A light week of economic stats starts with the Housing Market index, which rose 2 points to 64 in October.
September housing starts rose a much stronger than expected 6.5% to a 1.206 annual rate, but permits were weak, falling -5.0% to 1.103 million, annualized.
Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales improved to 1.3% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.1%. Still weak, though.
US industrial production declined by -0.2% in September, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories fell -0.1% to 77.5%.
Job openings fell to 5.370 million in August, from 5.668 million in July.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose nearly 5 points to 92.1 for the preliminary October reading.
The Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations reading rose from 1.7% to 1.8% for October.
Foreign demand for long-term U.S. securities rose a moderate $20.4 billion in August, up from July’s $7.7 billion.
Consumer Prices fell -0.2% overall in September, while the core rate, less food and energy, rose 0.2%. The CPI is unchanged on a year-over-year basis, though the core CPI is up 1.9%.
The Empire State manufacturing survey improved slightly in October, though still coming in at a poor -11.36 from -14.67.
The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey stayed in negative territory rising to only -4.5 in October from -6.0.
With the 2015 US Government Fiscal Fear complete, a $91.1 billion surplus in September leaves the annual deficit down by 9.2% to $438.9 billion for the year. The annual budget deficit was 2.5% of GDP, versus 2.8% in FY2014.
Initial weekly jobless claims fell 7,000 to 255,000. The 4-week average fell 2,250 to 265,000. Continuing claims fell 22,000 to 2.201 million.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.4 points to 45.2 in the latest week.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $18.5 billion last week, with total assets of $4.505 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $4.6 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $2.1 billion in the latest week.
The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -27.6% last week, with purchases down -34.0% and refis down -23.0%. This is the second week after the new disclosure rules were imposed. Last week, apps skyrocketed, so this week’s free-fall actually reflects a return to normalcy.
Producer Prices for Final Demand continued to fall by -0.5% in September, sparking new fears of deflation. Prices ex-food and -energy fell-0.3%, as did prices ex-food, -energy, and -trade services. On a year-over-year basis, PPI-FD is down 01.1% overall, but pieces ex-food and -energy are up 0.8%, and prices ex-food, -energy, and -trade services are up 0.5%.
Retail sales for September rose only a weak 0.1%. Sales less autos fell -0.3%, while sales less autos and gas were unchanged.
Business inventories were unchanged for a second month in August, while sales fell 0.6%, sending the stock-to-sales ratio up to 1.37.
The Fed’s most recent Beige Book on the economy reports that only 3 Fed districts reported “moderate” growth, with 6 reporting “modest” growth, 3 with “slowing” growth, and the Kansas City district reporting economic contraction.
Chain stores—at least those that still report monthly sales results—are reporting slightly higher rates of year-over-year sales growth for September.
Initial weekly jobless claims fell 13,000 to 263,000. The 4-week average fell 3,000 to 267,500. Continuing claims rose 9,000 to 2.204 million.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.8 points to 44.8 in the latest week.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $2.1 billion last week, with total assets of $4.486 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-1.3 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-46.6 billion in the latest week.
The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 25.5% last week, with purchases up 27% and refis 24.0%. This huge jump is the result of new disclosure rules, under the TILA-RESPA regulatory change.
The Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index was unchanged in September at 32.
Consumer credit rose $16.0 billion in August, with revolving credit up $4.0 billion.
A drop in exports, combined with a surge of new iPhone imports, increased the US Trade Deficit to $-48.3 billion in August.
The Gallup Economic Confidence Index dropped another point in September, to -14.
Reebok reports that last week’s retail sales rose, but only to a weak 0.9% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 0.7%.
Gallup’s US Self-Reported Consumer Spending Measure fell slightly from $89 to $88 in September.
The PMI Services Index fell -1 to 55.1 in September.
The Fed’s Labor Market Conditions Index fell to 0.0 in September from 2.1 the previous month.
The ISM Non-Mfg Index fell -2.1 points to 56.9 in September.
A weak 142,000 net new jobs were created in September, far below expectations. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.1%. Average hourly earnings were unchanged, and average weekly hours declined -0.1 hours to 34.5 hours. The labor force participation rate fell -0.2% to 62.4% as 236,000 people left the labor force. The labor force participation rate is the lowest since October, 1977, continuing the decline in the labor force that began in 2000.
This decline is why I no longer calculate the unemployment rate using pre-crisis average LFPR. We no longer know what the “correct” LFPR is, or should be.
Factory Orders declined -1.7% in August, with non-durables down -1.1% and durable goods down -2.3%. Core capital goods fell -0.8%. This is a very weak report all around.