Majority of Economic Data found at www.haver.com
Friday, February 2nd
NON-FARM PAYROLLS (approximately 80% of the U.S. workforce) rose by 200,000 during January, which was above the
consensus estimate of 170,000. Payroll gains for the prior two months were revised to 160,000 and 216,000 from 148,000 and
252,000 for a net loss of 24,000 jobs during December and November, respectively. The December numbers along with the revisions
the prior two months resulted in a three month average of 192,000. PRIVATE SECTOR companies gained 196,000 jobs as the
PUBLIC SECTOR added 4,000. 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 (15,000), construction (36,000), and the private service producing sectors (139,000). Meanwhile, the
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE remained at 4.1% during January, its lowest levels since February 2001. According to Haver.com,
“from the household survey, stability in the employment rate at 4.1% reflected a 409,000 increase (1.5% y/y) in jobs and a 519,000
gain (0.9% y/y) in the labor force.” This helped keep the LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE steady at 62.7% during
January. 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 8.2% in January from 8.1% in December, and versus a seasonally-adjusted 10.1% one year prior. AVERAGE
HOURLY EARNINGS (Table B) rose 0.34% or $0.09 to $26.74 from $26.65 during January and by $0.75 or 2.89% from $25.99
one year ago. This helped push AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS down 0.24% to $917.18 during January from $919.43 in
December. Average Weekly Earnings over the past year have risen by $23.12 or 2.59% to $917.18 from $894.06. AVERAGE
HOURS WORKED fell to 34.3 during January from 34.5 in December and versus to 34.4 hours one year ago. Also of note was the
fact that the manufacturing week (Table B-7) remained at 41.7 hours during January as compared to December and versus 41.9
hours one year ago. The AVERAGE DURATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT (Table A-12) rose to 24.1 weeks during January from
23.6 hours during December and from 23.7 hours one year ago while the MEDIAN DURATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT rose to
9.4 weeks in January from 9.1 weeks during November, but fell from 9.6 weeks one year ago. The number of LONG-TERM
UNEMPLOYED (27 weeks or longer) fell 78,000 or 4.90% to 1.515 million in January from 1.593 million in December.
U.S. FACTORY ORDERS rose 1.7% during the month of December, this after rising 1.7% in November. Meanwhile,
SHIPMENTS rose 0.6% during December. The fact that orders rose faster than shipments resulted in a 0.5% rise in
INVENTORIES (backlog) and a 0.6% increase in UNFILLED ORDERS.
The University of Michigan reported that the FINAL JANUARY READING OF CONSUMER SENTIMENT rebounded to 95.7
from a preliminary January 94.4 and from a final December 95.9. The final January expectations component rose to 86.3 from a
preliminary January 84.8 as well as from a final December 84.3. Lastly, the final January current conditions component rose to
110.5 from a preliminary January 109.2, but fell from a final December 113.8.
Thursday, February 1st
U.S. CONSTRUCTION SPENDING rose 0.7% during December, this after rising 0.6% during November. Over the past year
Construction Spending has risen 1.6%. Private Construction Spending rose 0.8% in December (0.9% y/y), this after rising 0.7%
during November. Private Residential Construction Spending rose 0.5% in December (5.4% y/y). Nonresidential Construction
Spending jumped 1.1% (-3.4% y/y) while Public Construction Spending edged up 0.3% in December (4.3% y/y).
The Institute for Supply Management’s composite index of manufacturing sector activity fell to 59.1% during January from
59.3% in December. 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 (65.4% v. 67.4%), Production (64.5% v. 65.2%),
Supplier Deliveries (inverse, indicates faster delivery times) (59.1% v. 57.2%), Inventories (52.3% v. 48.5%) and Employment
(54.2% v. 58.1%). The Prices Paid Component jumped up to 72.7% during January as compared to 68.3% during December.
FOURTH QUARTER PRODUCTIVITY fell an annualized rate of 0.1%, this as compared to annualized gain of 2.7% during the
third quarter and as compared to 1.1% y/y. Meanwhile, HOURLY COMPENSATION rose at an annualized rate of 1.8% during the
fourth quarter, down from 2.7% during Q3 and versus 2.4% y/y. UNIT LABOR COSTS (defined as output per hour of work and can
be determined by dividing total labor costs by output) fell at an annualized rate of 3.7%, down from a gain of 5.4% during the third
quarter and as compared to 1.1% y/y.
INITIAL CLAIMS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS for the week ended January 27th fell 1,000 to 230,000 from a
revised 231,000 one week prior. Initial claims for unemployment benefits have remained below 300,000 for 149 consecutive weeks,
the longest streak since 1970. Meanwhile, the four-week rolling average fell 5,000 to 234,500 from 239,500 one week prior.
Continuing claims for the week ending January 20th rose 13,000 to 1,953,000 from 1,940,000 the prior week while the continuing
claims four-week average rose 12,000 to 1,932,750 from 1,920,750.
Wednesday, January 31st
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 0.6% during the fourth quarter, this following an 0.7% increase during Q3-2017. The ECI has risen by 2.7%
y/y. The wages & salaries component (70% of ECI) rose by 0.5% during Q4 vs. 0.7% during Q3-2017 and as compared to 2.6%
y/y. The cost of benefits rose by 0.5% over the past quarter, this after rising 0.8% during Q3-2017 and by 2.6% y/y.
Tuesday, January 30th
The CONFERENCE BOARD’S CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX rose to 125.4 during January (12.4% y/y) as compared
to 123.1 in December. The present situation index fell to 155.3 in January from 156.5 in December but rose by 19.5% y/y while the
expectations component rebounded to 105.5 during January from 100.8 in December and by 6.2% y/y. Those surveyed saying that
jobs are “hard to get” rose to 16.4% of respondents during January from 16.0% during December while those claiming that
jobs are “plentiful” rose to 37.6% of respondents during January versus 36.3% in December.
Monday, January 29th
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that PERSONAL INCOME rose 0.4% during December (4.1% y/y), this after rising
0.3% during November. DISPOSABLE PERSONAL INCOME (personal income less taxes) rose 0.3% (3.9% y/y), this after rising
0.3% in November. The WAGE & SALARY COMPONENT rose 0.5% in December (4.9% y/y). PERSONAL CONSUMPTION
which represents approximately 70% of economic activity rose 0.4% in December, by 0.8% in November and by 4.6% y/y.
PERSONAL SAVINGS (Disposable Personal Income Less Outlays) rose at an annualized rate of 2.4% during December, by 2.5%
during November and as compared to 3.2% one year ago. The PCE CHAIN PRICE INDEX one of the Fed’s favorite measures of
inflation rose 0.1% in December (1.7% y/y), while the core PCE Chain Price Index rose 0.2% during December and by 1.5% y/y.
Friday, January 26th
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 an annualized rate of 2.6%, down from a Q3 rate of 3.2% and as compared to 2.5% y/y.
FINAL SALES rose at an annualized pace of 3.2%, up from a Q3 pace of 2.4% and as compared to 2.2% y/y. GOVERNMENT
SPENDING rose at an annualized rate of 2.9%, up from 0.7% during Q3 and versus 0.7% y/y. Meanwhile, the INVENTORY
EFFECT subtracted 0.67% from Q4 GDP, a decline from an addition of 0.80% during Q3 and as compared to an increase of 0.3%
y/y. PERSONAL CONSUMPTION rose at an annualized rate of 3.8%, up substantially from 2.2% during Q3 and as compared to
2.8% over the last twelve months. BUSINESS FIXED INVESTMENT, a key contributor to recent economic growth, rose at an
annualized pace of 6.8% during the four quarter, up from 4.7% during Q3 and versus 6.3% y/y. The impact from FOREIGN
TRADE subtracted 1.1% from Q4 GDP, this after adding 0.5% during Q3 and subtracting 0.6% y/y. RESIDENTIAL
INVESTMENT rose at an annualized rate of 11.7% during Q4, a substantial improvement from the drop of 4.7% during the third
quarter as well as from the gain of 2.3% over the past twelve months. Finally, during Q4 the PCE Chained GDP Price Index rose at
an annualized rate of 2.4%, up from 2.1% during the third quarter and as compared to 1.9% y/y.
ORDERS FOR DURABLE GOODS (those expected to last at least three years) rose 2.9% during December, this after rising 1.7%
during November. Smoothing out the m/m volatility, over the past year Orders for Durable Goods have risen 11.5%. Transportation
Orders rose 7.4% (18.2% y/y) while Orders for NonDefense Capital Goods, Excluding Aircraft fell 0.3% (8.4% y/y) in
December. Orders for nondefense capital goods fell 0.1% during December (16.4% y/y).
Thursday, January 25th
The Conference Board reported that its INDEX OF LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS rose 0.6% during December (5.7%
y/y), this after rising 0.5% in November. Seven of the ten components that comprise the LEI increased including, in order of impact
were the ISM New Orders Index , the Leading Credit Index (inverted), the interest rate spread, stock prices, average consumer
expectations for business conditions, manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft and manufacturers’
new orders for consumer goods and materials. The negative contributor was average weekly manufacturing hours. Average weekly
initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted) remained unchanged. According to Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business
Cycles and Growth Research at the Conference Board, “the US LEI continued rising rapidly in December, pointing to a continuation
of strong growth in the first half of 2018. The passing of the tax plan is likely to provide even more tailwind to the current
The Commerce Department reported that SALES OF NEW HOMES fell 64,000 to 625,000 during December from 689,000
during October (14.1% y/y). Sales of New Homes have fallen by 51.13% from the peak in July 2005 of 1,279,000 units. According
to Haver Analytics, “with the December dip in sales, the months’ supply of homes on the market rose to 5.7 from 4.9 in November.
The December amount was, however, equal to the average of the prior four months. The median number of months a new home was
on the market was still low at 3.2, and it was equal to the average of those months median for the entire 2017 year.” The median
price of a new home rose $500 or 0.15% during December to $335,400 from $334,900 in November. Over the past year the median
price of a new home has risen 2.60%.
Wednesday, January 24th
SALES OF EXISTING HOMES fell 210,000 during the month of December to 5.570 million from 5.780 million one month prior.
Over the past year Sales of Existing Homes have risen 1.1%. During calendar year 2017 there were 5.547 +2.0% y/y) million sales of
existing homes, the highest level since 2006. According to Haver Analytics “the number of homes on the market declined by 10.3%
last year following a 6.3% decline in 2016. The supply of homes for sale fell to 3.2 months by the end of the year. That compared to
a 10.4 months during all of 2008.” The median existing-home sales price fell 0.16% (5.8% y/y) or $400 to $246,800 in December
from $247,200 during November.
Thursday, January 18th
HOUSING STARTS fell 8.23% or 107,000 to 1,192,000 during December, as compared to 1,299,000 in November. Over the past
year Housing Starts have fallen 6.0%. 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 fell 11.81% or 112,000
to 836,000 from 948,000. Multi-family housing starts rose 5,000 or 1.42% to 356,000 in December from 351,000 during November.
BUILDING PERMITS, a preview of future housing starts fell 0.08% to 1,302,000 during December from 1,303,000 one month
Wednesday, January 17th
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, a measure of strength of the manufacturing, factory and utility sectors, rose 0.9% during December,
this after dropping 0.1% during November, respectively (3.6% y/y). CAPACITY UTILIZATION rose to 77.9% during December
from 77.2% in November and as compared to 76.0% y/y. Finally, MANUFACTURING CAPACITY remained at 76.4% in
Decamber as compared to November, versus 75.2% 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.
Friday, January 12th
RETAIL SALES rose 0.4% during December, this after rising 0.9% during November (5.4% y/y). Spending on MOTOR
VEHICLE & PARTS rose 0.2% (2.3% y/y) while RETAIL SALES EXCLUDING AUTOS rose 0.4% (6.3% y/y). NON-AUTOS
LESS GASOLINE, Retail Sales rose 0.4% during December (5.8% y/y). Two key components of this report, RETAIL SALES AT
GASOLINE STATIONS rose 0.0% during December (9.1%y/y) while FOOD SERVICE AND DRINKING PLACE SALES
rose 0.7% during December (4.2% y/y).
The Commerce Department reported that BUSINESS INVENTORIES rose 0.4% during November (3.2% y/y), this after rising 0.0%
during October, while BUSINESS SALES rose 1.2% in November (7.9% y/y). This relationship between business inventories as
compared to sales helped push the INVENTORY-TO-SALES RATIO down to 1.33 months during November versus 1.34 months in
October, and as compared to 1.40 months one year ago. The manufacturing inventory-to-sales ratio shrunk to 1.35 months during
November as compared to 1.36 months in October and versus 1.40 months one year ago.
The CONSUMER PRICE INDEX rose 0.1% during December (2.1% y/y), this follows a gain of 0.4% in November. A key
component of the CPI, energy prices fell 1.2% (6.9% y/y) during December, this after jumping 3.9% during November. Food
and beverage prices rose 0.2% in December (1.6% y/y). Ex-food and energy, the core CPI rose 0.3% in December (1.8% y/y)
and by 0.1% during November.
Thursday, January 11th
The PRODUCER PRICE INDEX fell 0.1% during December, this after rising 0.4% during November. Over the past year the PPI
has risen 2.6%. Energy prices rose 0.0% in December (10.1% y/y), this after rising 4.6% in November. Finished food prices fell
0.7% during December (2.1% y/y). Excluding food and energy, the so-called core PPI fell 0.1% in December (2.3% y/y). Prices for
INTERMEDIATE GOODS rose 0.5% (5.1% y/y) during December, this following a gain of 0.5% in November.
Wednesday, January 10th
U.S. Import Prices rose 0.1% during December, this after rising 0.8% in November. Over the past year U.S. Import Prices have risen
3.0%. Petroleum prices rose 2.0% during December (20.6% y/y) while export prices fell 0.1% during December (2.6%y/y).
Agricultural export prices fell 0.4% in December (1.8% y/y), this after falling 1.8% in November. Non-Agricultural Export
Prices rose 0.0% (2.7% y/y).
The Commerce Department reported that WHOLESALE INVENTORIES rose 0.8% (3.9% y/y) during November, this after falling
0.4% during October. WHOLESALE SALES rose 1.5% during November, by 0.8% during October and by 9.7% y/y. This
relationship between wholesale inventories as compared to sales helped push the INVENTORY-TO-SALES RATIO down to 1.24
months during November as compared to 1.25 months during October and versus 1.31 months one year ago.
Monday, January 8th
The Federal Reserve reported that CONSUMER CREDIT grew by $27.96 billion during November, this after rising $20.53 billion
in October. Over the past year Consumer Credit has risen 5.3%. 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 $16.75 billion during November
and by 5.2% y/y while revolving credit (credit cards) rose $11.19 billion during November and by 5.7% y/y.
Friday, January 5th
The U.S. TRADE DEFICIT widened to $50.5 billion during November from $48.9 billion during October. The value of EXPORTS
rose 2.25% to $200.2 billion from $195.8 billion while the value of IMPORTS rose 2.45% to $250.7 billion during November from
$244.7 billion in October. According to Haver Analytics, “the value of petroleum imports surged 10.1% m/m (20.9% y/y) in
November on top of an 8.5% monthly rise in October. As in October, the November increase was due mostly to a higher price for
petroleum. Removing the impact of price changes, the real value of petroleum imports edged up 0.8% m/m (-3.0% y/y) in November.
The per barrel cost of crude petroleum jumped again in November, rising to $50.10 from $47.26 (6.0% m/m). That was the highest
price since July 2015 and up from a February 2016 low of $26.49.” Our trade deficit with China widened to $35.4 billion during
November from $35.2 billion during October and from $30.5 billion one year ago.
The Institute for Supply Management’s composite index of non-manufacturing (service) sector activity fell to 55.9% in December
as compared to 57.4% during November. The level recorded during December 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 (54.3% v. 58.7%), Employment (56.3% v. 55.3%),
Business Activity (57.3% v. 61.4%), and Backlog of Orders (50.0% v. 51.5%). The Prices Paid Component rose to 60.8% during November from 60.7% one month prior.