Majority of Economic Data found at www.haver.com
Friday, September 15th
RETAIL SALES fell 0.2% during August, this after rising 0.3% during July (3.5% y/y). Spending on MOTOR VEHICLE &
PARTS fell 1.6% (1.9% y/y) while RETAIL SALES EXCLUDING AUTOS rose 0.2% (4.0% y/y). NON-AUTOS LESS
GASOLINE, Retail Sales fell 0.1% during August (3.7% y/y). Two key components of this report, RETAIL SALES AT
GASOLINE STATIONS rose 2.5% during August (6.6%y/y) while FOOD SERVICE AND DRINKING PLACE SALES
rose 0.3% during August (3.0% y/y).
The Commerce Department reported that BUSINESS INVENTORIES rose 0.2% during July (3.0% y/y), this after rising 0.5%
during June, while BUSINESS SALES rose 0.2% in July (4.9% y/y). This relationship between business inventories as compared
to sales helped keep the INVENTORY-TO-SALES RATIO at 1.38 months during July versus June, and as compared to 1.40 months
one year ago. The manufacturing inventory-to-sales ratio fell to 1.37 months in July from 1.38 months during June and as compared
to 1.41 months one year ago.
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, a measure of strength of the manufacturing, factory and utility sectors, fell 0.9% during August,
this after rising 0.4% during July, respectively (1.6% y/y). CAPACITY UTILIZATION remained fell to 76.1% during August from
76.9% in July and as compared to 75.8% y/y. Finally, MANUFACTURING CAPACITY slipped to 75.3% in August from 75.6%
during July (74.7% y/y) and as compared to a recession low 65.4%. On a side note, the nation’s mines, factories and utilities operated
at an average of 80.4% of capacity from 1972 to 2009.
The University of Michigan reported that the PRELIMINARY SEPTEMBER READING OF CONSUMER SENTIMENT
slipped to 95.3 from a final August 96.8 as well as from a preliminary August 97.6. The preliminary September expectations
component fell to 834 from a final August 87.7 and from a preliminary August 89.5. Lastly, the preliminary September current
conditions component rose to 113.9 from a final August 110.9 and from a preliminary August 111.0.
Thursday, September 14th
The CONSUMER PRICE INDEX rose 0.4% during August (1.9% y/y), this follows a gain of 0.1% in July. A key component of the
CPI, energy prices rose 2.8% (6.4% y/y) during August, this after falling 0.1% during July. Food and beverage prices rose 0.1% in
August (1.1% y/y). Ex-food and energy, the core CPI rose 0.2% in August, by 0.1% during July and by 1.7% y/y.
INITIAL CLAIMS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS for the week ended September 9th fell a Hurricane Harvey related
14,000 to 284,000 from an unrevised 298,000 one week prior. Initial claims for unemployment benefits have remained below
300,000 for 132 consecutive weeks, the longest streak since 1970. Meanwhile, the four-week rolling average rose 13,500 to 263,250
from 250,250 one week prior. Continuing claims for the week ending September 2nd fell 7,000 to 1,944,000 as compared to
1,951,000 the prior week while the continuing claims four-week average fell 2,500 to 1,948,500 from 1,951,000.
Wednesday, September 13th
The PRODUCER PRICE INDEX rose 0.2% during August, this after falling 0.1% during July. Over the past year the PPI has risen
2.4%. Energy prices jumped 3.3% in August (8.6% y/y), this after falling 0.3% in July. Finished food prices fell 1.3% during August
(1.7% y/y). Excluding food and energy, the so-called core PPI rose 0.2% in August (2.0% y/y). Prices for INTERMEDIATE
GOODS rose 0.4% (4.1% y/y) during August.
Friday, September 8th
The Commerce Department reported that WHOLESALE INVENTORIES rose 0.6% during July, this after rising 0.6% during June
and by 3.2% y/y. WHOLESALE SALES fell 0.1% during July, rose 0.6% during June and by 6.1% y/y. This relationship between
wholesale inventories as compared to sales helped push the INVENTORY-TO-SALES RATIO up to 1.30 months during July as
compared to June and versus 1.33 months one year ago.
Wednesday, September 6th
The Institute for Supply Management’s composite index of non-manufacturing (service) sector activity rose to 55.3% in August
as compared to 53.9% during July. The level recorded during August is far above the 37.2 recorded during Q4-2008 in a sector
that employs 80% of the U.S. workforce. Of note were New Orders (57.1% v. 55.1%), Employment (56.2% v. 53.6%), Business
Activity (57.5% v. 55.9%), and Backlog of Orders (53.5% v. 52.0%). The Prices Paid Component rose to 57.9% from 55.7%.
The U.S. TRADE DEFICIT widened to $43.7 billion during July from $43.5 billion during June. The value of EXPORTS fell
0.31% to $194.4 billion from $195.0 billion while the value of IMPORTS fell 0.17% to $238.1 billion during July from $238.5
billion in May. According to Haver Analytics, petroleum imports fell 6.6% during July (5.6% y/y). Moreover, “the quantity of energy
related product fell 4.0% (+0.5% y/y), the third sharp decline in four months. The value of petroleum product imports eased 6.2%
(+6.5% y/y) after a 7.4% drop. The cost of petroleum fell to $43.20/bbl, down from $44.68 in June, but up from $41.02 in July of last
year.” Our trade deficit with China widened to $33.6 billion during July from $30.3 billion one year ago. Over the past year our
exports to China have risen 10.1% while imports have gained 10.5%.
Tuesday, September 5th
U.S. FACTORY ORDERS fell 3.3% during the month of July, this after rising 3.2% in June. Meanwhile, SHIPMENTS rose
0.3% during July. The fact that orders rose fell while shipments rose resulted in a 0.2% rise in INVENTORIES (backlog) and
a 1.3% decrease in UNFILLED ORDERS.
Friday, September 1st
NON-FARM PAYROLLS (approximately 80% of the U.S. workforce) rose by 156,000 during August, below the consensus estimate
of 178,000. Payroll gains for the prior two months were revised to 189,000 and 210,000 from 209,000 and 231,000 for a net revised
loss of 41,000 jobs during July and June, respectively. The August numbers along with the revisions the prior two months resulted in
a three month average of 185,000. PRIVATE SECTOR companies created 165,000 jobs as the PUBLIC SECTOR loss 9,000.
Payrolls for the month ending May, 2014 showed total nonfarm payrolls set an all-time high, eclipsing the prior peak set back in
January 2008. That 76 month stretch was the longest since the Great Depression. Payroll data was influenced by the manufacturing
(36,000), construction (28,000), and the private service producing sectors (95,000). Meanwhile, the UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
ticked up to 4.4% during August as compared to 4.3% during July. According to the household survey, employment fell 74,000
during August (1.2% y/y) while the labor force rose by 77,000 (0.7% y/y). This helped keep the LABOR FORCE
PARTICIPATION RATE at 62.9% during August as compared to July. The average for this ratio was 67.1% from 1997 to 2000.
The UNDEREMPLOYMENT RATE, which includes the unemployed as well as those who were either marginally attached to the
labor force or were involuntarily working part-time (Table A-15) held at 8.6% in August as compared to July and versus a seasonably
adjusted 9.7% one year prior. AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS (Table B) rose 0.11% or $0.03 to $26.39 from $26.36 during
August and by $0.65 or 2.53% from $25.74 one year ago. This helped push AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS down 0.18% to
$907.82 during August from $909.42 in July. Average Weekly Earnings over the past year have risen by $24.94 or 2.82% to $907.82
from $882.88. AVERAGE HOURS WORKED edged down to 34.4 hours in August versus 34.5 one month ago and as compared to
34.3 one year ago. Also of note was the fact that the manufacturing week (Table B-7) blipped up to 42.1 hours during August from
42.0 hours in July and versus 41.8 hours one year ago. The AVERAGE DURATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT (Table A-12)
fell to 24.4 hours during August from 24.9 weeks during July while the MEDIAN DURATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT fell to
10.5 months in August as compared to 10.6 weeks one month prior. The number of LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED (27 weeks or
longer) fell 45,000 or 2.52% to 1.740 million in August from 1.785 million in July.
U.S. CONSTRUCTION SPENDING fell 0.6% during July, this after falling 1.4% during June. Over the past year Construction
Spending has risen 1.8%. Private Construction Spending fell 0.4% in July (4.1% y/y), this after falling 0.5% during June. Private
Residential Construction Spending rose 0.8% in July (11.6% y/y). Nonresidential Construction Spending fell 1.9% (-3.6% y/y)
while Public Construction Spending slipped 1.4% in July (-5.6% y/y).
The Institute for Supply Management’s composite index of manufacturing sector activity rose to 58.8% during August from 56.3%
in July. Generally speaking, “a reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is expanding; below50% indicates that
it is generally contracting.” Of note were the changes in New Orders (60.3% v. 60.4%), Production (61.0% v. 60.6%), Supplier
Deliveries (inverse, indicates faster delivery times) (57.1% v. 55.4%), Inventories (55.5% v. 55.0%) and Employment (59.9% v.
55.2%). The Prices Paid Component remained at 62.0% during August as compared to July.
Thursday, August 31st
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that PERSONAL INCOME rose 0.4% during July (2.7% y/y), this after rising 0.0%
during June. DISPOSABLE PERSONAL INCOME (personal income less taxes) rose 0.3% (2.7% y/y), this after rising 0.0%
during June. The WAGE & SALARY COMPONENT rose 0.5% in July (2.5% y/y). PERSONAL CONSUMPTION which
represents approximately 70% of economic activity rose 0.3% in July, by 0.2% in June and by 4.2% y/y. PERSONAL SAVINGS
(Disposable Personal Income Less Outlays) rose at an annualized rate of 3.5% during July, by 3.6% during June and as compared
to 5.1% one year ago. The PCE CHAIN PRICE INDEX one of the Fed’s favorite measures of inflation rose 0.1% in July (1.4%
y/y), while the core PCE Chain Price Index rose 0.1% during July and by 1.4% y/y.
Wednesday, August 30th
SECOND QUARTER GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, as reported by the Commerce Department, a tally of the output of all
goods and services in the United States, rose at a revised annualized rate of 3.0% up from an initially reported 2.6%, up from 1.2%
during the first quarter and as compared to 2.2% y/y. FINAL SALES rose at a revised annualized pace of 3.0%, up from an initially
reported 2.6%, up from 2.7% during Q1 and as compared to 2.3% over the past twelve months. GOVERNMENT SPENDING fell
at a revised annualized rate of 0.3%, a sharp drop from the increase of 0.7% that was initially reported, but up from a decline of 0.6%
during Q1 and versus -0.1% y/y. Meanwhile, the INVENTORY EFFECT added 0.0% to Q2 GDP, unchanged from the initial
report, up from a 1.5% drawdown recorded during Q1 and versus -0.1% y /y. PERSONAL CONSUMPTION rose at a revised 3.3%
during Q2, this as compared to an initial reading of 2.8%, up from 1.9% during Q1 and versus a growth rate of 2.7% y/y. BUSINESS
FIXED INVESTMENT, a key contributor to recent economic growth, rose at a revised annualized pace of 6.95, up from an initial
5.2%, but down from an annualized 7.1% rate of growth recorded during Q1 and versus 4.4% y/y. The impact from FOREIGN
TRADE added an unrevised 0.2% to Q2 GDP, unchanged from Q1 and better than the loss of 0.1% y /y. RESIDENTIAL
INVESTMENT fell at a revised annualized rate of 6.5%, an improved from the 6.8% decline that was initially reported, a sharp
decline from the 11.1% increase recorded during Q1 and as compared to a 1.5% increase over the past twelve months. Finally, during
Q2 the PCE Chained GDP Price Index rose an annualized rate of 1.0%, unrevised from the initial report, down from 2.0% during
the first quarter and as compared to 1.6% y/y.
Tuesday, August 29th
The CONFERENCE BOARD’S CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX rose to 122.9 during August (20.7% y/y) as compared to
120.0 in July. The present situation index rose to 151.2 in August from 145.4 in July and by 20.7% y/y while the expectations
component edged up to 104.0 during August from 103.0 in July and by 20.8% y/y. Those surveyed saying that jobs are “hard to
get” improved to 17.3% of respondents during August from 18.3% during July while those claiming that jobs are “plentiful” rose
to 35.4% of respondents during August versus 33.2% in July.
Friday, August 25th
ORDERS FOR DURABLE GOODS (those expected to last at least three years) fell 6.8% during July, this after rising 6.4%
during June. Smoothing out the m/m volatility, over the past year Orders for Durable Goods have risen 5.0%. Transportation
Orders fell 19.0% (4.6% y/y) while Orders for NonDefense Capital Goods, Excluding Aircraft rose 0.4% (3.3% y/y) in July.
Orders for nondefense capital goods fell 20.2% during July (6.4% y/y).
Thursday, August 24th
SALES OF EXISTING HOMES fell 70,000 during the month of July to 5.440 million from 5.510 million one month prior.
Over the past year Sales of Existing Homes have risen 2.1%. During calendar year 2016 there were 5.452 million sales of existing
homes, the highest level since 2006. According to Haver Analytics “the number of homes on the market was down 1.0% (-9.0% y/y)
to 1.920 million. There was a 4.2 months’ supply of those homes available for sale, up from a recent low of 3.5 months in January,
but down from 4.8 months a year ago.” The median existing-home sales price fell 1.90% (6.2% y/y) or $5,000 to $258,300 in July
from $263,300 during June.
Wednesday, August 23rd
The Commerce Department reported that SALES OF NEW HOMES fell 59,000 to 571,000 during July from 630,000 during
June (-8.90 y/y). Sales of New Homes have fallen by 55.36% from the peak in July 2005 of 1,279,000 units. According to Haver
Analytics, “the month’s supply for sale at the current sales rate was 5.8, up from June’s 5.2 months, and the highest since September
2015, when it was also 5.8 months. The median number of months a new home was on the market was unchanged from June at 2.9
and the lowest since the same amount in December 2015.” The median price of a new home edged up $2,100 or 0.99% during July
to $313,700 from $313,600 in June. Over the past year the median price of a new home has risen 6.30%.
Thursday, August 17th
The Conference Board reported that its INDEX OF LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS rose 0.3% during July (3.9% y/y),
this after rising 0.6% in June. Eight of the ten components that comprise the LEI increased including, in order of impact were the
interest rate spread, the ISM New Orders Index, average consumer expectations for business conditions, the Leading Credit Index
(inverted), stock prices, average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted), manufacturers’ new orders for consumer
goods and materials, and materials and manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft. The negative
contributor was building permits while average weekly manufacturing hours remained unchanged during July. According to
Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at the Conference Board, “the U.S. LEI improved in July,
suggesting the U.S. economy may experience further improvements in economic activity in the second half of the year. The large
negative contribution was housing permits, a reversal from June, was more than offset by gains in the financial indicators, new orders
Wednesday, August 16th
HOUSING STARTS fell 4.78% or 58,000 to 1,213,000 during July, as compared to 1,155,000 in June. Over the past year
Housing Starts have fallen 5.4%. Calendar year 2016 starts rose by 1,116,000, the highest since August 2007 and more than double
- Of note is the fact that there must be approximately 100,000 housing starts per year just to replace those lost to natural causes,
man-induced causes or by the growing U.S. population. During July, Single-family housing starts fell 0.47% or 4,000 to 856,000
from 860,000. Multi-family housing starts fell 54,000 or 15.30% to 299,000 in July from 353,000 during June. BUILDING
PERMITS, a preview of future housing starts fell 4.08% to 1,275,000 during July from 1,223,000 one month prior.
Tuesday, August 15th
U.S. Import Prices rose 0.1% during July, this after falling 0.2% in June. Over the past year U.S. Import Prices have risen 1.5%.
Petroleum prices rose 0.7% during July (8.3% y/y). Export prices rose 0.4% during July (0.8%y/y). Agricultural export prices
rose 2.1% in July (-1.4% y/y), this after rising falling 1.4% in June. Non-Agricultural Export Prices rose 0.3% in July (1.0% y/y).
Monday, August 7th
The Federal Reserve reported that CONSUMER CREDIT grew by $12.40 billion during June, this after rising $18.30 billion in
May. Over the past year Consumer Credit has risen 5.7%. The calendar year 2016 increase of 6.4% follows gains of 6.9% during
2015, 7.0% during 2014 as well as gains of 7.2% and 6.1% during 2013 and 2012, respectively. According to Haver Analytics,
“annualized, credit growth averaged 8% during the fifteen years ended 2007. Over an even longer time period that increase does not
loom particularly large. However, against an average of 5% growth in disposable income during those years, it precipitated a rise in
the ratio to disposable income to 24% from a longer term norm of 17%.” Non-revolving Credit (automobiles, consumer durables
and student loans), which accounts for nearly two-thirds of total consumer credit, rose by $8.27 billion during June and by 5.8% y/y
while revolving credit (credit cards) rose $4.13 billion during June and by 5.5% y/y.
Friday, July 28th
According to the Department of Labor, the EMPLOYMENT COST INDEX, a “measure of quarterly changes in compensation costs,
which include wages, salaries, and employer costs for employee benefits for civilian workers (non-farm private and state and local
government)” rose by 0.5% during the second quarter, this following an 0.8% increase during Q1-2017. The ECI has risen by 2.4%
y/y. The wages & salaries component (70% of ECI) rose by 0.5% during Q2 vs. 0.8% during Q1-2017 and as compared to 2.3%
y/y. The cost of benefits rose by 0.6% over the past quarter, this after rising 0.7% during Q1-2017 and by 2.4% y/y.
Thursday, June 1st
FIRST QUARTER PRODUCTIVITY was revised to unchanged from an initially recorded drop of 0.6%, down from a gain of 1.8%
during Q4 and as compared to 1.2% rise over the past twelvemonths. Meanwhile, HOURLY COMPENSATION rose at a revised
annualized rate of 2.2%, this as compared to an initial 2.4%, 3.1% during Q4 and 2.3% y/y. UNIT LABOR COSTS (defined as
output per hour of work and can be determined by dividing total labor costs by output) rose at a revised annualized rate of 2.2%, down from an initially reported 3.0% during Q1 as compared to the 2.2% increase during Q4 and versus 1.1% y/y.