Majority of Economic Data found at www.haver.com
Friday, December 15th
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, a measure of strength of the manufacturing, factory and utility sectors, rose 0.2% during November,
this after rising 1.2% during October, respectively (3.4% y/y). CAPACITY UTILIZATION rose to 77.1% during November from
77.0% in October and as compared to 75.5% y/y. Finally, MANUFACTURING CAPACITY rose to 76.4% in November from
76.3% in October, versus 75.1% one year ago 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.
Thursday, December 14th
U.S. Import Prices rose 0.7% during November, this after rising 0.1% in October. Over the past year U.S. Import Prices have risen
3.1%. Petroleum prices rose 7.2% during November (24.1% y/y) while export prices rose 0.5% during November (3.1%y/y).
Agricultural export prices fell 0.6% in November (2.1% y/y), this after rising 1.9% in October. Non-Agricultural Export Prices
rose 0.6% (3.2% y/y).
RETAIL SALES rose 0.8% during November, this after rising 0.5% during October (5.8% y/y). Spending on MOTOR VEHICLE
& PARTS fell 0.2% (6.3% y/y) while RETAIL SALES EXCLUDING AUTOS rose 1.0% (5.7% y/y). NON-AUTOS LESS
GASOLINE, Retail Sales rose 0.8% during November (4.9% y/y). Two key components of this report, RETAIL SALES AT
GASOLINE STATIONS rose 2.8% during November (12.2%y/y) while FOOD SERVICE AND DRINKING PLACE SALES
rose 0.7% during November (2.2% y/y).
The Commerce Department reported that BUSINESS INVENTORIES fell 0.1% during October (3.5% y/y), this after falling 0.0%
during September, while BUSINESS SALES rose 0.6% in October (6.5% y/y). This relationship between business inventories as
compared to sales helped push the INVENTORY-TO-SALES RATIO down to 1.35 months during October versus 1.36 months in
September, and as compared to 1.39 months one year ago. The manufacturing inventory-to-sales ratio remained as 1.37 months in
October as compared to September and versus 1.39 months one year ago.
INITIAL CLAIMS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS for the week ended December 9th fell 11,000 to 225,000 from an unrevised 236,000 one week prior. Initial claims for unemployment benefits have remained below 300,000 for 142 consecutive
weeks, the longest streak since 1970. Meanwhile, the four-week rolling average fell 6,750 to 234,750 from 241,500 one week prior.
Continuing claims for the week ending December 2nd fell 27,000 to 1,886,000 as compared to 1,908,000 the prior week while the
continuing claims four-week average rose 4,500 to 1,918,500 from 1,914,000.
Wednesday, December 13th
The CONSUMER PRICE INDEX rose 0.4% during November (2.2% y/y), this follows a gain of 0.1% in October. A key
component of the CPI, energy prices jumped 3.9% (9.4% y/y) during November, this after slipping 1.0% during October. Food
and beverage prices rose 0.0% in November (1.4% y/y). Ex-food and energy, the core CPI rose 0.1% in November (1.7% y/y)
and by 0.2% during October.
Tuesday, December 12th
The PRODUCER PRICE INDEX rose 0.4% during November, this after rising 0.4% during October. Over the past year the PPI
has risen 3.0%. Energy prices jumped 4.6% in November (12.4% y/y), this after rising 0.0% in September. Finished food prices rose
0.3% during November (3.5% y/y). Excluding food and energy, the so-called core PPI rose 0.3% in November (2.4% y/y). Prices
for INTERMEDIATE GOODS rose 0.5% (5.3% y/y) during November, this following a gain of 1.0% in October.
Friday, December 8th
NON-FARM PAYROLLS (approximately 80% of the U.S. workforce) rose by 228,000 during November, which was above the
consensus estimate of 186,500. Payroll gains for the prior two months were revised to 224,000 and 38,000 from 261,000 and 18,000
for a net revised loss of 17,000 jobs during October and September, respectively. The November numbers along with the revisions
the prior two months resulted in a three month average of 163,333. PRIVATE SECTOR companies gained 221,000 jobs as the
PUBLIC SECTOR added 7,000. 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 (31,000), construction (24,000), and the private service producing sectors (159,000). Meanwhile, the
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE remained at 4.1% during November, its lowest levels since February 2001. According to Haver.com,
“from the household employment survey, the steady 4.1% unemployment rate reflected a 57,000 increase(1.2% y/y) in employment
and a 148,000 (0.7% y/y) rise in the labor force.” This helped keep the LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE steady at
62.7% during November. 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) rose to 8.0% in November from 7.9% in October, and versus a seasonally-adjusted 9.0% one year prior.
AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS (Table B) rose 0.19% or $0.05 to $26.55 from $26.50 during November and by $0.64
or 2.47% from $25.91 one year ago. This helped push AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS up 0.48% to $915.98 during
November from $911.60 in October. Average Weekly Earnings over the past year have risen by $27.27 or 3.07% to $915.98 from
$888.71. AVERAGE HOURS WORKED inched up to 34.5 in November versus 34.4 hours in October and as compared to 34.3
hours one year ago. Also of note was the fact that the manufacturing week (Table B-7) remained at 42.0 hours during November as
compared to October and versus 41.8 hours one year ago. The AVERAGE DURATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT (Table A-12)
fell to 25.4 weeks during November from 26.0 weeks during October while the MEDIAN DURATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT
fell to 9.6 months in November as compared to 9.9 weeks one month prior. The number of LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED
(27 weeks or longer) fell 40,000 or 2.46% to 1.581 million in November from 1.621 million in October.
The Commerce Department reported that WHOLESALE INVENTORIES fell 0.5% during October, this after rising 0.1% during
September and by 3.8% y/y. WHOLESALE SALES rose 0.7% during October, by 1.4% during September and by 11.6% y/y. This
relationship between wholesale inventories as compared to sales helped push the INVENTORY-TO-SALES RATIO down to 1.25
months during October as compared to 1.26 months during September and versus 1.30 months one year ago.
The University of Michigan reported that the PRELIMINARY DECEMBER READING OF CONSUMER SENTIMENT
slipped to 96.8 from a final November 98.5 as well as from a preliminary November 97.8. The preliminary December expectations
component fell to 84.6 from a final November 88.9 and from a preliminary November 87.6. Lastly, the preliminary December
current conditions component rose to 115.9 from a final November 113.5 and from a preliminary November 113.6.
Thursday, December 7th
The Federal Reserve reported that CONSUMER CREDIT grew by $20.52 billion during October, this after rising $19.22 billion
in September. Over the past year Consumer Credit has risen 5.4%. 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 $12.23 billion during October and
by 5.2% y/y while revolving credit (credit cards) rose $8.30 billion during October and by 5.9% y/y.
Wednesday, December 6th
THIRD QUARTER PRODUCTIVITY accelerated at an unrevised annualized rate of 3.0% from 1.5% during Q2 and as compared
to 1.5% y/y. Meanwhile, HOURLY COMPENSATION rose at a revised annualized rate of 2.5%, down from an initially recorded
3.5%, up from 0.3% during Q2 and versus 0.8% 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 an upwardly revised annualized rate of 4.8%, up from an initial estimate of
0.5%, up from a drop of 1.2% during Q2 and as compared to 0.3% y/y.
Tuesday, December 5th
The U.S. TRADE DEFICIT widened to $48.7 billion during October from $44.9 billion during September. The value of EXPORTS
fell 0.05% to $195.9 billion from $196.0 billion while the value of IMPORTS rose 1.58% to $244.6 billion during October from
$240.8 billion in September. According to Haver Analytics, “the value of petroleum exports strengthened 8.4% (17.0% y/y) after a
2.2% increase. The real value increased 4.6% (-0.4% y/y) after a 3.3% decline. The per barrel cost of crude petroleum increased to
$47.26 (18.1% y/y). that was the highest value since August 2015 and up from a February 2016 low of $27.49.” Our trade deficit with China widened to $35.2 billion during October from $31.2 billion one year ago. Over the past year our exports to China have
risen 2.8% while imports have gained 10.1%.
The Institute for Supply Management’s composite index of non-manufacturing (service) sector activity fell to 57.4% in November
as compared to 60.1% during October. The level recorded during November 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 (58.7% v. 62.8%), Employment (55.3% v. 57.5%),
Business Activity (61.4% v. 62.2%), and Backlog of Orders (51.5% v. 53.5%). The Prices Paid Component fell to 60.7% from
Monday, December 4th
U.S. FACTORY ORDERS fell 0.1% during the month of October, this after rising 1.7% in September. Meanwhile, SHIPMENTS
rose 0.6% during October. The fact that orders fell while shipments rose resulted in a 0.2% rise in INVENTORIES (backlog) and a 0.0% decrease in UNFILLED ORDERS.
Friday, December 1st
U.S. CONSTRUCTION SPENDING rose 1.4% during October, this after rising 0.3% during September. Over the past year
Construction Spending has risen 2.9%. Private Construction Spending rose 0.6% in October (3.2% y/y), this after falling 0.2%
during September. Private Residential Construction Spending rose 0.4% in October (7.4% y/y). Nonresidential Construction
Spending jumped 0.9% (-1.3% y/y) while Public Construction Spending edged up 3.9% in October (1.8% y/y).
The Institute for Supply Management’s composite index of manufacturing sector activity slipped to 58.2% during November from
58.7% in October. 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 (64.0% v. 63.4%), Production (63.9% v. 61.0%),
Supplier Deliveries (inverse, indicates faster delivery times) (56.5% v. 61.4%), Inventories (47.0% v. 48.0%) and Employment
(59.7% v. 59.8%). The Prices Paid Component pulled back to 65.5% during November as compared to 68.6% during October.
Thursday, November 30th
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that PERSONAL INCOME rose 0.4% during September (3.4% y/y), this after rising
0.4% during September. DISPOSABLE PERSONAL INCOME (personal income less taxes) rose 0.5% (3.2% y/y), this after rising
0.4% in September. The WAGE & SALARY COMPONENT rose 0.3% in October (3.7% y/y). PERSONAL CONSUMPTION
which represents approximately 70% of economic activity rose 0.3% in October, by 0.9% in September and by 4.2% y/y.
PERSONAL SAVINGS (Disposable Personal Income Less Outlays) rose at an annualized rate of 3.2% during October, by 3.0%
during September and as compared to 4.1% one year ago. The PCE CHAIN PRICE INDEX one of the Fed’s favorite measures of
inflation rose 0.1% in October (1.6% y/y), while the core PCE Chain Price Index rose 0.2% during October and by 1.4% y/y.
Wednesday, November 29th
THIRD 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 revised annualized rate of 3.3%, up from an initially reported 3.0%, this as compared
to 3.1% during the second quarter and as compared to 2.3% y/y. FINAL SALES rose at a revised annualized pace of 2.50%, up from
an initially recorded 2.26%, as to compared to 2.95% during Q2 and versus 2.2% y/y. GOVERNMENT SPENDING rose at a
revised annualized rate of 0.4%, this as compared to a drop of 0.1% that was initially reported, an improvement from a drop of 0.2%
during Q2 and as compared to a decline of 0.1% y/y. Meanwhile, the INVENTORY EFFECT added a revised 0.8% to Q3 GDP
from an initially recorded 0.70%, up from 0.12% during Q2 and as compared to 0.1% y /y. PERSONAL CONSUMPTION rose at
a revised annualized rate of 2.3%, down from an initially reported 2.4%, versus 3.3% during Q2 and as compared to 2.6% over the
last twelve months. BUSINESS FIXED INVESTMENT, a key contributor to recent economic growth, rose at a revised annualized
pace of 4.7% during Q3, a sharp revision from the first estimate of 3.9%, down from 6.7% during Q2 and versus 4.6% y/y. The
impact from FOREIGN TRADE added a revised annualized 0.5% as compared to an initially reported 0.4%, this as compared to the
0.2% recorded during the Q2 and as compared to a loss of 0.1% y/y. RESIDENTIAL INVESTMENT fell at a revised annualized
rate of 5.1% during Q3, this compared to an initially reported 6.0%, an improvement over the 7.3% registered during the second
quarter and versus an increase of 1.1% over the past twelve months. Finally, during Q3 the PCE Chained GDP Price Index rose at
a revised annualized rate of 2.1%, a slight decrease from 2.2% that was initially reported, more than twice the 1.0% increase during
the second quarter and as compared to 2.0% y/y.
Monday, November 28th
The Commerce Department reported that SALES OF NEW HOMES rose 40,000 to 685,000 during October from 645,000 during
September (18.7% y/y). Sales of New Homes have fallen by 46.44% from the peak in July 2005 of 1,279,000 units. According to
Haver Analytics, “there was a lessened 4.9 month’s supply of homes for sale at the current sales rate. It was the lowest level since
July 2016. The median number of months a new home was on the market held steady at a low 3.2 months.” The median price of
a new home slipped $12,100 or 3.72% during October to $312,800 from $324,900 in September. Over the past year the median price
of a new home has risen 3.30%.
Wednesday, November 22nd
ORDERS FOR DURABLE GOODS (those expected to last at least three years) fell 1.2% during October, this after rising 2.2%
during October. Smoothing out the m/m volatility, over the past year Orders for Durable Goods have risen 1.0%. Transportation
Orders fell 4.3% (-10.1% y/y) while Orders for NonDefense Capital Goods, Excluding Aircraft fell 0.5% (8.1% y/y) in October.
Orders for nondefense capital goods fell 4.5% during October (-7.5% y/y).
Tuesday, November 21st
SALES OF EXISTING HOMES rose 110,000 during the month of October to 5.480 million from 5.370 million one month prior.
Over the past year Sales of Existing Homes have fallen 0.9%. 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 declined 3.2% (-10.4% y/y)
to 1.800 million, down for the fifth consecutive month. There was a 3.9 months’ supply of those homes available for sale, the lowest
level since March.” The median existing-home sales price fell 0.24% (5.5% y/y) or $600 to $247,000 in October from $247,600
Monday, November 20th
The Conference Board reported that its INDEX OF LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS rose 1.2% during October (5.2%
y/y), this after rising 0.1% in September. Nine of the ten components that comprise the LEI increased including, in order of impact
were average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted), building permits, the ISM New Orders Index, average
consumer expectations for business conditions, the interest rate spread, stock prices, average weekly manufacturing hours, the Leading
Credit Index (inverted) and manufacturers’ new orders for consumer goods and materials. The only negative contributor was
manufacturing hours and manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft. According to Ataman
Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at the Conference Board, “the US LEI increased sharply in October, as
the impact of the hurricanes dissipated. The growth of the LEI, coupled with widespread strength among its components, suggests that
solid growth in the U.S. economy will continue through the holiday season and into the new year.”
Friday, November 17th
HOUSING STARTS rose 13.66% or 155,000 to 1,290,000 during October, as compared to 1,135,000 in September. Over the past
year Housing Starts have fallen 2.9%. Calendar year 2016 starts rose by 1,116,000, the highest since August 2007 and more than
double 2009. 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 October, Single-family housing starts rose 5.28% or 44,000
to 877,000 from 833,000. Multi-family housing starts jumped 111,000 or 36.75% to 413,000 in October from 302,000 during
September. BUILDING PERMITS, a preview of future housing starts rose 5.88% to 1,297,000 during October from 1,225,000 one
Tuesday, October 31st
The CONFERENCE BOARD’S CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX rose to 125.9 during October (24.9% y/y) as compared
to 120.6 in September and in so doing marked the highest level since December 2000. The present situation index rose to 151.1 in
October from 146.9 in September and by 22.7% y/y while the expectations component edged up to 109.1 during October from 103.0
in September and by 26.9% y/y. Those surveyed saying that jobs are “hard to get” improved to 17.5% of respondents during
October from 18.0% during September while those claiming that jobs are “plentiful” rose to 36.3% of respondents during October
versus 32.7% in September.
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 0.7% during the third quarter, this following an 0.5% increase during Q2-2017. The ECI has risen by 2.5%
y/y. The wages & salaries component (70% of ECI) rose by 0.7% during Q3 vs. 0.5% during Q2-2017 and as compared to 2.5%
y/y. The cost of benefits rose by 0.8% over the past quarter, this after rising 0.6% during Q2-2017 and by 2.5% y/y.