from Last Week: +3,700,000

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): +34,000,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 454,500,000 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 January, 2019

The Existing Home Sales report for January, 2019 was released by The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) this morning:

Predicted: 5,040,000
Actual: 4,940,000

  •  Change from Previous Month: -1.2%

  •  Change from One Year Previous: -8.5%
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Inventory: 1,590,000 (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 January: $247,500

Change from One Year Previous: +2.8%

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Average Price for A Used Home During January: $286,800

Change from One Year Previous: +1.5%

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From Today's Report:


"...Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says last month’s home sales of 4.94 million were the lowest since November 2015, but that he does not expect the numbers to decline further going forward. 'Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low. Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months.'

The median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $247,500, up 2.8 percent from January 2018 ($240,800). January’s price increase marks the 83rd straight month of year-over-year gains.

Yun notes that this median home price growth is the slowest since February 2012, and is cautions that the figures do not yet tell the full story for the month of January. 'Lower mortgage rates from December 2018 had little impact on January sales, however, the lower rates will inevitably lead to more home sales.'

While total inventory grew (on a year-over-year basis) for the sixth straight month, Yun says the market is still suffering from an inventory shortage. 'In particular, the lower end of the market is experiencing a greater shortage, and more home construction is needed,' says Yun. 'Taking steps to lower construction costs would be a tremendous help. Local zoning ordinances should also be reformed, while the housing permitting process must be expedited; these simple acts would immediately increase homeownership opportunities and boost local economies.'

Realtor.com®’s Market Hotness Index, measuring time-on-the-market data and listing views per property, revealed that the hottest metro areas in January were Midland, Texas; Chico, California; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 4.46 percent in January from 4.64 percent in December. The average commitment rate for all of 2018 was 4.54 percent.

'Decelerated sales and the increases in inventory will work in favor of potential homebuyers, putting them in a better negotiating position heading into the spring months,' said NAR President
John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota and broker at Edina Realty. 'On top of that, low-interest rates will bring an additional $80 per month savings compared to the rates of just a few months ago.'..."

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Friday, February 15, 2019

All 3 Major Indexes Advanced On The Week

Summary of U.S. Markets for the Week Ending February 15, 2019:

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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed @ 25,883.25:

- added 776.92 points (+3.095%) on the week.
- lost 945.14 points (-3.523%) since the October 3, 2018 record-high close (26,828.39.)

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S and P 500 Index closed @ 2,775.60:

- gained 67.72 points (+2.501%) on the week.
- lost 155.15 points (-5.294%) since the September 20, 2018 record-high close (2,930.75.)

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NASDAQ Composite Index closed @ 7,472.41:

- added 174.21 points (+2.387%) on the week.
- lost 637.28 points (-7.858%) since the August 29, 2018 record-high close (8,109.69.)

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- NYMEX Crude Oil for Future Delivery closed @ $55.59 per barrel

- Comex Gold for April 2019 delivery closed @ $1,322.10 per troy ounce

- In New York, a U.S. dollar buys 0.885 euros

- In New York, a Euro buys 1.1298 U.S. dollars

- The United States Prime Rate is 5.50%

- The Target Range for the Fed Funds Rate is 2.25% - 2.50%

- The yield on the 10-Year Treasury Note is currently @ 2.66%


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Import and Export Price Indexes for January 2019

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its report on U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes for January 2019:

Import Prices
Predicted: Unchanged
Actual: -0.5%

Change From 12 Months Previous: -1.7%

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Export Prices
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: -0.6%

Change From 12 Months Previous: -0.2%

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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 January 2019

The Industrial Production, Manufacturing and Capacity Utilization numbers for January 2019 were released by the Federal Reserve this morning:

Industrial Production:
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: -0.6%

Manufacturing:
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: -0.9%

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: 78.8%
Actual: 78.2

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 decreased 0.6 percent in January after rising 0.1 percent in December. In January, manufacturing production fell 0.9 percent, primarily as a result of a large drop in motor vehicle assemblies; factory output excluding motor vehicles and parts decreased 0.2 percent. The indexes for mining and utilities moved up 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. At 109.4 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 3.8 percent higher in January than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased 0.6 percentage point in January to 78.2 percent, a rate that is 1.6 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2018) average..."

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

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

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

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: -1.244% (-$6,374,000,000)

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 December 2018: $505,826,000,000

  • Change from 12 months previous: +2.274% (+$11,248,000,000)

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of February 9, 2019

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on February 9, 2019:

Predicted: 225,000
Actual: 239,000

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: 231,750
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Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for January 2019

The Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for January 2019 was released this morning:

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: -0.1%

Change from 12 months previous:  +2.0%

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: 0.2%

Change from 12 months previous:  +2.5%

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

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

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

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


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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of February 8, 2019

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on February 8, 2019 was released this morning: 

-- Change from Last Week: +3,600,000

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): +28,700,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 450,800,000 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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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January 2019

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January 2019:

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Predicted: +0.1
Actual: Unchanged 

(Change from 12 months previous: +1.6%)

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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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Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI) - January 2019 Update
Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI) - January 2019 Update

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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

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

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Job Openings

Predicted: 6,900,000
Actual:    7,335,000 (All-Time Record High*)

  • Previous Month (revised): 7,166,000

  • One Year Previous: 5,669,000

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Hires: 5,907,000

Total Separations: 5,545,000

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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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Job Openings Rate - December 2018 Update
Job Openings Rate - December 2018 Update

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Thursday, February 07, 2019

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of February 2, 2019

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on February 2, 2019:

Predicted: 223,000
Actual: 234,000

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): 253,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 224,750
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Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of February 1, 2019

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on February 1, 2019 was released this morning: 

-- Change from Last Week: +1,300,000

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): +27,000,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 447,200,000 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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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for January 2019

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM®) released their Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for January 2019:

Predicted: 57.1%
Actual: 56.7% (-1.3 points month-on-month change)

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Previous month: 58.0%

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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 January for the 108TH 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:

  • “Business has slowed well below expectations as our customers deal with the effects of economic situations exacerbated by the government shutdown.”
     (Construction)

  • “The government shutdown is not affecting our business at this time.”
     (Finance + Insurance)

  • “Prices are volatile due to tariff restrictions.”
     (Management of Companies + Support Services)

  • “We are trying to hold out through the government shutdown. Currently, our work is continuing with already obligated prior-year funds. We have not had to suspend any activities. The shutdown is affecting the United States Agency for International Development’s [USAID] and the Department of State’s ability to process actions, share information or plan for the future. That is the shutdown’s effect on us. The longer it lasts, the greater the disruption.”
     (Professional, Scientific + Technical Services)

  • “Apprehension regarding overall economic conditions due to uncertainly of the partial government shutdown, its effect on business climate and lack of national strategic direction. Economic activity remains strong locally; however, there is concern that this may change quickly due to uncertainty and reports of slowing economic indicators.”
     (Public Administration)

  • “Order input stable, and supplier deliveries growing. The industry is struggling with capacity constraints.”
     (Real Estate, Rental + Leasing)

  • “Things are steady. We’re trying to mitigate any impact of the tariffs.”
     (Retail Trade)

  • “The shutdown and potential delay in tax refunds will hurt our business.”
     (Wholesale Trade)

  • “Central processing unit (CPU) shortages continue to impact fulfillment of orders.”
     (Transportation + Warehousing)

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ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) - 12 Month History - January 2019 Update
ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) - 12 Month History - January 2019 Update

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Friday, February 01, 2019

ISM Manufacturing Index for January 2019

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) released their Manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI®) for January 2019:

Predicted: 57.9%
Actual: 56.6% (+2.3 points month-on-month change)

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Previous month: 54.3%

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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 December, and the overall economy grew for the 117th 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:



  •     “Unlike in the last few years, we are experiencing a first quarter slowdown.”
     (Paper Products)

  •     “Steady supply and production environment.”
     (Computer + Electronic Products)

  •     “Concerns about oil prices are fueling questions of how strong the economy will be the first half of 2019.”
     (Chemical Products)

  •     “Overall, business continues to be good; however, margins are being squeezed.”
     (Transportation Equipment)

  •     “The federal government shutdown is impacting our ability to get new products launched. All wines need TTB [Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau] approval. We are reforecasting accordingly.”
     (Food, Beverage + Tobacco Products)

  •     “We continue to enjoy the benefits of a strong general economy. We are busy and maintain a backlog of sales orders.”
     (Machinery)

  •     “Incoming orders have been steady, but we’re starting to see signs of slowing going into February and March.”
     (Furniture + Related Products)

  •     “Business conditions are good, and our demand and production are tracking to our forecasted growth levels for the year.”
     (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

  •     “Going to be a very strong spring. Business levels will be just as good [compared to] the same time frame in 2018.”
     (Fabricated Metal Products)

  •     “Steel tariffs continue to put upward pressure on prices of downstream materials.”
     (Petroleum + Coal Products)

  •     “January is off to a good start versus a lower November and December. We are ahead of both plan and January 2018 performance.”
     (Plastics and Rubber Products)

  •     “Sales nationally appear to be on target for 2019 and slightly ahead of 2018.”
     (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)
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ISM Manufacturing Index - 12 Month History - January 2019 Update
ISM Manufacturing Index - 12 Month History - January 2019 Update

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Employment Situation Report for January 2019

The Employment Situation Report for January 2019 was released by The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +158,000
Actual: +304,000


U-3 Unemployment Rate (Headline)
Actual: 4.0%
Previous Month: 3.9%
12 Months Previous: 4.1%

U-6 Unemployment Rate*
Actual: 8.1%
Previous Month: 7.6%
12 Months Previous: 8.2%

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.109% (+$0.03)

Average Hourly Earnings (year-on-year change)
Predicted: +3.2%
Actual: +3.182% (+$0.85)

Average Weekly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Actual: +0.108% (+$1.03)


Average Weekly Earnings (year-on-year change)
Actual: +3.483% (+$32.00)

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: 63.2%
Previous Month: 63.1%
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 January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $27.56
[+0.109%], following a 10-cent gain in December. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 85 cents, or [+3.182%]. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 3 cents to $23.12 [+0.13%] in January.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised up from +176,000 to +196,000, and the change for December was revised down from +312,000 to +222,000. With these revisions, employment gains in November and December combined were 70,000 less than previously reported. After revisions, job gains have averaged
241,000 per month over the last 3 months. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors. The annual benchmark process also contributed to the November and December revisions.)..." [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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