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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for April 2021

The Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) for this month (April 2021) was released by The Conference Board® this morning:

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Predicted: 110.0
  • Actual: 121.7

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Previous Month (revised): 109.0

  • Change from Previous Month: +11.651% (+12.7 points)
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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 has rebounded sharply over the last two months and is now at its highest level since February 2020,' said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 'Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved significantly in April, suggesting the economic recovery strengthened further in early Q2. Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook held steady this month. Consumers were more upbeat about their income prospects, perhaps due to the improving job market and the recent round of stimulus checks. Short-term inflation expectations held steady in April, but remain elevated. Vacation intentions posted a healthy increase, likely boosted by the accelerating vaccine rollout and further loosening of pandemic restrictions.'..."

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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Friday, April 16, 2021

Housing Starts During March 2021

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released its Housing Starts report for March 2021:

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,700,000
Actual: 1,739,000

Change From Previous Month: +19.355% (+282,000 units)
Change From One Year Previous: +37.037% (+470,000 units)

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,700,000
Actual: 1,766,000

Change From Previous Month: +2.674% (+46,000 permits)
Change From One Year Previous: +30.236% (+410,000 permits)

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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 - March 2021 Update
CHART: Housing Starts - March 2021 Update


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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for March 2021

The National Federation of Independent Business® (NFIB®) released its Small Business Optimism Index for March 2021:

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Predicted: 100.0
Actual: 98.2

  • Change from Previous Month: +2.505% (+2.4 points.)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: +1.867% (+1.8 points.)

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NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - March 2021 Update
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index
March 2021 Update

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From today's report:


"...Small Business Owners Struggle To Find Qualified Workers

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 2.4 points in March to 98.2. March’s reading is the first return to the average historical reading since last November. The NFIB Uncertainty Index increased six points to 81, which was primarily driven by owners being more uncertain about whether it is a good time to expand their business and make capital expenditures in the coming months.

 'Main Street is doing better as state and local restrictions are eased, but finding qualified labor is a critical issue for small businesses nationwide, ' said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.  'Small business owners are competing with the pandemic and increased unemployment benefits that are keeping some workers out of the labor force. However, owners remain determined to hire workers and grow their business. '

Other key findings include:

  ---  Seven of the 10 Index components improved and three declined.

  ---  Sales expectations over the next three months improved eight points to a net 0% of owners, a historically low level.

  ---  Earnings trends over the past three months declined four points to a net negative 15%.

As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, 42% of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a record high reading. Owners continue to have difficulty finding qualified workers to fill jobs as they compete with increased unemployment benefits and the pandemic keeping some workers out of the labor force.

A net 28% of owners reported raising compensation (up three points) and the highest level in the past 12 months. A net 17% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, down two points.

Seven percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 24% said that labor quality was their top business problem. Finding eligible workers to fill open positions will become increasingly difficult for small business owners.

Fifty-nine percent of owners reported capital outlays in the next six months, up two points from February. Of those making expenditures, 41% reported spending on new equipment, 26% acquired vehicles, and 14% improved or expanded facilities. Six percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion and 11% spent money for new fixtures and furniture.

Twenty percent of owners plan capital outlays in the next few months, down three points from February. Owners are not planning on investing in their businesses as expected future sales and business conditions remain below average.

A net negative 6% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, down eight points from February. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes improved eight points to a net negative 0%..."

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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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The previous month's Small Business Optimism Index was 95.8.

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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March 2021

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March 2021:

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Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.6%

  • Change From 12 Months Previous: +2.6%

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

Predicted: 0.4%
Actual: 0.3%

  • Change From 12 Months Previous: +1.6%

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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) March 2021 Update
Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI)
March 2021 Update

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Friday, April 09, 2021

Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for March 2021

The Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for March 2021 was released this morning:

Predicted: +0.8%
Actual: +1.0%

Change from 12 months previous:  +4.2%

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

Predicted: +0.5%
Actual: +0.6%

Change from 12 months previous:  +3.1%

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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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CHART: Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) March 2021 Update
CHART: Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD)
March 2021 Update

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Thursday, April 08, 2021

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of April 3, 2021

Jobless Claims
Jobless Claims

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on April 3, 2021:

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Predicted: 700,000

  • Actual: 744,000
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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): 728,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 723,750

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Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for February 2021

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS*) for February 2021 was released by the Labor Department this morning:

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Job Openings

Predicted: 7,000,000
Actual:    7,367,000

  • Previous Month (revised): 7,099,000

  • One Year Previous: 7,012,000

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Hires: 5,738,000 

Total Separations §: 5,456,000 

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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.

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From Today's Release:

"...Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on February 2021 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Data

Data collection for the JOLTS survey was affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While 42% of data are usually collected by phone at the JOLTS data collection center, most phone respondents were asked to report electronically. However, data collection was adversely impacted due to the inability to reach some respondents that normally respond by phone.

The JOLTS response rate for February was 45%, while response rates prior to the pandemic averaged 54%. More information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the JOLTS survey, including information about the JOLTS estimation methodology, is available at www.bls.gov/covid19/job-openings-and-labor-turnover-covid19-february-2021.htm.
.."

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Chart: Total Nonfarm Hires and Separation Rates February 2021 Update

Chart: Total Nonfarm Hires and Separation Rates
February 2021 Update
 
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§ = Here's How The Labor Department Defines Total Separations:

"Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations is referred to as turnover. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer. Other separations includes separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm."

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Monday, April 05, 2021

U.S. Factory Orders During February 2021

The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released their report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders -- also known as Factory Orders -- for February 2021:

Predicted: -1.0%
Actual: -0.802% (-$4,056,000,000)

  • February 2021 New Orders: $505,680,000,000.

  • January 2021 New Orders: $509,736,000,000.

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The yellow-highlighted percentage is the month-to-month change in orders for both durable and nondurable goods made by U.S. manufacturers. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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Chart: U.S. Factory Orders - February 2021 Update
Chart: U.S. Factory Orders - February 2021 Update
 
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