Free Markets, Free People

Economic statistics

Economic Statistics for 17 Oct 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

Housing starts in September advanced to a 0.872 million unit pace, topping market expectations and up 34.8% on a year-ago basis. Housing permits rose 11.6% to a 0.894 million annualized pace, which is up 45.1% from a year-ago.

The MBA reports mortgage applications fell –4.2% last week, as purchases rose 1.0% and refinancings fell 5.0%.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 16 Oct 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.6%. The core rate, ex-food and –energy, rose 0.1%. On a yearly basis, the CPI rose 2.0%, and the core CPI also rose 2.0%.

Net capital inflows to the US were $90 billion in August, with strong demand for corporate bonds among foreign buyers.

US industrial production rose 0.4%, while capacity utilization rose o.1% to 78.3%. Manufacturing production only rose a sluggish 0.2%, which means it’s no longer providing much impetus for recovery.

The housing market index rose 1 point to 41, thanks to record low mortgage rates and rising consumer confidence.

In weekly retail sales, Redbook reports a soft year-over-year sales increase of 1.8%. ICSC-Goldman reports sales were unchanged in the latest week, and up 2.7% on a year-over-year basis, also a fairly soft number, though it’s been steady for the last month.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 15 Oct 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

US retail sales for September rose a better-than-expected 1.1%. Ex-autos, sales were still up 1.1%, and Ex-autos and –gas, up 0.9%.

The Empire State manufacturing index rose from -10.41 to -6.16 for the month, as the ongoing contraction in business conditions eased.

Business inventories rose 0.5% in August versus a 0.6% rise for business sales which kept the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at 1.28.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 11 Oct 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

The US trade balance worsened in August, as the trade deficit rose to $–44.2 billion, on declining exports due to economic weakness in both Asia and Europe.

Initial jobless claims fell unexpectedly and steeply, by 28,000, to 339,000, perhaps due to some odd seasonal adjustment factors this week. The four-week average is down 11,500 to 364,000, while continuing claims fell 15,000 to 3.273 million. This week’s level of 339,000 is the lowest of the recovery. But, as I said, there are some odd seasonal factors in play this week, so we’ll need to wait for the coming weeks’ reports to see if this low level is confirmed, or due for a big revision. UPDATE: As it turns out, California didn’t report any of its quarterly claims numbers. The seasonal adjustment was expecting a bump in those numbers, and that bump wasn’t there without the CA numbers. So, it’s thrown everything higgledy-piggledy.

Import prices rose 1.1% in August, while export prices rose 0.8%. On a year-over-basis, import prices fell –0.6%, while export prices fell –0.5%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped 1.4 points to -38.5.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 9 Oct 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index dropped more than a point to 92.8, which is generally regarded as a recessionary reading.

In weekly retail sales, Redbook reports a year-on-year sales growth rate of a below trend 1.6% in the latest week. ICSC-Goldman reports slightly better sales, with weekly sales growth at 0.2%, and year-over-year growth at 2.8%.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 5 Oct 12

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

The Monster Employment Index fell three points in September to 153, indicating a slowdown in inline recruitment.

The Employment Situation report indicates that 114,000 net new jobs were created in September. The unemployment rate fell 0.3% to 7.8%. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3%, while the average workweek increased by 0.1 hours to 34.5 hours. The drop in the unemployment rate is statistically questionable, as it indicates that 873,000 people found jobs in a month when only 114,000 net new jobs were created. That just didn’t happen. We’d have noticed if a million people went back to work in a single month. Finally, payrolls for the last two months were revised upwards substantially, with last month’s payroll jobs revised from 96,000 to 141,000, and July revised up to 181,000 from 141,000. So, the last month before the election, we get a seemingly improved employment report, but expect a massive revision to today’s report next month, as this month’s household survey is clearly a statistical outlier. The U-6 unemployment rate—the broadest measure of unemployment and underemployment—stayed steady at 14.7%.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 4 Oct 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

Chain store sales are reporting mainly positive results this morning, but the rate of sales growth seems to be slowing. Still, the positive reports are helping sales of chain retailers’ stock this morning.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report indicates layoffs remain near recovery lows, at 33,816 for September.

Initial claims for unemployment rose 8,000 to 367,000 last week. The 4-week average rose 1,000 to 375,000. Continuing claims continue to fall, down 13,000 to 3.285 million.

Consumers continue to become more optimistic, as the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 3.3 points to -39.6.

Factory orders were down a very sharp –5.2% in August, mainly on a drop in aircraft orders. Ex-aircraft, orders actually rose 0.7%.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 3 Oct 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

ADP private payroll employment for September was estimated at a gain of 162,000, but they’ve been overstating the actual Employment Situation as released by the Labor Department. Last month, the BLS reported half the number of new jobs ADP did. So, if that holds, expect 80,000 net new jobs in Friday’s Employment Situation, which is…not good.

The MBA reports mortgage applications rose 16.6% last week, as purchases rose 4.0% and refinancings rose 20.0%, as homeowners refinanced homes at record rates to take advantage of lower mortgage rates.

The composite index from the ISM non-manufacturing survey for September rose 1.4 points to 55.1, thanks to a big jump in the new orders component to 57.7.

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Dale Franks
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