The BLS reports that a sluggish 169,000 net new jobs were created in August, though unemployment rate fell -0.1% to 7.3%, as 312,000 people left the labor force. The labor force participation rate declined to 63.2%, the lowest since 1978. The average workweek rose a single tick to 34.5 hours, while average hourly earnings rose a nickel to $24.05. Using the average labor force participation rate prior to the 2009 recession, the real unemployment rate stands at 11.46%. There is nothing good in this report. The unemployment rate dropped only because a third of a million workers left the labor force. The rate of job creation is roughly 100,000 jobs less than the rate of creation we need just to keep up with population growth. The real rate of unemployment is essentially the same as it was all the way back to January of 2012, since we’ve been hovering within a tick or two of 11.5%. We have essentially gained no ground whatsoever in the labor market for 20 months.
Chain stores—at least the few who still report monthly sales—reported declining year-on-year sales rates for August.
The Challenger Job-Cut Report shows a surge in announced layoffs to 50,462 in August.
The ADP Employment Report indicates a weak 176,000 new private sector jobs were created in August, a sizable slowing from July.
Initial claims for unemployment fell 9,000 last week, to 323,000. The 4-week moving average fell 3,000 to 328,500. Continuing claims fell 43,000 to 2.951 million.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell 0.6 points to -32.3, the lowest level in 5 months.
The ISM’s non-manufacturing index rose 2.6 points to 58.6.
Factory orders fell -2.4% in August, mainly on aircraft order declines. Ex-transportation orders rose 1.2%.
The Fed reports that M2 Money Supply increased by $35.9 billion last week.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $9.7 billion last week, with total assets of $3.654 trillion. Reserve Bank credit increased $5.5 billion.
August US Auto sales were the best in seven years, with GM sales up 15% and both Ford and Chrysler up 12%. Toyota showed a 22.8% gain, while Nissan showed a 22.3% increase. VW posted a -1.6% decline.
The MBA reports mortgage apps rose 1.3% last week, with sales down -0.4% but re-fis up 2.0%.
In weekly retail sales, ICSC-Goldman reports a -0.6% sales decline for the week, and a week 1.8% increase from last year. Conversely, Redbook reports a strong 4.7% year-on-year same-store retail sales increase. So, the two major reports of weekly retail sales activity are wildly divergent.
The Census Bureau’s quarterly services survey shows information revenue rose 0.6% in 2Q 2013, and is up 4.2% from a tear ago.
The Fed’s Beige Book reports that economic activity continues to increase at a "modest to moderate pace". Translation, economic growth is still sluggish and below trend in this fourth year of the "recovery".
The Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index rose a point to 22 in August.
The PMI Manufacturing Index fell 0.6 points in August to 53.1. Conversely, the ISM Manufacturing Index showed a 0.3 point rise to 55.7 in August.
July Construction Spending rose 0.6%, led by a 1.3% increase in private residential outlays. June’s originally-reported -0.6% decline was revised upwards to unchanged.
The Gallup Economic Confidence Index fell a point to -13 for August.
The Gallup US Consumer Spending Measure’s August self-reported average daily spending climbed to $95 from $89 in July.
The Reuter’s/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose 2.1 points to 82.1 in August.
July personal income and spending both rose 0.1%. Similarly, the PCE Price index rose 0.1% at the headline and core levels. On a year-over-year basis, the PCE price index is up 1.4% while the core is up 1.2%.
The Chicago PMI for August rose 0.7 points to 53, hopefully a harbinger for the national report due Monday.
Real GDP growth for 2Q 2013 was revised to an annualized 2.5% from the initial estimate of 1.7%. The GDP Price Index was revised to 0.8%.
Initial claims for unemployment last week fell 6,000 to 331,000. The 4-week moving average rose 2,500 to 330,500. Continuing claims fell 14,000 to 2.989 million.
Corporate profits in 2Q 2013 were $1.830 trillion, up from $1.785 trillion in 1Q.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index continued to fall sharply, down almost -3 points to -31.7, a 4-month low.
The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-1.2 billion last week, with total assets of $3.644 trillion. Reserve Bank credit increased $12.0 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 Money Supply fell by $-18.3 billion last week.
The following US economic statistics were announced today:
The MBA reports mortgages dropped -2.5% last week, with purchases climbing 2.0%, but re-fis falling 5.0%.
The Pending Home Sales Index declined 1.3% to 109.5 in July, as higher prices and mortgage rates began hitting the housing industry.
The following US economic statistics were announced today:
ICSC-Goldman Store Sales still look weak, with a 0.2% increase for the week, and 1.9% annual increase. Redbook, on the hand, reports a stronger 3.8% year-on-year same-store sales increase.
The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index rose 0.9% in June, a 12.1% increase from last year.
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose 1.2 points to 81.5 in August.
The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index rose sharply from -11 to 14 in August as business activity picked up in the mid-Atlantic district.
Confidence among institutional investors remains high, though it declined a bit from 107.6 to 105.1 in August.
Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:
Durable goods orders fell -7.3% in July, with ex-transportation orders down -0.6%. On a year-over-year basis, orders are down -0.3%, but ex-transportation orders are up 5.9%.
The Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey shows overall business activity in Texas rose 0.6 points to 5.0, but the production index fell 4.1 points to 7.3.
Todays only economic statistic: In a stunning reversal, new home sales plunged to a 394,000 annual rate in July, and the previous two months were revised down sharply. This completely contradicts the upbeat reports on home prices and existing home sales we’ve gotten over the last few weeks.