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Economic statistics

Economic Statistics for 20 Sep 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

The general business conditions index of the Philadelphia Fed’s Business Outlook Survey improved to –1.9 for its September reading versus minus –7.1 in August. The improvement comes mainly from a big jump in new orders.

Initial jobless claims for last week were down 3,000 to 382,000, though this "drop" is mainly an artifact of last week’s number being revised upwards by 3,000. The 4-week average rose 2,000 to 377,750. Continuing claims fell 32,000 to 3.272 million.

The Markit PMI manufacturing flash index for September fell very slightly, down –0.4 points to 51.5, as factory activity continues to grow modestly.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to –40.8 from last week’s –42.2, continuing a long, slow, less negative trend.

The Conference Board’s index of leading indicators in July fell –0.1%, following last month’s rise of 0.4%, but still the third decline in the past five months.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 18 Sep 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

Housing starts rose a worse-than-expected 2.3% in August to a 0.75 million annual rate, following July’s revised -2.8% drop. The August starts pace is up 29.1% on a year-ago basis.

The MBA reports mortgage applications fell -0.2% in the most recent week, with purchases down -4.0% and refinancings up 1.0%.

Existing home sales rose strongly in August, up 7.8% to an annual unit rate of 4.82 million. This is the second strong increase in a row, and is the highest since May 2010.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 18 Sep 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

The U.S. current account deficit improved sharply to -$117.4 billion in the second quarter from a revised -$133.6 billion in the first quarter.

Net foreign demand for long-term U.S. securities rose from $9.3 billion in June to $676.0 billion in July.

The NAHB housing market index in September rose another 3 points to 40, for the fifth straight rise to the best level since early 2007.

Retail Sales: Redbook reports year-over-year retail sales growth of 2.4%, weaker than last week, but still moderately strong. ICSC-Goldman reports a -2.5% sales decrease from last week, and only a 2.1% increase over last year.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 17 Sep 12

Today’s only economic release is the Empire State manufacturing index, which fell sharply to -10.41 vice -5.85 in August. New orders plunged to -14.03 down 12 points since June. Unfilled orders have been falling for months now, and stand at -14.89. On the other hand, the 6-month expectation for new orders is up to 17.02, well into positive territory. Whether those expectations will be met remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the district’s manufacturing sector continues to bump along the bottom.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 14 Sep 12

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

The Consumer Price Index rose sharply, up 0.6% for the month, though the year-over-year inflation rate is 1.7%. The core CPI, ex-food and –energy, rose just 0.1% last month, and 1.7% on a year-over-year basis.

Business inventories rose 0.8% in July, while sales rose 0.9%, trimming the stock-to-sales ratio down to 1.28.

The Reuter’s/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose a sharp 4.9 points to 79.2.

The Fed reports that industrial production declined by -1.2% last month, erasing the previous two month’s production increases. Capacity utilization at the nation’s factories fell -1.0% to 78.2% from 79.2 percent.

Retail sales jumped 0.9% in August, and sales less cars were up 0.8%. But, sales less gas and cars only rose 0.1% showing underlying weakness in the headline number. On a year-over-year basis, sales were up 4.7%. When taking prices into effect, sales were soft for the month.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 13 Sep 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

Initial jobless claims rose 15,000 in the latest week to 382,000. The 4-week moving average rose to 375,000. But, continuing claims are down 49,000 to 3.282 million. Much of this week’s rise is blamed on Tropical Storm Isaac, which led to increased claims.

The producer price index rose a sizable 1.7% in August—mainly on sharp increases in food and energy prices—after a 0.3% rise in July. Ex-food and energy prices, the core PPI rose 0.2%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose sharply on improved personal finances, up 4.3 points to -42.2. Despite the sharp improvement, the CCI is still at a deeply depressed level, of course.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 12 Sep 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

The MBA reports a big 11.1% surge in mortgage applications for last week, with purchases up 8.0% and re-fis up 12.0%.

Export prices rose 0.9% in August, while import prices rose by 0.7%. On a year-over-year basis, export prices fell -0.9%, while import prices fell -2.2%.

Wholesale inventories continue to rise relative to sales, up 0.7% in July, while the stock to sales ratio rose to 1.21, the third straight increase and the highest of the recovery.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 11 Sep 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today (or in the case of Consumer Credit, late yesterday):

Total US credit outstanding fell $3.3 billion in July. Revolving credit fell $4.8 billion, the second drop in a row.

The U.S. international trade gap in July grew slightly, as the trade deficit increased to $42 billion from $41.9 billion in June. Exports declined -1.0%, following a 1.2% rise in June. Imports shrank -0.8% after a -1.5% decrease in June.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 1.7 points in August to 92.9 in improved sales expectations and in employment plans.

In retail sales, Redbook reported a 2.7% year-on-year sales increase, the best since early June. ICSC-Goldman Store Sales is also showing strength, as sales rose 1.0% for the week, and 3.4% year-over-year.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 7 Sep 12

The only economic release today is the monthly Employment Situation. In August, 96,000 net new jobs were created, with the unemployment rate falling to 8.1%. Analysts had predicted a steady 8.3% unemployment rate with 125,000 new jobs created. Instead, job creation remains anemic, though the exit of 368,000 workers from the labor force lowered the unemployment rate, which makes the lower unemployment rate bad news. The labor force participation rate declined -0.2% to 63.5%, while the employment-population rate fell -0.1% to 58.3%, near the low since the recession, and, before that, 1983. 119,000 fewer workers identified themselves as employed last month, with the total falling to 142,101,000.

Average weekly hours were unchanged at 33.7. Average hourly earnings declined by one penny to $19.75. 

If the labor force participation rate were at the historical average of 66.2%, the real rate of unemployment would be 11.37%, up from 11.16% last month and 11.04% in June.

There’s just nothing positive in this report.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 6 Sep 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

Initial jobless claims fell sharply last week, down 12,000 to 365,000. The 4-week average rose to 371,250, however. Continuing claims fell 6000to 3.322 million.

ADP private payroll employment rose well above expectations to 201,000 in August, following a revised 173,000 total for July. This bodes well for tomorrow’s Employment Situation report.

The composite index from the ISM non-manufacturing survey for August rose 1.1 points to 53.7.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell rose slightly to -46.5.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report shows a total of 32,239 layoffs for August, the second lowest of the recovery.

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Dale Franks
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