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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, August 30, 2019

Consumer Sentiment: Final Result for August 2019

The University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) - Final Result for August 2019 was released today:

Predicted: 92.3
Actual: 89.8

  • Change from Previous Month: -8.74% (-8.6 points)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: -6.653% (-6.4 points)

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  • Final ICS Reading for July 2019: 98.4

  • Final ICS Reading for August 2018: 96.2

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From today's report:

"...The Consumer Sentiment Index posted its largest monthly decline in August 2019 (-8.6 points) since December 2012 (-9.8 points). The 2012 plunge reflected widespread fears of being pushed off the 'fiscal cliff' due to rising taxes and falling government spending. The recent decline is due to negative references to tariffs, which were spontaneously mentioned by one-in-three consumers.

Unlike concerns about the fiscal cliff, which were promptly resolved, Trump’s tariff policies have been subject to repeated reversals amid threats of higher future tariffs. Such tactics may have some merit in negotiations with China, but they act to increase uncertainty and diminish consumer spending at home. Unlike the repeated tariff reversals, negative trends in consumer sentiment cannot be easily reversed. The data indicate that the erosion of consumer confidence due to tariff policies is now well underway.
Compared with those who did not reference tariffs, consumers who made spontaneous negative references to tariffs also voiced higher year-ahead inflation expectations, more frequently expected rising unemployment, and expected smaller annual gains in household incomes (see the chart). While the overall level of sentiment is still consistent with modest gains in consumption, the data nonetheless increased the likelihood that consumers could be pushed off the 'tariff cliff' in the months ahead..."

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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 July 2019

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its report on The PCE Price Index, Consumer Spending and Personal Income for July 2019:

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Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)
Predicted: +0.5%
Actual: +0.6%

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Personal Income
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.1%

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  • Disposable Personal Income, Current Dollars:  +0.3%
  • Disposable Personal Income, 2012 Chained* Dollars +0.1% 

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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: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.4%
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Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.6%
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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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Chart: Real Disposable Personal Income and Real Consumer Spending - July-2019
Chart: Real Disposable Personal Income and Real Consumer Spending - July 2019

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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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Thursday, August 29, 2019

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of August 24, 2019

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on August 24, 2019:

Predicted: 213,000
Actual: 215,000

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): 211,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 214,500
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Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Second Estimate for Q2, 2019

Earlier this morning, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its second estimate for U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2019 :

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Predicted: +2.0%
  • Actual: +2.0%

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 $105.8 billion in the second quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $78.7 billion in the first quarter.

Profits of domestic financial corporations increased $4.0 billion in the second quarter, compared with an increase of $22.2 billion in the first quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $43.5 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $108.2 billion. Rest-of-the-world profits increased $58.3 billion, compared with an increase of $7.3 billion. In the second quarter, receipts increased $39.9 billion, and payments decreased $18.5 billion..."

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GDP, Second Quarter 2019, Second Estimate
GDP, Second Quarter 2019, Second Estimate

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  • On September 26, 2019 a third and "final" GDP estimate will be released by the BEA, which will contain the most accurate and authoritative data for the second quarter of  2019.

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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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of August 23, 2019

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on August 23, 2019 was released this morning:

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

-- Change from A Year Ago (Y/Y): +22,000,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 427,800,000 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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Survey of Business Uncertainty / Expectations - August 2019

Earlier today, The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (FRBA) released their Survey of Business Uncertainty and Survey of Business Expectations indexes for August 2019:

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  • Business Uncertainty Index for August 2019: 97.8

Previous Month: 91.3

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  • Business Expectations Index for August 2019: 91.3

Previous Month: 94.3

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Survey of Business Uncertainty / Business Expectations - August 2019
Survey of Business Uncertainty / Business Expectations - August 2019

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About The Survey of Business Uncertainty / Business Expectations From The FRBA Website:


"...We develop a new monthly panel survey of business executives and a new question design that elicits subjective probability distributions over own-firm outcomes at a one-year look-ahead horizon. Our Survey of Business Uncertainty (SBU) began in 2014 and now covers 1,500 firms drawn from all 50 states, every major industry in the nonfarm private sector, and a full range of firm sizes. We use SBU data to measure expected future outcomes for the growth of sales, employment, and investment for each firm and the uncertainty surrounding those expectations. Mean expectations are highly predictive of realized growth rates in the firm-level data, and subjective uncertainty is highly predictive of absolute forecast errors. We also use the SBU data to produce a Business Expectations Index (first moment) and a Business Uncertainty Index (second moment) for the U.S. economy. In Granger causality tests, the Business Expectations Index has statistically significant predictive power for a range of prominent business cycle indicators. The SBU also includes special questions that elicit additional information, including the perceived effects of specific government policy developments on the firm’s decisions and outcomes..."


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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for August 2019

The Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) for this month (August 2019) was released by The Conference Board® this morning:

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Predicted: 130.0
Actual: 135.1

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Previous Month (revised): 135.8

  • Change from Previous Month: -0.515% (-0.7 point)
 
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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:

"...The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® declined marginally in August, following July’s rebound. The Index now stands at 135.1 (1985=100), down from 135.8 in July. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – increased from 170.9 to 177.2. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – declined from 112.4 last month to 107.0 this month.

'Consumer confidence was relatively unchanged in August, following July’s increase,' said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 'Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved further, and the Present Situation Index is now at its highest level in nearly 19 years (November 2000: 179.7.)  Expectations cooled moderately, but overall remain strong. While other parts of the economy may show some weakening, consumers have remained confident and willing to spend. However, if the recent escalation in trade and tariff tensions persists, it could potentially dampen consumers’ optimism regarding the short-term economic outlook.'..
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About The CCI:

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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Monday, August 26, 2019

Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) for July 2019

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


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Actual (CFNAI): -0.36

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  • Previous Month (revised): +0.03
  • 3-Month Moving Average (CFNAI-MA3): -0.14
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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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Chart: Chicago Fed National Activity Index with Business Cycles July 2019 Update
Chart: Chicago Fed National Activity Index with Business Cycles
July 2019 Update

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From Today's Report 

"...Index Points To Slower Economic Growth In July
Led by declines in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) fell to –0.36 in July from +0.03 in June. All four broad categories of indicators that make up the index decreased from June, and all four categories made negative contributions to the index in July. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, moved up to –0.14 in July from –0.30 in June..."

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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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Durable Goods Orders During July 2019

The Durable Goods Orders report for July 2019 was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: +1.2%
Actual: $250,380,000,000 (+$5,031,000,000 [+2.051%])

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  • June 2019: $245,349,000,000 (+$4,426,000,000 [+1.837%])
 
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Chart: Durable Goods Orders - July 2019 Update
Chart: Durable Goods Orders - July 2019 Update

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The yellow-highlighted figures represent the dollar amount of new orders for durable or hard goods for immediate or future delivery from U.S. manufacturers, along with both the dollar and month-to-month percentage change.

Examples of durable goods: cars, airplanes, computers, furniture -- items that are built to last at least three years.




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Friday, August 23, 2019

New Home Sales During July 2019

The July 2019 New Home Sales report was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: 645,000
Actual New Home Sales: 635,000

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  • Change from One Month Previous: -12.8%

  • Change from One Year Previous: +4.3%

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Median Price for a New Home during July 2019: $312,800

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Average Price for a New Home during July 2019: $388,000


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Inventory: 337,000 (6.4 months supply at current sales rate.)

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Compiled jointly by the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the yellow-highlighted figure above is the seasonally adjusted and annualized number of newly-built homes with committed buyers for the indicated month.

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

The New Home Sales report is watched by economists and investors because it offers insight into the state of the U.S. housing market, and also provides data that can be used to predict sales of large household furniture and appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, microwave ovens, etc.


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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Leading Economic Index for July 2019

The Conference Board® released its Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for July 2019 this morning:

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Index for July: 112.2 (The baseline 100 score is associated with 2016 data.)

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.538% (+0.6 point)

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  • Index for June 2019: 111.6

  • Index for May 2019: 111.7

  • Index for April 2019: 111.8

  • Index for March 2019: 111.7

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The yellow-highlighted percentage is the month-to-month change for the index.  The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The LEI is a composite of 10 of the nation's economic data releases that's put together by The Conference Board. Statistically, the components listed below have shown a significant increase or decrease before national economic upturns or downturns:


  1. The Standard + Poor's 500 Index

  2. Average weekly claims for unemployment insurance

  3. Building permits for new private housing

  4. The interest rate spread between the yield on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury Note and Federal Funds

  5. ISM® Index of New Orders

  6. Manufacturer's new orders for consumer goods or materials

  7. Manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders

  8. Average weekly manufacturing hours

  9. Average consumer expectations for business conditions

  10. Leading Credit Index™

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Chart: Leading Economic Index - July 2019 Update
Chart: Leading Economic Index - July 2019 Update

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From Today's Report:

"...'The US LEI increased in July, following back-to-back modest declines. Housing permits, unemployment insurance claims, stock prices and the Leading Credit Index were the major drivers of the improvement,' said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. 'However, the manufacturing sector continues exhibiting signs of weakness and the yield spread was negative for a second consecutive month. While the LEI suggests the US economy will continue to expand in the second half of 2019, it is likely to do so at a moderate pace.'..."

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of August 17, 2019

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on August 17, 2019:

Predicted: 216,000
Actual: 209,000

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): 221,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 214,500
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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of August 16, 2019

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on August 16, 2019 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: -2,700,000 Barrels

-- Change from A Year Ago (Y/Y): +29,400,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 437,800,000 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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Existing Home Sales - July 2019

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

Predicted: 5,385,000
Actual: 5,420,000

  •  Change from Previous Month: +2.5%

  •  Change from One Year Previous: +0.6%
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Inventory: 1,890,000 (4.2 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 July 2019: $280,800

Change from One Year Previous: +4.3%

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Average Price for A Used Home During July 2019: $317,100

Change from One Year Previous: +3.1%

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From Today's Report:


"...Existing-home sales strengthened in July, a positive reversal after total sales were down slightly in the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Although Northeast transactions declined, the other three major U.S. regions recorded sales increases, including vast growth in the West last month.

Total existing-home sales, http://economy.fedprimerate.com/search/label/existing_home_sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 2.5% from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.42 million in July. Overall sales are up 0.6% from a year ago (5.39 million in July 2018).

'Falling mortgage rates are improving housing affordability and nudging buyers into the market,' said
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. However, he added that the supply of affordable housing is severely low. 'The shortage of lower-priced homes have markedly pushed up home prices.'

Home price appreciation has been much stronger in the lower-price tier compared to homes sold in the upper-price tier, based on the analysis of proprietary deed records data from Black Knight, Inc. and Realtors Property Resource®.

Of the same homes that were sold in 2018 that were purchased in 2012 in 13 large metro areas (repeat sales transactions), the lower half of the market had increased by more than 100% in 2018 in metro areas like Atlanta-Sandy-Springs-Roswell, Ga. (165%), Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (103%), Miami-Fort-Lauderdale, Fla. (119%) and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (125%). The median home price for homes purchased in the upper half of the market in these same metro areas in 2012 increased at a much slower pace when sold in 2018.

'Clearly, the inventory of moderately-priced homes is inadequate and more home building is needed,' said Yun. 'Some new apartments could be converted into condominiums thereby helping with the supply, especially in light of new federal rules permitting a wider use of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages to buy condo properties.'

The
median existing-home price for all housing types in July was $280,800, up 4.3% from July 2018 ($269,300). July’s price increase marks the 89th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of July decreased to 1.89 million, down from 1.92 million existing-homes available for sale in June, and a 1.6% decrease from 1.92 million one year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, down from the 4.4 month-supply recorded in June and down from the 4.3-month supply recorded in July of 2018.

Properties typically remained on the market for 29 days in July, up from 27 days in June and up from 27 days in July of 2018. Fifty-one percent of homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 3.77% in July, down from 3.80% in June. The average commitment rate across all of 2018 was 4.54%.

'Mortgage rates are important to consumers, but so is confidence about the nation’s overall economic outlook,' Yun continued. 'Home buying is a serious long term decision and current low or even lower future mortgage rates may not in themselves meaningfully boost sales unless accompanied by improved consumer confidence.'

First-time buyers were responsible for 32% of sales in July, down from 35% the month prior and about equal to the 32% recorded in July 2018. NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers –
released in late 2018 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33%.

As the share of first-time buyers rose, individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales purchased 11% of homes in July, up from 10% recorded in June 2019 and down from 12% recorded in July a year ago. All-cash sales accounted for 19% of transactions in July, up from June and down from July of 2018 (16% and 20%, respectively).

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – represented 2% of sales in July, unchanged from June but down from 3% in July 2018. Less than 1% of July 2019 sales were short sales.

'Present rates have opened the market for a number of potential buyers who couldn’t afford a home just a year ago,' said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota, and broker at Edina Realty. 'Additionally, NAR has been working with the FHA for years to establish new condominium loan policies. Our hard work has paid off, and this change will begin benefiting buyers, sellers and our members as soon as this fall.'
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Friday, August 16, 2019

Housing Starts During July 2019

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

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,259,000
Actual: 1,191,000

Change From Previous Month: -4.0%
Change From One Year Previous: +0.6%

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,270,000
Actual: 1,336,000

Change From Previous Month: +8.4%
Change From One Year Previous: +1.5%

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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 - July 2019 Update
Chart: Housing Starts - July 2019 Update
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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Industrial Production + Manufacturing + Capacity Utilization During July 2019

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

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

Manufacturing:
Predicted: -0.1%
Actual: -0.4%

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: 77.8%
Actual: 77.5

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 declined 0.2 percent in July. Manufacturing output decreased 0.4 percent last month and has fallen more than 1-1/2 percent since December 2018. In July, mining output fell 1.8 percent, as Hurricane Barry caused a sharp but temporary decline in oil extraction in the Gulf of Mexico. The index for utilities rose 3.1 percent. At 109.2 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 0.5 percent higher in July than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased 0.3 percentage point in July to 77.5 percent, a rate that is 2.3 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2018) average..."

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Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey for August 2019

Earlier today, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released its diffuse index of current manufacturing conditions for this month (August 2019):

Predicted: +11.1
Actual: +16.8

The "actual" figure above is an index of current manufacturing conditions within the Federal Reserve's Third District, which includes eastern Pennsylvania, all of Delaware and the southern half of New Jersey. Any figure below zero implies that manufacturing in the region is contracting, while a figure above zero implies expansion.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.
 
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Chart: Philadelphia Fed Current and Future General Activities Indexes - August 2019
Chart: Philadelphia Fed Current and Future General Activities Indexes - August 2019

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  • Last month, the actual figure was +21.8.

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For a national perspective of manufacturing conditions, check out the Institute of Supply Management's Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI).



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U.S. Retail And Food Services Sales Report for July 2019

The Commerce Department this morning released advance estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales for July 2019:

Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.703% (+$3,654,000,000)

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 July 2019: $523,514,000,000
  • Change From 12 Months Previous: +3.448% (+$17,448,000,000)

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Chart: Retail Sales - July 2019 Update
Chart: Retail Sales - July 2019 Update

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of August 10, 2019

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on August 10, 2019:

Predicted: 208,000
Actual: 220,000

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): 211,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 213,750
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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Import and Export Price Indexes for July 2019

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

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

Change From 12 Months Previous: -1.8%

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

Change From 12 Months Previous: -0.9%

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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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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of August 9, 2019

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on August 9, 2019 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: +1,600,000 Barrels

-- Change from A Year Ago (Y/Y): +26,300,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 440,500,000 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, August 13, 2019

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for July 2019

The National Federation of Independent Business® (NFIB®) released its Small Business Optimism Index (SBOI) for July 2019:

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Predicted: 103.0
Actual: 104.7

  • Change from Previous Month: +1.355% (+1.4 points)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: -2.966% (-3.2 points)

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  • The previous month's SBOI reading was 103.3

  • The July 2018 SBOI reading was 107.9

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Chart: NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - July 2019 Update
Chart: NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - July 2019 Update

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From Today's Report:


"...Optimism among small business owners bounced back in July as expectations for business conditions, real sales, and expansion made solid gains. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 1.4 points to 104.7, with seven of 10 components advancing, two falling, and one remaining unchanged. The Uncertainty Index fell 10 points, reversing a surge in June that reached the highest level since March 2017.

'While many are talking about a slowing economy and possible signs of a recession, the 3rd largest economy in the world continues to defy expectations, generating output, creating value, and expanding the economy,' said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. 'Small business owners want to grow their operations, and the only thing stopping them is finding qualified workers.'

In addition to improvement in expectations for business conditions, real sales, and expansion, key findings from the July index include:

  • Small business owners’ plans to create new jobs and make capital outlays advanced and earnings trends improved, supported by a solid improvement in sales trends.
  • Plans to order new inventories posted a solid gain.
  • After surging last month, reports of higher average selling prices stabilized, with no evidence of a pickup in inflation.
  • Credit conditions remain very supportive, interest rates on loans are historically low, and there are few complaints about credit availability.

'Contrary to the narrative about impending economic doom, the small business sector remains exceptional. This month’s index is a confirmation that small business owners remain very optimistic about the economy but are being hamstrung by not finding the workers they need,' said NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg.
.."

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  • Small business survey questions can be found at the end of today's report.
  • The baseline "100" score is associated with 1986 survey data.
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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July 2019

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

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Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.3% 

  • Change From 12 Months Previous: +1.8%

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.3%

  • 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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From Today's Report:

"...Increases in the indexes for gasoline and shelter were the major factors in the seasonally adjusted all items monthly increase. The energy index rose in July as the gasoline and electricity indexes increased, though the natural gas index declined. The index for food was unchanged for the second month in a row, as a decline in the food at home index was offset by an increase in the food away from home index.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 in July, the same increase as in June. The July rise was broad-based, with increases in the indexes for shelter, medical care, airline fares, household furnishings and operations, apparel, and personal care all contributing to the increase. The index for new vehicles was one of the few to decline in July..."

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

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Friday, August 09, 2019

Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for July 2019

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

Change from 12 months previous:  +1.7%

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual:  -0.1%

Change from 12 months previous:  +1.7%

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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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Thursday, August 08, 2019

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of August 3, 2019

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on August 3, 2019:

Predicted: 215,000
Actual: 209,000

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: 212,250
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Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of August 2, 2019

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on August 2, 2019 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: +2,400,000 Barrels

-- Change from A Year Ago (Y/Y): +31,500,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 438,900,000 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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Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for June 2019

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for June 2019 was released by the Labor Department this morning:

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Job Openings

Predicted: 7,293,000
Actual:    7,348,000

  • Previous Month (revised): 7,384,000

  • One Year Previous: 7,393,000

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Hires: 5,702,000

Total Separations: 5,481,000

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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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Chart: Job Openings, Hires and Separations - June 2019 Update
Chart: Job Openings, Hires and Separations - June 2019 Update

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Monday, August 05, 2019

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

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

Predicted: 55.5%
Actual: 53.7% (-1.4 points month-on-month change)

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Previous month: 55.1%

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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 July for the 114th 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 is still strong, considering the seasonality.”
     (Accommodation + Food Services)

  •     “Business volumes were flat compared to the previous month.”
     (Health Care + Social Assistance)

  •     “Tariffs continue to push costs higher, and customers are looking for more discounts due to mortgage-rate fluctuations.”
     (Construction)

  •     “Some uncertainty hinges on tariffs, but there have been no changes in market conditions.”
     (Information)

  •     “For our company, July is looking to be a record-setting month for sales. Customers have been converting quotes to sales quicker than in past months. The tariffs have increased prices for our industry, but our clients are not balking at the slight price increases that have been passed along. We feel that (the third quarter) will be strong.”
     (Management of Companies + Support Services)

  •     “It appears that the mining capital-expense environment is improving, with a good prospectus for the coming months. Our dependence on Chinese and Asian supply chains remains strong. NAFTA countries do not have the same capacity and speed.”
     (Mining)

  •     “Companies involved in the oil and gas industry remain cautious relative to hiring direct employees and contingent workers, as well as investing in new capital projects. Volatility in oil price and geopolitical concerns are driving this wait-and-see approach.”
     (Professional, Scientific + Technical Services)

  •     “Demand seems strong. There are still pressures for skilled labor. It is difficult to find fully qualified candidates. Suppliers are having trouble with demand.”
     (Public Administration)

  •     “As our corporate objectives drive us more and more into digitization, advanced analytics, and data management in general, we are finding it increasingly difficult to find, develop and retain professional with advanced skills in these disciplines.”
     (Retail Trade)

  •     “Business is somewhat slow for the first half of 2019, but it is expected to pick up for the second half.”
     (Wholesale Trade)

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

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