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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Monday, May 20, 2019

Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) for April 2019

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago released its National Activity Index (CFNAI) for April 2019:

Predicted: -0.10
Actual (CFNAI): -0.45

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of growth in national economic activity drawn from four broad categories of data:

  • Production and income;
  • Employment, unemployment, and hours;
  • Personal consumption and housing; and
  • Sales, orders, and inventories.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the yellow-highlighted figure is what was reported.

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  • Previous Month (revised): +0.05
  • 3-Month Moving Average (CFNAI-MA3): -0.32
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Chart: Chicago Fed National Activity Index with Business Cycles April 2019 Update
Chart: Chicago Fed National Activity Index with Business Cycles
April 2019 Update

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From Today's Report

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

Led by declines in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) fell to –0.45 in April from +0.05 in March. Three of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index decreased from March, and two of the four categories made negative contributions to the index in April. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, moved down to –0.32 in April from –0.24 in March.
The CFNAI Diffusion Index, which is also a three-month moving average, decreased to –0.22 in April from –0.16 in March. Thirty-three of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in April, while 52 made negative contributions. Thirty-seven indicators improved from March to April, while 48 indicators deteriorated. Of the indicators that improved, 14 made negative contributions..."
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Understanding The CFNAI:

A zero value for the monthly index has been associated with the national economy expanding at its historical trend (average) rate of growth; negative values with below-average growth (in standard deviation units); and positive values with above-average growth.

Periods of economic expansion have historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 above -0.70 and the CFNAI Diffusion Index above -0.35. Conversely, periods of economic contraction have historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 below -0.70 and the CFNAI Diffusion Index below -0.35.

An increasing likelihood of a period of sustained increasing inflation has historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 above +0.70 more than two years into an economic expansion. Similarly, a substantial likelihood of a period of sustained increasing inflation has historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 above +1.00 more than two years into an economic expansion.

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of May 11, 2019

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on May 11, 2019:

Predicted: 219,000
Actual: 212,000

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): 228,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 225,000
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Housing Starts During April 2019

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released its Housing Starts report for April 2019:

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,200,000
Actual: 1,235,000

Change From Previous Month: +5.7%
Change From One Year Previous: -2.5%

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,290,000
Actual: 1,296,000

Change From Previous Month: +0.6%
Change From One Year Previous: -5.0%

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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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Chart: Housing Starts - April 2019 Update
Chart: Housing Starts - April 2019 Update

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of May 10, 2019

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on May 10, 2019 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: +5,400,000 Barrels

-- Change from A Year Ago (Y/Y): +39,700,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 472,000,000 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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Friday, May 03, 2019

Employment Situation Report for April 2019

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

Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +180,000
Actual: +263,000


U-3 Unemployment Rate (Headline)
Actual: 3.6%
Previous Month: 3.8%
12 Months Previous: 3.9%

U-6 Unemployment Rate*
Actual: 7.3%
Previous Month: 7.3%
12 Months Previous: 7.8%

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.217% (+$0.06)

Average Hourly Earnings (year-on-year change)
Predicted: +3.3%
Actual: +3.234% (+$0.87)

Average Weekly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Actual: -0.074% (-$0.71)


Average Weekly Earnings (year-on-year change)
Actual: +2.935% (+$27.24)

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: 62.8%
Previous Month: 63.0%
12 Months Previous: 62.8%

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:

"...
Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $23.31 [+0.301%] in April.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised up from +33,000 to +56,000, and the change for March was revised down from +196,000 to +189,000. With these revisions, employment gains in February and March combined were 16,000 more 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 169,000 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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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of May 3, 2019

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on May 3, 2019 was released this morning:

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

-- Change from A Year Ago (Y/Y): +32,800,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 466,600,000 Barrels

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

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



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