Research >> Economics

Category: Research - Topic: Economics



Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Activity slowed slightly but remained solid in November
Posted: November 17, 2017 at 11:00 AM (Friday)

The pace of growth in Tenth District manufacturing activity slowed slightly but remained solid, and optimism remained high for future activity. Raw materials price indexes increased modestly, while most indexes for selling prices were little changed.

The month-over-month composite index was 16 in November, down from 23 in October and 17 in September (Tables 1 & 2, Chart 1). The composite index is an average of the production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time, and raw materials inventory indexes. Factory activity increased solidly at both durable and non-durable goods plants, particularly for food, plastics, computer and electronic products. Most month-over-month indexes eased somewhat from historically high levels in October. The production, shipments, new orders, and order backlog indexes all moderated slightly. The employment index slipped from 21 to 16, and the new orders for exports index fell into negative territory for the first time in 4 months. The finished goods inventory index dropped from 18 to 2, and the raw materials inventory index also decreased.

Most year-over-year factory indexes improved in November. The composite index edged higher from 34 to 37, and the production, shipments, order backlog, and employment indexes all moved higher. In contrast, the capital expenditures index inched lower from 21 to 19, and the new orders index fell slightly. The new orders for exports index was unchanged. The raw materials inventory index increased to 45, its highest reading in survey history, and the finished goods inventory index rose from 15 to 28.
Future factory activity expectations eased slightly from high levels. The future composite index inched lower from 32 to 27, and the future production, shipments, new orders, and order backlog also slowed slightly. The future capital expenditures index slipped from 22 to 20, while the future employment index was unchanged. The future raw materials inventory index dropped from 22 to 13, and the future finished goods inventory index decreased modestly.

Most price indexes were unchanged or slightly higher in November. The month-over-month finished goods and raw materials price indexes were mostly unchanged. The year-over-year finished goods price index edged higher from 33 to 35, and the year-over-year raw materials price index increased further. The future finished goods price index rose from 32 to 37, and the future raw materials price index jumped from 43 to 59.


October Housing Starts up 13.7%, Permits up 5.9%
Posted: November 17, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Friday)

Building Permits
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,297,000. This is 5.9 percent (±1.4 percent) above the revised September rate of 1,225,000 and is 0.9 percent (±1.6 percent) above the October 2016 rate of 1,285,000. Single-family authorizations in October were at a rate of 839,000; this is 1.9 percent (±1.7 percent) above the revised September figure of 823,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 416,000 in October.

Housing Starts
Privately-owned housing starts in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,290,000. This is 13.7 percent (±10.5 percent) above the revised September estimate of 1,135,000, but is 2.9 percent (±10.1 percent) below the October 2016 rate of 1,328,000. Single-family housing starts in October were at a rate of 877,000; this is 5.3 percent (±12.1 percent) above the revised September figure of 833,000. The October rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 393,000.

Housing Completions
Privately-owned housing completions in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,232,000. This is 12.6 percent (±12.2 percent) above the revised September estimate of 1,094,000 and is 15.5 percent (±11.7 percent) above the October 2016 rate of 1,067,000. Single-family housing completions in October were at a rate of 793,000; this is 2.6 percent (±11.1 percent) above the revised September rate of 773,000. The October rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 433,000.


Builder Confidence Rose 2 points to 68 in November
Posted: November 16, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Thursday)

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose two points to a level of 70 in November on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This was the highest report since March, and the second highest on record since July 2005.

“November’s builder confidence reading is close to a post-recession high — a strong indicator that the housing market continues to grow steadily,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. “However, our members still face supply-side constraints, such as lot and labor shortages and ongoing building material price increases.”

“Demand for housing is increasing at a consistent pace, driven by job and economic growth, rising homeownership rates and limited housing inventory,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “With these economic fundamentals in place, we should see continued upward movement of the single-family housing market as we close out 2017.”

Two out of the three HMI components registered gains in November. The component gauging current sales conditions rose two points to 77 and the index measuring buyer traffic increased two points to 50. Meanwhile, the index charting sales expectations in the next six months dropped a single point to 77.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast jumped five points to 54 and the South rose one point to 69. Both the West and Midwest remained unchanged at 77 and 63, respectively.


Industrial Production rose 0.9%
Capacity Utilization increased to 77.0%

Posted: November 16, 2017 at 09:15 AM (Thursday)

Industrial production rose 0.9 percent in October, and manufacturing increased 1.3 percent. The index for utilities rose 2.0 percent, but mining output fell 1.3 percent, as Hurricane Nate caused a sharp but short-lived decline in oil and gas drilling and extraction. Even so, industrial activity was boosted in October by a return to normal operations after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma suppressed production in August and September.[1] Excluding the effects of the hurricanes, the index for total output advanced about 0.3 percent in October, and the index for manufacturing advanced about 0.2 percent.

With modest upward revisions for July through September, industrial production is now estimated to have only edged down 0.3 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter; the previously published estimate showed a decrease of 1.5 percent.

Total industrial production has risen 2.9 percent over the past 12 months; output in October was 106.1 percent of its 2012 average. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector was 77.0 percent, a rate that is 2.9 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2016) average.


U.S. Import Price Index increased 0.2% in October
Posted: November 16, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

U.S. import prices advanced 0.2 percent in October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, after increasing 0.8 percent in September. U.S. export prices recorded no change in October, after increasing 0.7 percent in September.

Imports
All Imports: Import prices increased 0.2 percent in October, after rising 0.8 percent in September. The price index for all imports rose 1.6 percent over the past 3 months. Higher prices for fuel and nonfuel imports contributed to the overall rise in import prices for October. U.S. import prices increased 2.5 percent for the year ended in October.

Fuel Imports: The price index for fuel imports advanced 1.4 percent in October following a 5.5-percent rise in September. Fuel import prices increased 11.1 percent over the past 3 months. The October increase was driven by higher petroleum prices which advanced 1.7 percent, more than offsetting a 6.7-percent drop in natural gas prices. Fuel import prices rose 13.2 percent over the past 12 months; petroleum prices were the primary contributor, advancing 14.9 percent. Import prices for natural gas fell 18.2 percent over the past year.

All Imports Excluding Fuel: Prices for nonfuel imports rose 0.2 percent in October following a 0.3-percent advance in September. The increase in October was driven by nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices which advanced 0.9 percent; higher prices for capital goods also contributed to the overall increase. Import prices for automotive vehicles; consumer goods; and foods, feeds, and beverages all declined in October limiting the monthly advance. The price index for nonfuel imports rose 1.4 percent over the past 12 months, the largest over-the-year increase since a 2.0-percent advance for the year ended March 2012.

All Exports: U.S. export prices recorded no change in October following 0.7-percent increases in September and August. The index has not recorded a decline since a 0.1-percent drop in June. Higher prices for agricultural exports were offset by lower prices for nonagricultural exports. The price index for exports advanced 2.7 percent over the past year.

Agricultural Exports: The price index for agricultural exports increased 1.9 percent in October, the largest monthly rise since a 2.5-percent advance in June 2016. Higher vegetable prices drove the October increase, more than offsetting lower prices for soybeans and meats. Agricultural export prices increased 3.5 percent over the past year. Increasing vegetable and meat prices were the primary contributors to the 12-month advance.

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Nonagricultural export prices declined 0.3 percent in October following a 0.9-percent rise in September. In October, the index recorded the first monthly decline since a 0.4-percent decrease in May. Lower prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials drove the decrease, and automotive prices also contributed to the overall decline. In contrast, capital goods and consumer goods prices increased in October. Despite the monthly decline in October, the price index for nonagricultural exports increased 2.5 percent over the past year. Higher nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices were the primary contributor to higher prices over the 12-month period.


Philadelphia Fed Outlook Reported Activity growth continued to expand in November
Posted: November 16, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

Regional manufacturing activity continued to expand in November, according to results from this month’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey. The indexes for general activity and shipments fell from their October readings but remained positive, while the survey’s index for new orders rose. The employment index fell but remained elevated. Almost all of the future indicators rose, and firms continue to expect growth in both activity and employment over the next six months.

Current Activity Continues to Expand
The diffusion index for current manufacturing activity in the region remained positive but decreased from a reading of 27.9 in October to 22.7 in November (see Chart). The index has been positive for 16 consecutive months. Nearly 35 percent of the firms indicated increases in activity this month, down slightly from October. The shipments index fell 3 points to 21.7, while the new orders index rose 2 points to 21.4. Both the delivery times and unfilled orders indexes remained positive, suggesting longer delivery times and increases in unfilled orders. In addition, the inventories index turned negative, falling 15 points to -8.6.

Firms continued to report increases in employment, though at a slower pace relative to last month. While the current employment index has been positive for 12 consecutive months, it fell 8 points to 22.6 in November. Almost 28 percent of the responding firms reported increases in employment, while 5 percent of the firms reported decreases. The average workweek index also fell, dropping 6 points to 13.7. This index has been positive for 13 consecutive months.

Price Pressures Show Little Change
The survey’s prices paid index held relatively steady at 39.0, suggesting little change in input price pressures in November. Thirty-nine percent of the respondents reported higher input prices, while no firms reported decreases. Most firms (59 percent) reported no change in input prices. With respect to prices received for their own goods, 14 percent of the firms reported increases, and 6 percent reported decreases, up slightly from last month. The prices received index decreased 6 points this month, with 79 percent of the firms reporting no change in their own prices.

Firms Expect Growth to Continue
Almost all of the survey’s six-month indicators increased this month. The diffusion index for future general activity rose from 46.4 in October to 50.1 in November (see Chart). Almost 57 percent of the manufacturers expect increases in activity over the next six months, while 6 percent expect declines. The indexes for future new orders and shipments also rose: The future new orders index increased 13 points, while the future shipments index rose 3 points. The future employment diffusion index rose 3 points to 41.2. Forty-three percent of the firms expect to increase employment over the next six months.

Firms Expect Their Own Price Increases to Be Similar to Consumer Inflation
In this month’s special questions, firms were asked to forecast the changes in the prices of their own products and for U.S. consumers over the next four quarters (see Special Questions). Regarding their own prices, the firms’ median forecast was for an increase of 2.0 percent, the same as when the question was last asked in August 2017. When asked about the rate of inflation for U.S. consumers over the next year, the firms’ median forecast was also 2.0 percent, a slight decrease from the previous forecast of 2.5 percent in August. Firms expect their employee compensation costs (wages plus benefits on a per employee basis) to rise 3.0 percent over the next four quarters, the same as the previous forecast. Firms’ forecast for the long-run (10-year average) inflation rate fell from 3.0 percent to 2.5 percent.

Summary
Responses to the November Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey suggest continued growth for the region’s manufacturing sector. While the current activity and shipment indexes fell, they remained positive, and the new orders index rose. The employment indexes also continued to reflect growth in labor demand in the region’s manufacturing sector. Almost all of the indicators reflecting expectations for the next six months rose, suggesting that growth is expected to continue.


Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Increase 10,000 to 249,000
Posted: November 16, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

In the week ending November 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 249,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 239,000. The 4-week moving average was 237,750, an increase of 6,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 231,250.

Claims taking procedures continue to be severely disrupted in the Virgin Islands. The ability to take claims has improved in Puerto Rico and they are now processing backlogged claims.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.3 percent for the week ending November 4, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 4 was 1,860,000, a decrease of 44,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 29, 1973 when it was 1,805,000. The previous week's level was revised up 3,000 from 1,901,000 to 1,904,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,887,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since January 12, 1974 when it was 1,881,000. The previous week's average was revised up by 750 from 1,895,250 to 1,896,000.


Treasury International Capital Data for September 2017
Posted: November 15, 2017 at 04:00 PM (Wednesday)

The U.S. Department of the Treasury today released Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for September 2017. The sum total in September of all net foreign acquisitions of long-term securities, short-term U.S. securities, and banking flows was a monthly net TIC outflow of $51.3 billion. Of this, net foreign private outflows were $17.3 billion, and net foreign official outflows were $34.0 billion.

Foreign residents increased their holdings of long-term U.S. securities in September; net purchases were $60.8 billion. Net purchases by private foreign investors were $59.5 billion, while net purchases by foreign official institutions were $1.3 billion. U.S. residents decreased their holdings of long-term foreign securities, with net sales of $20.1 billion.

Taking into account transactions in both foreign and U.S. securities, net foreign purchases of long-term securities were $80.9 billion. After including adjustments, such as estimates of unrecorded principal payments to foreigners on U.S. asset-backed securities, overall net foreign purchases of long-term securities are estimated to have been $65.1 billion in September.

Foreign residents increased their holdings of U.S. Treasury bills by $7.6 billion. Foreign resident holdings of all dollar-denominated short-term U.S. securities and other custody liabilities increased by $2.4 billion. Banks' own net dollar-denominated liabilities to foreign residents decreased by $118.8 billion


Business Inventories unch% in September
Posted: November 15, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Wednesday)

The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for September, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1,389.7 billion, up 1.4 percent (±0.2 percent) from August 2017 and was up 6.4 percent (±0.4 percent) from September 2016.

Manufacturers’ and trade inventories, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $1,888.7 billion, virtually unchanged (±0.1 percent)* from August 2017, but were up 3.5 percent (±0.3 percent) from September 2016.

The total business Inventories/Sales Ratio based on seasonally adjusted data at the end of September was 1.36. The September 2016 ratio was 1.40.


Consumer Price Index 0.1% in October, Ex Fd & Engy rose 0.2%
Posted: November 15, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Wednesday)

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.1 percent in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.0 percent.

The shelter index increased 0.3 percent and was the main factor in the seasonally adjusted all items increase. The energy index fell, as a decline in the gasoline index outweighed increases in other energy component indexes. The food index was unchanged over the month.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in October. In addition to the shelter index, the indexes for medical care, used cars and trucks, tobacco, education, motor vehicle insurance, and personal care were among those that increased. The indexes for new vehicles, recreation, and apparel all declined.

The all items index rose 2.0 percent for the 12 months ending October, a smaller increase than the 2.2-percent increase for the period ending September. The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.8 percent over the past year, a slightly larger increase compared to the 1.7-percent increase for the 12 month sending September. The energy index increased 6.4 percent over the last 12 months, and the index for food rose 1.3 percent.


Real Average Hourly Earnings decreased 0.1% in October
Posted: November 15, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Wednesday)

Real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.1 percent from September to October, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This result stems from no change in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.1-percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Real average weekly earnings decreased 0.1 percent over the month due to the decrease in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in the average workweek.

Real average hourly earnings increased 0.4 percent, seasonally adjusted, from October 2016 to October 2017. The increase in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in the average workweek resulted in a 0.4-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.


U.S. Retail Sales for October Increase 0.2%, Ex-Auto up 0.1%
Posted: November 15, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Wednesday)

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for October 2017, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $486.6 billion, an increase of 0.2 percent (±0.5 percent)* from the previous month, and 4.6 percent (±0.7 percent) above October 2016. Total sales for the August 2017 through October 2017 period were up 4.3 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago. The August 2017 to September 2017 percent change was revised from up 1.6 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 1.9 percent (±0.2 percent).

Retail trade sales were up 0.2 percent (±0.5 percent)* from September 2017, and were up 4.7 percent (±0.7 percent) from last year. Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 8.8 percent (±2.1 percent) from October 2016, while Gasoline Stations were up 7.5 percent (±1.4 percent) from last year.


Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions continued to grow strongly in November
Posted: November 15, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Wednesday)

Business activity continued to grow strongly in New York State, according to firms responding to the November 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. Though the headline general business conditions index fell eleven points from the multiyear high it reached last month, it remained firmly in positive territory at 19.4. The new orders index climbed to 20.7 and the shipments index came in at 18.4—readings that pointed to ongoing solid gains in orders and shipments. Delivery times were slightly shorter than last month, and inventory levels edged higher. Labor market indicators reflected moderate employment gains and little change in hours worked. Both input prices and selling prices rose at a pace that was little changed from last month. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms were very optimistic about future business conditions.

Activity Remains Strong
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity continued to expand strongly. After reaching a three-year high last month, the general business conditions index fell eleven points to 19.4, suggesting a pace of growth that, while brisk, was slower than in October. Thirty-seven percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 17 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index moved up three points to 20.7, indicating solid growth in orders. After advancing to a multiyear high last month, the shipments index fell nine points to 18.4. The unfilled orders index moved down seven points to -4.6, pointing to a small decline in unfilled orders. The delivery time index fell five points to -5.4, indicating shorter delivery times, and the inventories index rose twelve points to 4.6, a sign that inventory levels increased modestly.

Employment Levels Continue to Escalate
The index for number of employees fell four points to 11.5, suggesting that employment expanded, though at a somewhat slower pace than last month. The average workweek index remained near zero, indicating that hours worked held steady. Prices increased at about the same pace as last month: the prices paid index edged down slightly to 24.6, and the prices received index inched up to 9.2.

Optimism Grows
Looking ahead, firms were very optimistic about the six-month outlook. The index for future business conditions climbed five points to 49.9, and the index for future new orders rose nine points to 53.7, a multiyear high. Employment and the average workweek were expected to increase in the months ahead. The capital expenditures index climbed four points to 25.4, and the technology spending index fell six points to 10.8.


Producer Price Index advanced 0.4% in October, ex Fd & Engy up 0.2%
Posted: November 14, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Tuesday)

The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.4 percent in October, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Final demand prices advanced 0.4 percent in September and 0.2 percent in August. On an unadjusted basis, the final demand index increased 2.8 percent for the 12 months ended in October, the largest rise since an advance of 2.8 percent for the 12 months ended February 2012.

Within final demand in October, prices for final demand services rose 0.5 percent, and the index for final demand goods moved up 0.3 percent. Prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services rose 0.2 percent in October. For the 12 months ended in October, the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services advanced 2.3 percent.

Final Demand
Final demand services: The index for final demand services rose 0.5 percent in October, the largest increase since moving up 0.5 percent in April. Three-quarters of the October advance can be traced to a 1.1-percent rise in margins for final demand trade services. (Trade indexes measure changes in margins received by wholesalers and retailers.) The index for final demand transportation and warehousing services increased 0.8 percent. Prices for final demand services less trade, transportation, and warehousing edged up 0.1 percent.

Product detail: Nearly half of the increase in prices for final demand services can be attributed to margins for fuels and lubricants retailing, which surged 24.9 percent. The indexes for machinery and equipment wholesaling; transportation of passengers (partial); apparel, jewelry, footwear, and accessories retailing; chemicals and allied products wholesaling; and portfolio management also advanced. In contrast, margins for food retailing moved down 2.1 percent. The indexes for food and alcohol wholesaling and for loan services (partial) also decreased.

Final demand goods: Prices for final demand goods moved up 0.3 percent in October, the third straight increase. Over two-thirds of the October rise can be traced to the index for final demand goods less foods and energy, which advanced 0.3 percent. Prices for final demand foods moved up 0.5 percent. The index for final demand energy was unchanged.

Product detail: Almost half of the rise in the final demand goods index was the result of higher prices for pharmaceutical preparations, which increased 2.1 percent. The indexes for industrial chemicals, fresh and dry vegetables, diesel fuel, beef and veal, and tobacco products also advanced. Conversely, prices for gasoline fell 4.6 percent. The indexes for light motor trucks and pork also moved lower. (In accordance with usual practice, most new-model-year passenger cars and light motor trucks were introduced into the PPI in October. See Report on Quality Changes for 2018 Model Vehicles, at www.bls.gov/web/ppi/ppimotveh.htm.)


NFIB Small Business Optimism Index gained 0.8 points to 103.8 in October
Posted: November 14, 2017 at 07:00 AM (Tuesday)

The Index of Small Business Optimism gained 0.8 points to 103.8 in October, maintaining a streak of robust readings. Four of the 10 Index components posted a gain, 5 declined and one was unchanged. Labor market indicators point to continued good jobs reports, as reports of actual employment gains for October posted solid numbers and reports of job openings surged to record territory. Reports of increased compensation remained strong, and the incidence of reported price increases rose a bit, good news for the Federal Reserve, which wants more inflation. Plans to spend on inventory and capital projects didn’t advance but held at solid levels. Owners became much more optimistic about the environment for expansion, which implies a more positive longer-run view. In the nearer term, they are more optimistic about real sales growth and improved business conditions through the end of the year. The net percent of owners reporting positive sales trends did not improve but did remain positive.

LABOR MARKETS
Job creation strengthened in the small-business sector as business owners reported a seasonally adjusted average employment change per firm of 0.17 workers. Fourteen percent (up 2 points) reported increasing employment an average of 3.5 workers per firm and 11 percent (down 2 points) reported reducing employment an average of 2.2 workers per firm (seasonally adjusted). Thirty-five percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 5 points, the highest reading since November 2001. Fifty-nine percent reported hiring or trying to hire (up 2 points), but 52 percent (88 percent of those hiring or trying to hire) reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem (up 1 point), second only to taxes and the highest reading since 2000. This is the top ranked problem for those in construction (31 percent) and manufacturing (27 percent). A seasonally adjusted net 18 percent plan to create new jobs, down 1 point from September’s strong reading.

CREDIT MARKETS
Four percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied, up 2 points and historically low. Twenty-nine percent reported all credit needs met (down 4 points) and 53 percent said they were not interested in a loan, up 2 points. Only 2 percent reported that financing was their top business problem compared to 21 percent citing taxes, 14 percent citing regulations and red tape, and 20 percent the availability of qualified labor. Thirty percent of all owners reported borrowing on a regular basis (up 1 point). The average rate paid on short maturity loans was up 40 basis points at 6.0 percent, little changed even as the Federal Reserve has been raising rates.

SALES AND INVENTORIES
The net percent of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reporting higher nominal sales in the past three months compared to the prior three months was a net 1 percent, unchanged from September. Consumer spending slowed at the end of the third quarter and hurricanes definitely depressed shopping in large parts of the country. Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes gained 6 points, rising to a net 21 percent of owners, after a 12-point drop in September. What triggered September’s large decline in expectations is less clear, as reports on the economy were fairly good.

The net percent of owners reporting inventory increases rose 2 points to a net 0 percent (seasonally adjusted). Inventory building did occur for the economy as a whole, but in the form of reduced rates of depletion in the small business sector. The net percent of owners viewing current inventory stocks as “too low” lost 2 points to a net negative 5 percent, a less positive view of the need for current stocks. This is a bit surprising in light of the rather positive view of real sales trends in the next 3 months. The net percent of owners planning to add to inventory fell 3 points to a net 4 percent, a solid figure that is supportive of fourth quarter growth.

INFLATION
The net percent of owners raising average selling prices rose 2 points to a net 8 percent. Clearly, inflation is not “breaking out” across the country as the Federal Reserve hoped. Ten percent of owners reported reducing their average selling prices in the past three months (unchanged), and 16 percent reported price increases (up 1 point), illustrative of the dynamics of price adjustments in the private sector to changes in economic conditions and demand. Seasonally adjusted, a net 22 percent plan price hikes, although far fewer will report actually doing so in the following months.

COMPENSATION AND EARNINGS
Reports of higher worker compensation rose 2 points to a net 27 percent, historically strong. Owners complain at record rates of labor quality issues, with 88 percent of those hiring or trying to hire reporting few or no qualified applicants for their open positions. A near-record 20 percent selected “finding qualified labor” as their top business problem. Plans to raise compensation rose 3 points in frequency to a net 21 percent, following a 3 point rise in September. Gains in compensation are to be expected when labor markets are very tight as they appear to be.

CAPITAL SPENDING
Fifty-nine percent reported capital outlays, unchanged. Of those making expenditures, 41 percent reported spending on new equipment (up 2 points), 24 percent acquired vehicles (up 1 point), and 16 percent improved or expanded facilities (up 3 points). Seven percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion (up 1 point) and 12 percent spent money for new fixtures and furniture (unchanged). The percent of owners planning capital outlays was unchanged at 27 percent. The recovery from the hurricanes will undoubtedly raise these numbers.

COMMENTARY
The preliminary estimate of third quarter growth came in at 3 percent, but this figure will be revised several times before the “official” figure is reported. It was virtually unchanged from the 3.1 percent growth for the second quarter. Domestic spending was weaker, closer to a 2 percent rate of growth. Residential investment spending faltered a bit, perhaps due to supply constraints, such as shortage of labor, not weaker demand. Consumer sentiment surged based on optimism about jobs and incomes, an encouraging development as consumers account for 70 percent of GDP. There will be a pickup in auto spending (replacing hurricane-damaged cars) and home improvement spending, due to hurricane damage, and the rising prices of houses due to a shortage of new supply.

The Federal Reserve will boost rates again in December, by 25 basis points, putting the policy range at 1.25-1.5% for Federal Funds. But that will leave the rate at about half of the level that history would suggest. It will also stop reinvesting $10 billion of maturity proceeds each month, gradually increasing this to $50 billion per month. The Federal Reserve has not signaled how much lower it will take its $4.5 trillion portfolio, but the reduction will be slow. Less Federal Reserve buying, however, will put some upward pressure on interest rates. The Federal Reserve is still in control of rates and bond investors will bet on the Federal Reserve, not markets. New Federal Reserve management will soon be in place and it will like set a less cautious path for “normalization.”

Congress has taken its first cut at tax reform and small business owners are eagerly waiting to see how the developing legislation will benefit them. Historically, Congress has given inadequate consideration of the impact of their laws on small firms, paying more attention to lobbies from the largest firms and unwittingly saddling small firms with costly and inappropriate (of little or no value to society) regulations promulgated for large firms. Owners remain hopeful that whatever the final tax legislation looks like, it will be a positive change from current law.


Forecasters See Stronger Outlook for Growth over the Next Two Quarters
Posted: November 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Monday)

The outlook for growth in the U.S. economy over the next two quarters looks slightly stronger overall than that of three months ago, according to 41 forecasters surveyed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The panel expects real GDP to grow at an annual rate of 2.6 percent this quarter and 2.4 percent next quarter, marking upward revisions from the previous survey. On an annual-average over annual-average basis, the forecasters see real GDP growing 2.2 percent in 2017, compared with 2.1 percent from the previous survey. The forecasters predict real GDP will grow 2.5 percent in 2018, 2.1 percent in 2019, and 1.9 percent in 2020.

The projections for annual unemployment rates were either unchanged or revised slightly downward in comparison with the third quarter 2017 survey. The forecasters predict the unemployment rate will be an annual average of 4.4 percent in 2017, before falling to 4.1 percent in 2018, and then decreasing to 4.0 percent in 2019 and 4.1 percent in 2020.

On the employment front, the forecasters have revised downward their estimates for job gains in 2017 and in 2018. The forecasters’ projections for the annual-average level of nonfarm payroll employment suggest job gains at a monthly rate of 178,000 in 2017, down from the previous estimate of 180,400, and 163,400 in 2018, down from the previous estimate of 165,800. (These annual-average estimates are computed as the year-to-year change in the annual-average level of nonfarm payroll employment, converted to a monthly rate.)

The charts below provide some insight into the degree of uncertainty the forecasters have about their projections for the rate of growth in the annual-average level of real GDP. Each chart presents the forecasters’ previous and current estimates of the probability that growth will fall into each of 11 ranges. For 2017, the panelists are more certain now than they were in the previous survey that real GDP growth would fall between 2.0 percent and 2.9 percent. For 2018 and 2019, the probabilities are also slightly higher now than they were in the survey of three months ago for real GDP growth between 2.0 percent and 2.9 percent. The probabilities for growth in 2020 are about the same now as they were in the previous survey.

The forecasters’ density projections for unemployment, shown below, shed light on uncertainty about the labor market over the next four years. Each chart presents the forecasters’ current estimates of the probability that unemployment will fall into each of 10 ranges. The forecasters are more certain now than they were three months ago that unemployment over 2017 will average between 4.0 percent and 4.9 percent. The forecasters are less certain now than they were three months ago that unemployment will average between 4.0 percent and 4.9 percent over 2018, 2019, and 2020. In addition, forecasters notably raised their probability estimates for an unemployment rate below 4.0 percent over 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Short-Term CPI and PCE Inflation Projections Are Holding Steady
Measured on a fourth-quarter over fourth-quarter basis, the CPI and PCE inflation forecasts are about the same now as they were three months ago, particularly for core inflation measures. Core CPI inflation is expected to average 1.7 percent in 2017, 2.1 percent in 2018, and 2.2 percent in 2019. The projections for core PCE inflation are 1.4 percent for the current year, 1.8 percent for 2018, and 2.0 percent for 2019.

Over the next 10 years, 2017 to 2026, the forecasters expect headline CPI inflation to average 2.20 percent at an annual rate, down slightly from their previous estimate of 2.25 percent. The corresponding estimate for 10-year annual-average PCE inflation is 2.00 percent, unchanged from the previous estimate three months ago.

The charts below show the median projections (red line) and the associated interquartile ranges (gray areas around the red line) for the projections for 10-year annual-average CPI and PCE inflation. The charts highlight a marginally lower level of the long-term projection for CPI inflation and an unchanged long-term projection for PCE inflation.

The charts below show the probabilities that the forecasters are assigning to the possibility that fourth-quarter over fourth-quarter core PCE inflation in 2017 and 2018 will fall into each of 10 ranges. For 2017, the forecasters assign a higher chance than they previously predicted that core PCE inflation will be between 1.0 percent to 1.4 percent. For 2018, the forecasters assign a higher chance that core PCE inflation will be between 1.5 percent and 1.9 percent than they previously predicted.

Reduced Risk of Decline in Real GDP in 2017 and 2018
The forecasters see only a small chance of a contraction in real GDP in any of the next five quarters. For the current quarter, they predict a 6.3 percent chance of negative growth, down from 10.5 percent in the survey of three months ago. Notably, the forecasters see a lower probability of a negative quarter in 2017 and 2018 than they estimated three months ago.


University of Michigan Consumer Confidence Preliminary November Results at 97.8
Posted: November 10, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Friday)

Consumer sentiment declined slightly in early November due to widespread losses across current and expected economic conditions. The losses were quite small as the Sentiment Index remained at its second highest level since January. Overall, the Sentiment Index has remained trendless since the start of the year, varying by less that 4.0 Index-points around its 2017 average of 96.8. Consumers (and policy makers) have four key concerns: prospective trends in jobs, wages, inflation, and interest rates. An improving labor market was spontaneously mentioned by a record number of consumers in early November, and anticipated wage gains recorded their highest two-month level in a decade. These favorable trends were countered by a slight rise in year-ahead inflation expectations and a growing consensus that interest rates will increase during the year ahead. Needless to say, the preliminary November data is hardly sufficient to indicate that the persistent strength in the labor market has finally prompted higher inflation. Moreover, consumers anticipated that the size of the changes would be rather small, leaving economic conditions largely unchanged at favorable levels. While the expected Fed rate hikes seem to be the right preemptive action, the critical issue is whether income gains will be sufficient to outweigh rate hikes in home and vehicle purchase decisions. Overall, the data are consistent with a 2.7% rise in personal consumption spending in 2018.


Wholesale Inventories up 0.3% in September
Posted: November 9, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Thursday)

September 2017 sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $480.5 billion, up 1.3 percent (±0.4 percent) from the revised August level and were up 8.5 percent (±1.2 percent) from the September 2016 level. The July 2017 to August 2017 percent change was revised from the preliminary estimate of up 1.7 percent (±0.4 percent) to up 1.9 percent (±0.4 percent).

Total inventories of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were $609.5 billion at the end of September, up 0.3 percent (±0.4 percent)* from the revised August level. Total inventories were up 4.6 percent (±0.7 percent) from the revised September 2016 level. The August 2017 to September 2017 percent change was unrevised from the advance estimate of up 0.3 percent (±0.4 percent)*.

The September Inventories/Sales Ratio for merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, based on seasonally adjusted data, was 1.27. The September 2016 ratio was 1.32.


Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Increase 10,000 to 239,000
Posted: November 9, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

In the week ending November 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 239,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 229,000. The 4-week moving average was 231,250, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 232,500. This is the lowest level for this average since March 31, 1973 when it was 227,750. Claims taking procedures continue to be severely disrupted in the Virgin Islands. The ability to take claims has improved in Puerto Rico and they are now processing backlogged claims.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending October 28, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 28 was 1,901,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 1,884,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,895,250, a decrease of 750 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since January 12, 1974 when it was 1,881,000. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 1,895,750 to 1,896,000.


Purchase Apps flat, Refi's down in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Posted: November 8, 2017 at 07:00 AM (Wednesday)

Mortgage applications remained unchanged from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending November 3, 2017.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, remained unchanged on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 1 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 9 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 49.0 percent of total applications from 48.7 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 6.6 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.6 percent from 10.4 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 10.0 percent from 9.9 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.7 percent from 0.8 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) decreased to 4.18 percent from 4.22 percent, with points decreasing to 0.38 from 0.43 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100) decreased to 4.12 percent from 4.16 percent, with points decreasing to 0.24 from 0.27 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 4.05 percent from 4.07 percent, with points decreasing to 0.43 from 0.46 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.51 percent from 3.52 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.44 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs remained unchanged from the week prior at 3.33 percent, with points increasing to 0.59 from 0.50 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.


Consumer Credit Increased at an annual rate of 6.75%
Posted: November 7, 2017 at 03:00 PM (Tuesday)

Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5-1/2 percent during the third quarter. Both revolving and nonrevolving credit increased at similar annual rates. In September, consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 6-3/4 percent.


Job Openings little changed at 6.1 million in September
Posted: November 7, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Tuesday)

The number of job openings was little changed at 6.1 million on the last business day of September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were also little changed at 5.3 million and 5.2 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate and the layoffs and discharges rate were little changed at 2.2 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the nonfarm sector by industry and by four geographic regions.

Job Openings
On the last business day of September, there were 6.1 million job openings, little changed from August. Job openings have been at or near record high levels since June. The job openings rate was 4.0 percent in September. The number of job openings was little changed for total private and for government. Job openings increased in professional and business services (+156,000), other services (+52,000), state and local government education (+36,000), and federal government (+15,000). Job openings decreased in accommodation and food services (-111,000) and information (-28,000). The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions.

Hires
The number of hires was little changed at 5.3 million in September. The hires rate was 3.6 percent. The number of hires was little changed for total private and for government. The number of hires was little changed in all industries and regions.

Separations
Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations is referred to as turnover. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer. Other separations includes separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm.

The number of total separations was little changed at 5.2 million in September. The total separations rate was 3.6 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and for government. Total separations decreased in other services (-73,000) and wholesale trade (-37,000). The number of total separations was little changed in all four regions.

The number of quits was little changed at 3.2 million in September. The quits rate was 2.2 percent. The number of quits was little changed for total private and for government. Quits rose in professional and business services (+82,000) and state and local government, excluding education (+10,000). Quits fell in other services (-45,000) and real estate and rental and leasing (-16,000). In the regions, the number ofquits increased in the Midwest.

There were 1.7 million layoffs and discharges in September, little changed from August. The layoffs and discharges rate was 1.2 percent in September. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed for total private and for government. The layoffs and discharges level decreased in wholesale trade (-30,000) and mining and logging (-7,000). The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all four regions.

The number of other separations edged down in September to 355,000. Other separations edged down for total private and was little changed for government. Other separations increased in state and local government education (+6,000). Other separations decreased in other services (-18,000), accommodation and food services (-13,000), and educational services (-5,000). The number of other separations decreased in the South region.

Net Change in Employment
Large numbers of hires and separations occur every month throughout the business cycle. Net employment change results from the relationship between hires and separations. When the number of hires exceeds the number of separations, employment rises, even if the hires level is steady or declining. Conversely, when the number of hires is less than the number of separations, employment declines, even if the hires level is steady or rising. Over the 12 months ending in September, hires totaled 63.9 million and separations totaled 62.1 million, yielding a net employment gain of 1.8 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.


Employment Trends Index increased sharply in October to 135.57
Posted: November 6, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Monday)

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) increased sharply in October, after declining in September and August. The index now stands at 135.57, up from 132.86 (an upward revision) in September. The change represents a 5.4 percent gain in the ETI compared to a year ago.

“The bounce back in the Employment Trends Index in October was one of the largest monthly increases ever, and comes after two declines because of the hurricanes,” said Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North America, at The Conference Board. “As expected, the ETI picked up and continued its strong upward trend, suggesting that employment growth will remain solid in the coming months.”

October’s increase in the ETI was fueled by positive contributions from all eight components. From the largest positive contributor to the smallest, these were: Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Percentage of Firms with Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers, Industrial Production, Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry, Consumer Confidence “Jobs Hard to Get” Percentage, and Job Openings.


ISM Non-Manufacturing Index increased to 60.1% in October
Posted: November 3, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Friday)

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in October for the 94th consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The NMI® registered 60.1 percent, which is 0.3 percentage point higher than the September reading of 59.8 percent. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector at a slightly faster rate. This is the highest NMI® reading since the index’s debut in 2008. The highest reading among pre-2008 composite index calculations is 61.3 percent in August 2005. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index increased to 62.2 percent, 0.9 percentage point higher than the September reading of 61.3 percent, reflecting growth for the 99th consecutive month, at a slightly faster rate in October. The New Orders Index registered 62.8 percent, 0.2 percentage point lower than the reading of 63 percent in September. The Employment Index increased 0.7 percentage point in October to 57.5 percent from the September reading of 56.8 percent. The Prices Index decreased by 3.6 percentage points from the September reading of 66.3 percent to 62.7 percent, indicating prices increased in October for the fifth consecutive month. According to the NMI®, 16 non-manufacturing industries reported growth. The non-manufacturing sector has reflected the third consecutive month of strong growth. Respondent comments continue to indicate a positive outlook for business conditions, and the economy as we begin the fourth quarter.

INDUSTRY PERFORMANCE
The 16 non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in October — listed in order — are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Construction; Transportation & Warehousing; Mining; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Utilities; Other Services; Wholesale Trade; Management of Companies & Support Services; Retail Trade; Finance & Insurance; Health Care & Social Assistance; Public Administration; Information; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; and Accommodation & Food Services. The two industries reporting contraction in October are: Educational Services; and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation.


New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.4% in September
Posted: November 3, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Friday)

New orders for manufactured goods in September, up three of the last four months, increased $6.5 billion or 1.4 percent to $478.5 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. This followed a 1.2 percent August increase. Shipments, up nine of the last ten months, increased $3.9 billion or 0.8 percent to $480.4 billion. This followed a 0.6 percent August increase. Unfilled orders, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased $2.7 billion or 0.2 percent to $1,135.0 billion. This followed a virtually unchanged August decrease. The unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio was 6.70, down from 6.76 in August. Inventories, up ten of the last eleven months, increased $4.4 billion or 0.7 percent to $660.8 billion. This followed a 0.6 percent August increase. The inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.38, unchanged from August.

New Orders
New orders for manufactured durable goods in September, up three of the last four months, increased $4.7 billion or 2.0 percent to $238.4 billion, down from the previously published 2.2 percent increase. This followed a 2.1 percent August increase. Transportation equipment, also up three of the last four months, led the increase, $3.6 billion or 4.7 percent to $80.9 billion. New orders for manufactured nondurable goods increased $1.8 billion or 0.8 percent to $240.1 billion.

Shipments
Shipments of manufactured durable goods in September, up four of the last five months, increased $2.1 billion or 0.9 percent to $240.3 billion, down from the previously published 1.0 percent increase. This followed a 0.7 percent August increase. Transportation equipment, up two of the last three months, led the increase, $0.8 billion or 1.1 percent to $79.5 billion. Shipments of manufactured nondurable goods, up five of the last six months, increased $1.8 billion or 0.8 percent to $240.1 billion. This followed a 0.4 percent August increase. Petroleum and coal products, up three consecutive months, drove the increase, $2.1 billion or 5.0 percent to $44.9 billion.

Unfilled Orders
Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in September, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased $2.7 billion or 0.2 percent to $1,135.0 billion, unchanged from the previously published increase. This followed a virtually unchanged August decrease. Transportation equipment, also up following two consecutive monthly decreases, led the increase, $1.4 billion or 0.2 percent to $771.9 billion.

Inventories
Inventories of manufactured durable goods in September, up fourteen of the last fifteen months, increased $2.6 billion or 0.6 percent to $403.9 billion, unchanged from the previously published increase. This followed a 0.5 percent August increase. Transportation equipment, up three consecutive months, led the increase, $1.0 billion or 0.7 percent to $131.0 billion. Inventories of manufactured nondurable goods, up four consecutive months, increased $1.8 billion or 0.7 percent to $256.8 billion. This followed a 0.7 percent August increase. Petroleum and coal products, up three consecutive months, led the increase, $1.8 billion or 5.0 percent to $38.6 billion. By stage of fabrication, September materials and supplies increased 0.8 percent in durable goods and increased 1.9 percent in nondurable goods. Work in process increased 0.8 percent in durable goods and increased 1.0 percent in nondurable goods. Finished goods increased 0.2 percent in durable goods and decreased 0.4 percent in nondurable goods.


October Employment decreased by 261,000
Unemployment Rate dipped to 4.1%

Posted: November 3, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Friday)

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 261,000 in October, and the unemployment rate edged down to 4.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment in food services and drinking places increased sharply, mostly offsetting a decline in September that largely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. In October, job gains also occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.

Household Survey Data
The unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 4.1 percent in October, and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 281,000 to 6.5 million. Since January, the unemployment rate has declined by 0.7 percentage point, and the number of unemployed persons has decreased by 1.1 million.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.6 percent) and Whites (3.5 percent) declined in October. The jobless rates for adult men (3.8 percent), teenagers (13.7 percent), Blacks (7.5 percent), Asians (3.1 percent), and Hispanics (4.8 percent) showed little change.

In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.6 million and accounted for 24.8 percent of the unemployed.

The labor force participation rate decreased by 0.4 percentage point to 62.7 percent in October but has shown little movement on net over the past 12 months. The employment-population ratio declined by 0.2 percentage point over the month to 60.2 percent, after increasing by 0.3 percentage point in September. The employment-population ratio is up by 0.5 percentage point over the year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) declined by 369,000 to 4.8 million in October. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs. Over the past 12 months, the number of involuntary part-time workers has decreased by 1.1 million.

In October, 1.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 524,000 discouraged workers in October, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.0 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in October had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 261,000 in October, after changing little in September (+18,000). Employment in food services and drinking places increased sharply over the month, mostly offsetting a decline in September that largely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. In October, employment also increased in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.

Employment in food services and drinking places rose sharply in October (+89,000), following a decrease of 98,000 in September when many workers were off payrolls due to the hurricanes.

Professional and business services added 50,000 jobs in October, about in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months.

Manufacturing employment rose by 24,000 in October, with job gains in computer and electronic products (+5,000) and chemicals (+4,000). Employment in fabricated metals continued to trend up (+4,000). Manufacturing has added 156,000 jobs since a recent employment low in November 2016.

Health care added 22,000 jobs in October. Employment in ambulatory health care services continued to trend up over the month (+16,000). Health care has added an average of 24,000 jobs per month thus far in 2017, compared with an average gain of 32,000 per month in 2016.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, changed little in October.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in October. In manufacturing, the workweek increased by 0.2 hour to 41.0 hours, and overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $26.53, were little changed in October (-1 cent), after rising by 12 cents in September. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 63 cents, or 2.4 percent. In October, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees, at $22.22, were little changed (-1 cent).

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised up from +169,000 to +208,000, and the change for September was revised up from -33,000 to +18,000. With these revisions, employment was 90,000 higher than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 162,000 over the last 3 months.


Goods and Services Deficit Increased in September 2017
Posted: November 3, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Friday)

The nation's international trade deficit in goods and services increased to $43.5 billion in September from $42.8 billion in August (revised), as imports increased more than exports.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced today that the goods and services deficit was $43.5 billion in September, up $0.7 billion from $42.8 billion in August, revised. September exports were $196.8 billion, $2.1 billion more than August exports. September imports were $240.3 billion, $2.8 billion more than August imports.

The September increase in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $0.6 billion to $65.4 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of $0.2 billion to $21.9 billion.

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $34.5 billion, or 9.3 percent, from the same period in 2016. Exports increased $93.0 billion or 5.6 percent. Imports increased $127.5 billion or 6.3 percent.


3Q2017 Productivity Growth increased 3.0%
Posted: November 2, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 3.0 percent during the third quarter of 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, as output increased 3.8 percent and hours worked increased 0.8 percent. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) From the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017, productivity increased 1.5 percent, reflecting a 2.9-percent increase in output and a 1.4-percent increase in hours worked.

Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased 0.5 percent in the third quarter of 2017, reflecting a 3.5-percent increase in hourly compensation and a 3.0-percent increase in productivity. Unit labor costs decreased 0.1 percent over the last four quarters.

Manufacturing sector labor productivity fell 5.0 percent in the third quarter of 2017, as output decreased 2.1 percent and hours worked increased 3.1 percent. The decrease in manufacturing output per hour is the largest since the first quarter of 2009, when the measure fell 16.3 percent. Productivity decreased 5.7 percent in the durable goods manufacturing sector and 4.6 percent in the nondurable goods sector in the third quarter of 2017. Over the last four quarters, total manufacturing sector productivity increased 0.1 percent, as output increased 1.2 percent and hours worked increased 1.1 percent. (See tables A1, 3, 4 and 5.) Unit labor costs in manufacturing increased 6.2 percent in the third quarter of 2017 and rose 0.7 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

Revised measures
In the second quarter of 2017, nonfarm business sector productivity increased 1.5 percent, the same as reported on September 7; both output and hours were revised down 0.1 percentage point. Unit labor costs rose 0.3 percent during the second quarter. In the manufacturing sector, productivity was revised up 0.5 percentage point to an increase of 3.4 percent, due to an upward revision to output. Unit labor costs decreased 1.0 percent rather than declining 0.4 percent as previously reported.

Second-quarter 2017 measures of productivity and costs were revised for the nonfinancial corporate sector. Productivity increased 4.4 percent rather than 4.6 percent as previously reported. Unit labor costs decreased 2.3 percent rather than the preliminary estimate of a 2.6-percent decline.


Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Decrease 5,000 to 229,000
Posted: November 2, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

In the week ending October 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 229,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 233,000 to 234,000. The 4-week moving average was 232,500, a decrease of 7,250 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since April 7, 1973 when it was 232,250. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 239,500 to 239,750.

Claims taking procedures continue to be severely disrupted in the Virgin Islands. The ability to take claims has improved in Puerto Rico and they are now processing backlogged claims.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.3 percent for the week ending October 21, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's revised rate. The previous week's rate was revised up by 0.1 from 1.3 to 1.4 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 21 was 1,884,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 29, 1973 when it was 1,805,000. The previous week's level was revised up 6,000 from 1,893,000 to 1,899,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,895,750, a decrease of 9,250 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since January 12, 1974 when it was 1,881,000. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,500 from 1,903,500 to 1,905,000.


New York Purchasing Managers Business Activity rose to 51.6 in October
Posted: November 2, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

New York City purchasing managers reported modest improvements to a number of indices, while indicating reduced purchasing quantity and current revenues, according to the survey taken by the Institute for Supply Management-New York.

New York Metro
Current Business Conditions came in at 51.6 in October, up from 49.7 in September. In addition to limiting the consecutive time below breakeven to one month, October also marks the first time business conditions have increased since July. The Six-Month Outlook increased to 62.6 in October. The outlook has alternated between the low 60's and high 50's for five months in a row. The six-month outlook has been a reliable short-run guide for current business conditions over time.

Company Specific
Employment, a seasonally adjusted index, was 54.8 in October, moving into growth territory for the third time in 2017. Quantity of Purchases fell to a 14 month low in October, down to 45.0 from 48.1 in September. News for the top line and forward guidance were mixed in October. Current Revenues came in at 45.5 in October, down from the breakeven point of 50.0 in September. Expected Revenues increased from September's 20-month low of 52.0 to 63.6 in October. With two exceptions, 52.0 in September and 80.0 in March, expected revenues have been between 60 and 70 for the last 13 months. Prices Paid fell just short of reaching the highest point of 2017 (60.3 in June), coming in at 60.0 in October.


Challenger Layoffs decreased to 29,831 in October
Posted: November 2, 2017 at 07:30 AM (Thursday)

U.S.-based employers announced 29,831 job cuts in October, down 3 percent from the same month last year, when 30,740 job cuts were announced. Employers have announced 25 percent fewer job cuts than they did in the same period last year, according to a report released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

So far this year, 351,309 job cuts have been announced, 24.6 percent fewer than the 466,352 cuts announced through October 2016. This is the lowest ten-month total since 1997, when 328,816 cuts were announced through October.

“Companies are currently holding on to their workforces, but this may be the calm before the storm,” said John Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“Another downturn could be on the horizon for early to mid-2018 and with it, the large-scale layoff announcements that typically follow. Adding to this is the possibility that global factors, including Brexit, could usher in a recession,” Challenger added.

October’s job cut announcements were led by the Health Care sector, which announced 6,373 cuts last month, an increase of 219 percent from September, when 1,997 positions were cut. Through October, the Health Care sector cut 31,134 jobs, a 98.7 percent increase from the 15,661 cuts announced in the same period last year.

The Services sector announced the second highest number of cuts in October, with 3,938, bringing the year-to-date total for the industry to 28,916. This year’s total for Services companies is 201 percent higher than the 9,584 cuts recorded through October 2016.

Pharmaceutical companies announced 3,076 cuts in October, bringing the year-to-date total to 12,821, a 55.6 percent increase from the same period last year, when 8,237 cuts were announced.
Retail has consistently remained the leader in job cuts, with a total of 72,600 cuts announced through October, a 36.7 percent increase from the 53,119 cuts announced through the same month last year.

Meanwhile, holiday hiring announcements were lower through October this year than through the same period last year. So far this year, companies have announced 548,950 seasonal hires, according to Challenger tracking. That is 9.2 percent lower than the 604,800 seasonal hires announced through October last year.

“While announced seasonal hiring is lower than in previous years, with consumer confidence at a record high last month, we may see an uptick in seasonal hiring in Transportation, Logistics, and Retail, with those jobs potentially becoming permanent,” said Challenger.


FOMC target funds rate remain at 1.00% - 1.25%, balance sheet reduction program started
Posted: November 1, 2017 at 02:00 PM (Wednesday)

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising at a solid rate despite hurricane-related disruptions. Although the hurricanes caused a drop in payroll employment in September, the unemployment rate declined further. Household spending has been expanding at a moderate rate, and growth in business fixed investment has picked up in recent quarters. Gasoline prices rose in the aftermath of the hurricanes, boosting overall inflation in September; however, inflation for items other than food and energy remained soft. On a 12-month basis, both inflation measures have declined this year and are running below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. Hurricane-related disruptions and rebuilding will continue to affect economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, but past experience suggests that the storms are unlikely to materially alter the course of the national economy over the medium term. Consequently, the Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, and labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further. Inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to remain somewhat below 2 percent in the near term but to stabilize around the Committee's 2 percent objective over the medium term. Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced, but the Committee is monitoring inflation developments closely.

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1 to 1-1/4 percent. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.

In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments. The Committee will carefully monitor actual and expected inflation developments relative to its symmetric inflation goal. The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. However, the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.

The balance sheet normalization program initiated in October 2017 is proceeding.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Lael Brainard; Charles L. Evans; Patrick Harker; Robert S. Kaplan; Neel Kashkari; Jerome H. Powell; and Randal K. Quarles.


Construction Spending increased 0.3% in September
Posted: November 1, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Wednesday)

Construction spending during September 2017 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,219.5 billion, 0.3 percent (±1.3 percent)* above the revised August estimate of $1,216.0 billion. The September figure is 2.0 percent (±1.6 percent) above the September 2016 estimate of $1,195.6 billion. During the first 9 months of this year, construction spending amounted to $917.0 billion, 4.3 percent (±1.2 percent) above the $879.6 billion for the same period in 2016.

Private Construction
Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $942.7 billion, 0.4 percent (±1.0 percent)* below the revised August estimate of $946.2 billion. Residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $515.4 billion in September, nearly the same as (±1.3 percent)* the revised August estimate of $515.6 billion. Nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $427.3 billion in September, 0.8 percent (± 1.0 percent)* below the revised August estimate of $430.6 billion.

Public Construction
In September, the estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending was $276.8 billion, 2.6 percent (±2.3 percent) above the revised August estimate of $269.8 billion. Educational construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $71.9 billion, 5.2 percent (±2.8 percent) above the revised August estimate of $68.3 billion. Highway construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $84.3 billion, 1.1 percent (±5.6 percent)* above the revised August estimate of $83.4 billion.


October Manufacturing ISM expanded slower to 58.7
Posted: November 1, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Wednesday)

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in October, and the overall economy grew for the 101st consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The October PMI® registered 58.7 percent, a decrease of 2.1 percentage points from the September reading of 60.8 percent. The New Orders Index registered 63.4 percent, a decrease of 1.2 percentage points from the September reading of 64.6 percent. The Production Index registered 61 percent, a 1.2 percentage point decrease compared to the September reading of 62.2 percent. The Employment Index registered 59.8 percent, a decrease of 0.5 percentage point from the September reading of 60.3 percent. The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 61.4 percent, a 3 percentage point decrease from the September reading of 64.4 percent. The Inventories Index registered 48 percent, a decrease of 4.5 percentage points from the September reading of 52.5 percent. The Prices Index registered 68.5 percent in October, a 3 percentage point decrease from the September level of 71.5, indicating higher raw materials prices for the 20th consecutive month. Comments from the panel reflect expanding business conditions, with new orders, production, employment, order backlogs and export orders all continuing to grow in October, supplier deliveries continuing to slow (improving) and inventories contracting during the period. Prices continue to remain under pressure. The Customers’ Inventories Index remains at low levels.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 16 reported growth in October, in the following order: Paper Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; Wood Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Petroleum & Coal Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Textile Mills; Chemical Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Furniture & Related Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Primary Metals. Two industries reported the same level of activity as September.


Help Wanted OnLine Labor Demand increased 81,500 to 4,563,800 in October
Posted: November 1, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Wednesday)

Online advertised vacancies increased 81,500 to 4,563,800 in October, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The September Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.52 unemployed for each advertised vacancy, with a total of 2.3 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was approximately 6.8 million in September.

The Professional occupational category saw gains in Management (8.5) and Business and Financial (6.7). The Services/Production occupational category saw gains in Transportation (32.1), Office and Administrative Support (15.7), and Food Preparation and Serving (11.0).


ADP National Employment Report increased by 235,000 jobs in October
Posted: November 1, 2017 at 08:15 AM (Wednesday)

Private sector employment increased by 235,000 jobs from September to October according to the October ADP National Employment Report®.

“The job market remains healthy and hiring bounced back with one of the best performances we’ve seen all year,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Although the service providing sector was hard hit last month due to the weather, we saw significant growth in professional services, especially in the higher paid professional technical jobs. Additionally, small businesses rebounded well from the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, posting very strong gains.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “The job market rebounded strongly from the hit it took from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Resurgence in construction jobs shows the rebuilding is already in full swing. Looking through the hurricane-created volatility, job growth is robust.”


 ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 235,000 Jobs in October


Purchase Apps down, Refi's down in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Posted: November 1, 2017 at 07:00 AM (Wednesday)

Mortgage applications decreased 2.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 27, 2017.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 10 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 48.7 percent of total applications from 49.5 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.8 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.4 percent from 9.8 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 9.9 percent from 10.1 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.8 percent from 0.7 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) increased to its highest level since July 2017, 4.22 percent, from 4.18 percent, with points increasing to 0.43 from 0.42 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100) increased to its highest level since July 2017, 4.16 percent, from 4.11 percent, with points increasing to 0.27 from 0.24 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to its highest level since July 2017, 4.07 percent, from 4.04 percent, with points increasing to 0.46 from 0.41 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to its highest level since March 2017, 3.52 percent, from 3.48 percent, with points increasing to 0.44 from 0.40 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.33 percent from 3.29 percent, with points decreasing to 0.50 from 0.54 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.


Consumer Confidence increased again in September to 125.9
Posted: October 31, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Tuesday)

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had improved marginally in September (an upward revision), increased again in October. The Index now stands at 125.9 (1985=100), up from 120.6 in September. The Present Situation Index increased from 146.9 to 151.1, while the Expectations Index rose from 103.0 last month to 109.1.

“Consumer confidence increased to its highest level in almost 17 years (Dec. 2000, 128.6) in October after remaining relatively flat in September,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved, boosted by the job market which had not received such favorable ratings since the summer of 2001. Consumers were also considerably more upbeat about the short-term outlook, with the prospect of improving business conditions as the primary driver. Confidence remains high among consumers, and their expectations suggest the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace for the remainder of the year.”

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved in October. The percentage saying business conditions are “good” increased from 33.4 percent to 34.5 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” rose marginally from 13.2 percent to 13.5 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the job market was more upbeat. The percentage of consumers stating jobs are “plentiful” increased from 32.7 percent to 36.3 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly from 18.0 percent to 17.5 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook also rose in October. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 20.9 percent to 22.2 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased from 9.6 percent to 6.9 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the job market, however, was somewhat less favorable than in September. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased marginally from 19.2 percent to 18.9 percent, however, those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 13.0 percent to 11.8 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement decreased marginally from 20.5 percent to 20.3 percent, however, the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 8.6 percent to 7.4 percent.


Chicago Purchasing Managers Index rose to 66.2 in October
Posted: October 31, 2017 at 09:45 AM (Tuesday)

The MNI Chicago Business Barometer rose to 66.2 in October, up from 65.2 in September, hitting the highest level since March 2011.

After a bullish September showing, firms’ optimism regarding the business landscape found further room to grow as they entered the final quarter of the year. Of the five Barometer sub-components, only Employment and Supplier Deliveries slipped from their respective September levels.

Steering the month’s result, both demand and output climbed for the third straight month to robust levels. New Orders rose to its highest level since June and the second highest since May 2014 while Production hit its highest level since August 2014. Together, both indicators account for 60% of the Barometer.

Order Backlogs have trended upwards since the start of Q2 and this extended into October. The indicator reached a level not seen in over 43 years, having had set a 29-year high last month. The carryover of backlogs into October, though partially brought on by the disruption caused by the recent storms, when viewed in the context of growing orders paints a picture of healthy demand.

The storms across the country were also culpable for both longer supplier delivery times and firms stockpiling goods last month but in October both Supplier Deliveries and Inventories softened. There was, however, anecdotal evidence from panelists that the lead times for metals had lengthened.

For the fourth time this year, the Employment Indicator slipped below 50 into contraction territory. Firms have repeatedly reported a shortage of skilled and trained workers and have resorted to having existing staff working overtime or to hiring temporary workers. In what was a new development, there was evidence of firms losing their skilled workers for higher wages elsewhere in October, further reinforcing the shortage of this profile of employees.

This month’s special question asked businesses whether they saw their organization as growing, stable or declining in the final quarter of the year. An equal proportion of businesses (44%) expected their business to expand or remain stable in the final quarter of 2017 while the remaining 12% of businesses saw their operations contracting. Q4 is typically a busy month for businesses and this result runs consistent with the survey’s narrative of robust business confidence.

Inflationary pressures at the factory gate softened in October losing almost half of last month’s sizeable gain. This reflected a partial stabilization in material prices and an abating of input shortages, both initially induced by the storms. That said, plastic and metal prices were said to have remained high.

“Firms kicked off Q4 in buoyant mood with only 12% expecting activity to decline between now and the close of the year. Despite the MNI Chicago Business Barometer hitting a six and a half year high, and output and demand in seemingly rude health, concerns remain over firms’ inability to attract and retain skilled workers.” said Jamie Satchi, Economist at MNI Indicators.


S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices gained 0.5% in August
Posted: October 31, 2017 at 09:00 AM (Tuesday)

S&P Dow Jones Indices today released the latest results for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for August 2017 shows that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months.

YEAR-OVER-YEAR
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 6.1% annual gain in August, up from 5.9% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 5.3%, up from 5.2% the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 5.9% year-over-year gain, up from 5.8% the previous month.

Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Diego reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities. In August, Seattle led the way with a 13.2% year-over-year price increase, followed by Las Vegas with an 8.6% increase, and San Diego with a 7.8% increase. Nine cities reported greater price increases in the year ending August 2017 versus the year ending July 2017.

MONTH-OVER-MONTH
Before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 0.5% in August. The 10-City and 20-City Composites reported increases of 0.5% and 0.4% respectively. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.5% month-over-month increase in August. The 10-City Composite and 20-City Composite both posted 0.5% month-over-month increases. Nineteen of 20 cities reported increases in August both before and after seasonal adjustment.

ANALYSIS
“Home price increases appear to be unstoppable,” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “August saw the National Index annual rate tick up to 6.1%; all 20 cities followed in the report were up year-over-year while one, Atlanta, saw the seasonally adjusted monthly number slip 0.2%. Most prices across the rest of the economy are barely moving compared to housing. Over the last year the consumer price index rose 2.2%, driven largely by energy costs. Aside from oil, the only other major item with price gains close to housing was hospital services, which were up 4.6%. Wages climbed 3.6% in the year to August.

“The ongoing rise in home prices poses questions of why prices are climbing and whether they will continue to outpace most of the economy. Currently, low mortgage rates combined with an improving economy are supporting home prices. Low interest rates raise the value of both real and financial long-lived assets. The price gains are not simply a rebound from the financial crisis; nationally and in nine of the 20 cities in the report, home prices have reached new all-time highs. However, home prices will not rise forever. Measures of affordability are beginning to slide, indicating that the pool of buyers is shrinking. The Federal Reserve is pushing short term interest rates upward and mortgage rates are likely to follow over time, removing a key factor supporting rising home prices.”

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 6.1% annual gain in August 2017. The 10-City and 20-City Composites reported year-over-year increases of 5.3% and 5.9% respectively. As of August 2017, average home prices for the MSAs within the 10-City and 20-City Composites are back to their winter 2007 levels.


Employment Cost Index up 0.7% in 3Q2017
Posted: October 31, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Tuesday)

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.7 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending in September 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 percent of compensation costs) increased 0.7 percent, and benefits (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) increased 0.8 percent.

Civilian Workers
Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.5 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017. In September 2016, compensation costs increased 2.3 percent. Wages and salaries increased 2.5 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017 and increased 2.4 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2016. Benefit costs increased 2.4 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017. In September 2016, the increase was 2.3 percent.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma had minimal impact on data collection in the September 2017 reference period. For further information on how recent hurricanes impacted survey response, see www.bls.gov/bls/hurricanes-harvey-irma-maria.htm.

Private Industry Workers
Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2.5 percent over the year. In September 2016, the increase was 2.3 percent. Wages and salaries increased 2.6 percent for the current 12-month period. In September 2016, the increase was 2.4 percent. The cost of benefits rose 2.4 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017, higher than the 1.8 percent increase in September 2016.

Employer costs for health benefits increased 1.1 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017. (For further information, see www.bls.gov/web/eci/echealth.pdf.)

Among occupational groups, compensation cost increases for private industry workers for the 12-month period ending in September 2017 ranged from 2.3 percent for management, professional, and related occupations to 3.2 percent for production, transportation, and material moving occupations.

Among industry supersectors, compensation cost increases for private industry workers for the 12-month period ending in September 2017 ranged from 1.9 percent for education and health services to 3.4 percent for leisure and hospitality.

State and Local Government
Compensation costs for state and local government workers increased 2.4 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017. In September 2016, the increase was 2.6 percent. Wages and salaries increased 2.0 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017, the same as the September 2016 increase. Benefit costs increased 3.0 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017, less than the prior year’s increase of 3.7 percent.


Paychex-IHS Small Business Jobs Index slowing to 99.89 in October
Posted: October 31, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Tuesday)

The Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch shows a slight slowdown in small business job growth, with wage growth also showing a small decline over the past month. The Small Business Jobs Index stands at 99.89, moderating 0.04 percent from the previous month. After reaching a milestone three percent growth rate in August, hourly earnings growth has slowed slightly in the past two months. Hourly earnings in October were $26.07, a gain of 2.91 percent ($0.74) year-over year.

“With a national index level of 99.89, small business job growth continues to moderate, slowing for the eighth consecutive month,” said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit.

“While generally stable, the national jobs index dropped slightly in October, undoubtedly impacted to some degree by those communities recently disrupted by natural disasters,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “In line with last month’s results, we continued to see a slowdown in hours worked in those places recovering from hurricanes in August and September, specifically Houston, Miami, and Tampa.”

At 99.89 in October and moving just 0.09 percent since July, the past three months represent the most stable quarter in the history of the Small Business Jobs Index

Hourly earnings in October were $26.07, up 2.91 ($0.74) percent year-over-year and slowing slightly from recent months

Hours worked in Houston, Miami, and Tampa continue to be negatively impacted by the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma


Texas Fed Manufacturing Activity Gains Momentum in October
Posted: October 30, 2017 at 10:30 AM (Monday)

Texas factory activity expanded at a faster pace in October, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose six points to 25.6 and reached its highest reading since April 2014.

Other measures of current manufacturing activity also indicated a pickup in growth. The new orders index climbed six points to a 10-year high of 24.8, and the growth rate of orders index moved up to 12.3. The capacity utilization index also pushed to its highest level in a decade at 22.5. Meanwhile, the shipments index moved down several points but remained positive and at a well-above-average level of 20.9.

Perceptions of broader business conditions improved in October. The general business activity index increased to 27.6, its highest reading since 2006. The company outlook index posted its 14th consecutive positive reading, holding steady at an elevated 25.8.

Labor market measures suggested solid employment growth and longer workweeks this month. The employment index came in at 16.7, unchanged from September and still well above average. Less than 5 percent of firms noted net layoffs—something that has only been seen five other times since the start of the survey more than 13 years ago. The hours worked index moved down but remained positive at 13.7, indicating a continuing lengthening of workweeks.

Upward pressure on prices and wages continued in October. The raw materials prices and finished goods prices indexes edged down but remained elevated at 32.3 and 15.3, respectively. The wages and benefits index also moved down but remained relatively high, at 22.5.

Expectations regarding future business conditions remained highly optimistic. The index of future general business activity moved up four points to 38.5, while the index of future company outlook remained unchanged at 39.0. Other indexes of future manufacturing activity showed mixed movements but remained solidly in positive territory.


Personal Income increased 0.4%, Spending increased 1.0%
Posted: October 30, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Monday)

Personal income increased $66.9 billion (0.4 percent) in September according to estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Disposable personal income (DPI) increased $53.0 billion (0.4 percent) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $136.0 billion (1.0 percent).

Real DPI decreased less than 0.1 percent in September and Real PCE increased 0.6 percent. The PCE price index increased 0.4 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.1 percent.

The increase in personal income in September primarily reflected increases in wages and salaries and nonfarm proprietors’ income.

The $76.0 billion increase in real PCE in September reflected an increase of $59.1 billion in spending for goods and a $21.6 billion increase in spending for services (table 7). Within goods, new motor vehicles was the leading contributor to the increase. Within services, the largest contributor to the increase was spending for household utilities.

Personal outlays increased $132.5 billion in September (table 3). Personal saving was $441.9 billion in September and the personal saving rate, personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income, was 3.1 percent.

Updates:
Estimates have been updated for July and August. The change from the preceding month for current-dollar personal income and for current-dollar and chained (2009) dollar DPI and PCE -- revised and previously published -- are shown below for July and August.

The August and September estimates of personal income and outlays reflect the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. BEA cannot separately quantify the total impact of the storms on personal income and outlays because most of the source data used to estimate the components of personal income and outlays do not separately identify storm impacts. BEA made adjustments to estimates where source data were not yet available or did not fully reflect the effects of the storms.


University of Michigan Consumer Confidence surged in October to 100.7
Posted: October 27, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Friday)

Consumer sentiment surged in October, reaching its highest level since the start of 2004, according to the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

This was only the second time that the Sentiment Index was above 100.0 since the end of the record 1990s expansion. The October gain was due to the most favorable assessments of the financial situation of consumers since 2000, said U-M economist Richard Curtin, director of the surveys.

In addition, the majority of consumers reported that the national economy continued to expand, which they have done in every survey conducted in 2017. To be sure, consumers don't anticipate accelerating growth rates but rather anticipate the uninterrupted continuation of the slower pace of growth that has characterized this recovery, Curtin said.

"The finances of consumers have benefited from low unemployment and inflation rates as well as renewed increases in home values and a resurgent stock market," Curtin said. "These favorable trends have made lower wage growth rates more acceptable.

"Importantly, the Great Recession has caused a fundamental change in assessments of economic risks, with consumers now giving greater preference to economic stability relative to economic growth. This is the essential reason that consumers have voiced such positive assessments of such modest prospects for the future pace of economic growth. Overall, consumer spending is expected to increase by 2.6 percent in 2017 and in the first half of 2018."

Favorable Personal Finances
Recently improved finances were reported by 53 percent of all consumers in October, the highest proportion since the start of 2000. When asked to explain how their finances had improved, gains in incomes and wealth were mentioned by the majority of all households.

Two-thirds of all homeowners reported increases in their home's value, and the probability of future stock gains was judged the highest in more than a decade. When asked about their financial prospects for the year ahead, consumers were still quite optimistic. An annual income gain of 2.1 percent was expected in October, up from 1.7 percent last month and 1.5 percent in last October's survey.

Prospect for Economy Brighten
The majority of consumers reported ongoing gains in the national economy in each survey conducted in 2017. Although accelerating gains in economic growth are not anticipated, it still meant that 55 percent of all consumers expected good times in the economy as a whole during the year ahead, and more importantly, 51 percent of all consumers anticipated the expansion would continue uninterrupted over the next five years, Curtin said.

This optimistic outlook was accompanied by nearly seven-in-10 consumers who anticipated small increases in interest rates during the year ahead. The unemployment rate was also anticipated to continue to inch downward during the year ahead.

Consumer Sentiment Index
The Consumer Sentiment Index was 100.7 in the October 2017 survey, up from 95.1 in September and 87.2 last October. The Current Conditions Index was 116.5 in October, above last month's 111.7 and last year's 103.2, and the highest level in seventeen years. The Expectations Index rose to 90.5 in October, above last month's 84.4 and last October's 76.8.

Consumer sentiment slipped ever so slightly in late October, despite remaining at its highest monthly level since the start of 2004. This is only the second time the Sentiment Index has been above 100.0 since the end of the record 1990's expansion, and its average during the first ten months of 2017 (96.7) has been the highest since 2000 (108.5). The October gain was reflected in more favorable consumers' assessments of current economic conditions (+4.8) as well as expected economic prospects (+6.1). Personal finances were judged near all-time record favorable levels due to gains in household incomes as well as decade highs in home and stock values. Lingering doubts about the near term strength of the national economy were dispelled as more than half of all respondents expected good times during the year ahead and anticipated the expansion to continue uninterrupted over the next five years. To be sure, consumers do not anticipate accelerating growth rates but rather a continuation of the slower pace of growth that has characterized this recovery. Low unemployment and low inflation rates have made lower income growth rates more acceptable. Moreover, the Great Recession has caused a fundamental change in assessments of economic risks, with consumers now giving greater preference to economic stability relative to economic growth. This is the essential reason why consumers have voiced such positive economic assessments of such a modest pace of economic growth. Overall, the data indicate a 2.6% growth rate in real consumption in 2017 and in the first half of 2018.


3Q2017 GDP advance estimate increased 3.0%
Posted: October 27, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Friday)

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.0 percent in the third quarter of 2017, according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.

The Bureau emphasized that the third-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency. The "second" estimate for the third quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on November 29, 2017.

The increase in real GDP in the third quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, and federal government spending. These increases were partly offset by negative contributions from residential fixed investment and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

The deceleration in real GDP growth in the third quarter primarily reflected decelerations in PCE, in nonresidential fixed investment, and in exports that were partly offset by an acceleration in private inventory investment and a downturn in imports.

Current-dollar GDP increased 5.2 percent, or $245.5 billion, in the third quarter to a level of $19,495.5 billion. In the second quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 4.1 percent, or $192.3 billion.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.8 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 0.9 percent in the second quarter. The PCE price index increased 1.5 percent, compared with an increase of 0.3 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.3 percent, compared with an increase of 0.9 percent .

Personal Income
Current-dollar personal income increased $113.7 billion in the third quarter, compared with an increase of $119.1 billion in the second. The deceleration in personal income primarily reflected decelerations in personal dividend income, in rental income, and in wages and salaries that were offset by an acceleration in government social benefits, a smaller decrease in personal interest income, an acceleration in nonfarm proprietors’ income, and a smaller decrease in farm proprietors’ income.

Disposable personal income increased $73.6 billion, or 2.1 percent, in the third quarter, compared with an increase of $125.1 billion, or 3.6 percent, in the second. Real disposable personal income increased 0.6 percent, compared with an increase of 3.3 percent.

Personal saving was $494.8 billion in the third quarter, compared with $545.6 billion in the second. The personal saving rate -- personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income -- was 3.4 percent in the third quarter, compared with 3.8 percent in the second.


Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Activity posted strong growth in October
Posted: October 26, 2017 at 11:00 AM (Thursday)

Tenth District manufacturing activity posted strong growth, and expectations for future activity improved further. Raw materials price indexes increased modestly, while indexes for selling prices were mixed.

The month-over-month composite index was 23 in October, the highest since March 2011, up from 17 in September and 16 in August (Tables 1 & 2, Chart 1). The composite index is an average of the production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time, and raw materials inventory indexes. Factory activity increased strongly at both durable and non-durable goods plants, particularly for food, plastics, computer and electronic products. Month-over-month indexes were mostly higher. The new orders index increased moderately, and the order backlog index increased to its highest reading since March 2011. The employment and new orders for exports indexes increased slightly. However, the shipments index was unchanged, and the production index eased somewhat but remained high. The finished goods inventory index jumped back into positive territory, and the raw materials inventory index also increased moderately.

Most year-over-year factory indexes eased somewhat in October from high readings in September. The production index fell from 56 to 41, and the shipments and capital expenditures indexes were modestly lower. The order backlog and new orders indexes inched down, and the composite and new orders for exports indexes were mostly unchanged. The employment index stayed flat. The raw materials inventory index increased to 30, its highest reading since May 2007, and the finished goods inventory index rose from 2 to 15.

Future factory activity expectations improved for a second consecutive month. The future new orders and employee workweek indexes increased considerably, and the future order backlog, capital expenditures, employment, and production indexes rose moderately. The future composite index increased from 26 to 32, and shipments and new orders for exports improved modestly. In contrast, the supplier delivery time index fell to its lowest reading since January 2017. The future raw materials inventory index inched higher from 19 to 22, and the future finished goods inventory index increased moderately.
Most price indexes increased further in October. The month-over-month finished goods price index was unchanged, and the raw materials price index inched higher. The year-over-year finished goods price index eased from 38 to 33, and the year-over-year raw materials price index increased to its highest since May 2014. The future finished goods price index rose from 29 to 32, and the future raw materials price index edged up to 43.


Pending Home Sales Index unch% in September
Posted: October 26, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Thursday)

Pending home sales were unchanged in September, but activity declined on an annual basis both nationally and in all major regions, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, was at 106.0 in September (unchanged from a downwardly revised August figure). The index is now at its lowest reading since January 2015 (104.7), is 3.5 percent below a year ago, and has fallen on an annual basis in five of the past six months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the quest to buy a home this fall continues to be a challenging endeavor for many home shoppers. “Demand exceeds supply in most markets, which is keeping price growth high and essentially eliminating any savings buyers would realize from the decline in mortgage rates from earlier this year,” he said. “While most of the country, except for the South, did see minor gains in contract signings last month, activity is falling further behind last year's pace because new listings aren't keeping up with what's being sold.”

Added Yun, “Hurricane Irma's direct hit on Florida weighed on activity in the South, but similar to how Houston has rebounded after Hurricane Harvey, Florida's strong job and population growth should guide sales back to their pre-storm pace fairly quickly.” As has been the case most of the year, Yun says the ongoing supply constraints continue to squeeze prospective buyers the most at the lower end of the market. Last month, first-time buyers were 29 percent of all transactions, which matched the lowest share in exactly two years. Furthermore, existing sales were down notably on an annual basis in the price range below $250,000, but up solidly the higher up the price bracket.

“Buyers looking for a little relief from the stiff competition from over the summer may unfortunately be out of luck in the coming months,” said Yun. “Inventory starts to decline heading into the winter, and many would-be buyers from earlier in the year are still on the hunt to find a home.”

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 1.2 percent to 94.5 in September, but is still 2.4 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest the index climbed 1.4 percent to 102.9 in September, but remains 2.5 percent lower than September 2016.

Pending home sales in the South decreased 2.3 percent to an index of 115.9 in September and are now 5.0 percent below last September. The index in the West grew 1.9 percent in September to 102.7, but is 2.9 percent below a year ago.


Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Increase 10,000 to 233,000
Posted: October 26, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

In the week ending October 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 233,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 222,000 to 223,000. The 4-week moving average was 239,500, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 248,250 to 248,500.

Claims taking procedures continue to be severely disrupted in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as a result of power outages and infrastructure damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.3 percent for the week ending October 14, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 14 was 1,893,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 29, 1973 when it was 1,805,000. The previous week's level was revised up 8,000 from 1,888,000 to 1,896,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,903,500, a decrease of 4,500 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since January 12, 1974 when it was 1,881,000. The previous week's average was revised up by 2,000 from 1,906,000 to 1,908,000.


New Home Sales in September at annual rate of 667,000
Posted: October 25, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Wednesday)

New Home Sales
Sales of new single-family houses in September 2017 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 667,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 18.9 percent (±19.0 percent)* above the revised August rate of 561,000 and is 17.0 percent (±22.4 percent)* above the September 2016 estimate of 570,000.

Sales Price
The median sales price of new houses sold in September 2017 was $319,700. The average sales price was $385,200.

For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply
The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of September was 279,000. This represents a supply of 5.0 months at the current sales rate.


September New Orders for Durable Goods increased 2.2%, Ex-Trans up 0.7%
Posted: October 25, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Wednesday)

New Orders
New orders for manufactured durable goods in September increased $5.1 billion or 2.2 percent to $238.7 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This increase, up three of the last four months, followed a 2.0 percent August increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.7 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 2.0 percent. Transportation equipment, also up three of the last four months, led the increase, $4.0 billion or 5.1 percent to $81.2 billion.

Shipments
Shipments of manufactured durable goods in September, up four of the last five months, increased $2.4 billion or 1.0 percent to $240.5 billion. This followed a 0.7 percent August increase. Transportation equipment, up two of the last three months, led the increase, $1.1 billion or 1.4 percent to $79.7 billion.

Unfilled Orders
Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in September, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased $2.8 billion or 0.2 percent to $1,135.1 billion. This followed a virtually unchanged August decrease. Transportation equipment, also up following two consecutive monthly decreases, led the increase, $1.5 billion or 0.2 percent to $772.1 billion.

Inventories
Inventories of manufactured durable goods in September, up fourteen of the last fifteen months, increased $2.4 billion or 0.6 percent to $403.6 billion. This followed a 0.5 percent August increase. Transportation equipment, up three consecutive months, led the increase, $0.8 billion or 0.7 percent to $130.8 billion.

Capital Goods
Nondefense new orders for capital goods in September increased $4.3 billion or 6.1 percent to $74.9 billion. Shipments increased $1.7 billion or 2.4 percent to $73.5 billion. Unfilled orders increased $1.3 billion or 0.2 percent to $704.8 billion. Inventories increased $1.4 billion or 0.8 percent to $179.9 billion. Defense new orders for capital goods in September increased $0.5 billion or 4.1 percent to $11.5 billion. Shipments increased $0.2 billion or 1.7 percent to $10.6 billion. Unfilled orders increased $0.9 billion or 0.7 percent to $143.9 billion. Inventories decreased $0.1 billion or 0.3 percent to $23.4 billion.

Revised August Data
Revised seasonally adjusted August figures for all manufacturing industries were: new orders, $471.8 billion (revised from $471.7 billion); shipments, $476.3 billion (revised from $475.9 billion); unfilled orders, $1,132.3 billion (revised from $1,132.6 billion) and total inventories, $655.9 billion (revised from $655.6 billion).


Purchase Apps down, Refi's down in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Posted: October 25, 2017 at 07:00 AM (Wednesday)

Mortgage applications decreased 4.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 20, 2017. The previous week's results included an adjustment for the Columbus Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 4.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 6 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 3 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 6 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 4 percent compared with the previous week and was 10 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 49.5 percent of total applications from 48.6 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.4 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 9.8 percent from 10.4 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.1 percent from 10.5 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.7 percent from 0.8 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) increased to 4.18 percent from 4.14 percent, with points decreasing to 0.42 from 0.44 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100) decreased to 4.11 percent from 4.13 percent, with points decreasing to 0.24 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 4.04 percent from 4.00 percent, with points increasing to 0.41 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.48 percent from 3.45 percent, with points decreasing to 0.40 from 0.43 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 3.29 percent from 3.31 percent, with points increasing to 0.54 from 0.40 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.


Richmond Fed's Current Activity Index fell from 22 to 9
Posted: October 24, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Tuesday)

Reports on Fifth District manufacturing activity remained positive in October, according to the latest survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The composite index dropped, affected by a notable decline in the shipments index, which fell from 22 to 9, but it remained positive across all components, indicating continued growth. While most manufacturing indexes fell in October, the wage index increased from 17 to 24, which is the highest it has been since May of 2000.

Manufacturing firms remained optimistic about growth in the next six months. Most expectations indexes rose, with the exception of employment and average workweek, which both remained positive and were well above current values.

District manufacturing firms reported that prices grew in October, although at a slightly lower rate than during September. They expect price growth to accelerate in the coming six months.


Philadelphia NonManufacturing Activity Indicators expansion continued in October
Posted: October 24, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Tuesday)

Respondents to the Nonmanufacturing Business Outlook Survey reported continued growth in the region’s nonmanufacturing sector in October. The survey’s indicator for current activity changed little, and while indicators for new orders and sales/revenues fell, they remained positive. The survey’s indicator for full-time employment rose. More firms reported an uptick in prices paid for inputs and for prices received for their own goods and services this month compared with last month. Although the future activity index at the firm level fell, most of the respondents remained optimistic about growth over the next six months.

Current Activity Shows Growth
The index for current activity at the firm level edged down 1 point to 24.7 this month. Despite a second consecutive decline, this index’s reading continued to indicate an expansion in regional nonmanufacturing activity. Nearly 42 percent of the responding firms indicated increases in activity, while 17 percent reported decreases. The index for current general activity for the region also decreased 1 point to 32.2. Forty-three percent of the responding firms indicated increases in regional activity, while 11 percent reported decreases.

Growth in New Orders and Sales Slows
The new orders index decreased from 26.7 last month to 11.4 this month. While the percentage of firms that reported an increase in new orders (28 percent) continued to exceed the percentage that reported a decrease (17 percent), fewer firms reported increases this month compared with last month. The sales/revenues index fell 4 points to 25.5 in October.

Full-Time and Part-Time Employment Strengthens
The full-time employment index rose from 3.8 in September to 17.3 in October and now stands above its historical average of 14.2. This month, almost 28 percent of the firms reported an increase in full-time employment, and 10 percent reported a decrease. The part-time employment index rose 9 points to 14.7. Nearly 23 percent of the firms reported an increase in part-time employment this month. However, the average workweek index fell 13 points to 10.6. This month, the wage and benefit costs index rose 6 points to 40.1.

Firms Report Increases in Prices
Firms reported an increase in prices paid for inputs and for prices received for their own goods and services. The prices paid index rose 13 points to 28.3 in October (see Chart 2). More than 28 percent of the firms reported higher input prices, while almost none of the firms reported lower input prices. The prices received index increased 6 points to 14.3. Slightly more than 20 percent of the responding firms indicated increases in prices received, while 6 percent reported decreases. Both the prices paid and prices received indexes were above their historical averages of 20.1 and 11.7, respectively.

Capital Expenditures Strengthen
Both indexes for capital spending rose. The index for equipment and software spending rose 15 points to 35.4, which erased the prior month’s decline. The share of firms reporting an increase in equipment and software spending was 41 percent, while the share reporting a decrease was 6 percent. The index for plant spending rose 6 points to 25.8.

Firms Are Optimistic About Future Growth
The respondents were generally optimistic about future activity over the next six months. Although the diffusion index for future activity at the firm level fell 11 points to 38.0, the share of firms that expect increases in activity over the next six months (56 percent) continued to exceed the share that expect decreases (18 percent) by a wide margin. The diffusion index for future activity at the regional level increased 2 points to 43.4 in October. The share of firms that expect an increase in regional activity was 51 percent in October, while the share that expect a decrease was only 8 percent.

Summary
Respondents to this month’s Nonmanufacturing Business Outlook Survey reported that business activity continued to expand in the region’s nonmanufacturing sector. The index for current general activity at the firm level decreased for the second consecutive month but remained positive. Indicators for new orders and sales/revenues also fell, while the indicators for employment rose. Firms continued to express optimism for growth over the next six months.


Chicago Fed National Activity Points to a Pickup in Economic Growth in September
Posted: October 23, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Monday)

Led by improvements in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) moved up to +0.17 in September from –0.37 in August. All four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from August, and three of the four categories made positive contributions to the index in September. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, was unchanged at –0.16 in September.

The CFNAI Diffusion Index, which is also a three-month moving average, ticked up to –0.19 in September from –0.20 in August. Forty-six of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in September, while 39 made negative contributions. Fifty-four indicators improved from August to September, while 30 indicators deteriorated and one was unchanged. Of the indicators that improved, 17 made negative contributions.

The contribution from production-related indicators to the CFNAI increased to +0.10 in September from –0.33 in August. Total
industrial production increased 0.3 percent in September after moving down 0.7 percent in August. The sales, orders, and inventories category also made a positive contribution to the CFNAI in September, edging up to +0.07 from +0.06 in August.

Employment-related indicators contributed +0.06 to the CFNAI in September, up from +0.01 in August. Civilian employment increased by 906,000 in September after decreasing by 74,000 in August, and the civilian unemployment rate moved down to 4.2 percent in September from 4.4 percent in the previous month. However, nonfarm payrolls decreased by 33,000 in September after increasing by 169,000 in August.

The contribution of the personal consumption and housing category to the CFNAI increased to –0.07 in September from –0.11 in August. Consumption indicators improved, on balance, pushing up the category’s overall contribution. However, housing starts
decreased to 1,127,000 annualized units in September from 1,183,000 in August, and housing permits decreased to 1,215,000 annualized units in September from 1,272,000 in the previous month.

The CFNAI was constructed using data available as of October 19, 2017. At that time, September data for 51 of the 85 indicators had been published. For all missing data, estimates were used in constructing the index. The August monthly index value was revised to –0.37 from an initial estimate of –0.31, and the July monthly index value was revised to –0.27 from last month’s estimate of +0.03. Revisions to the monthly index can be attributed to two main factors: revisions in previously published data and differences between the estimates of previously unavailable data and subsequently published data. The revision to the August monthly index value was primarily due to the latter, while the revision to the July monthly index value was primarily due to the former.


Existing-Home Sales rose 0.7% in September
Posted: October 20, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Friday)

After three straight monthly declines, existing-home sales slightly reversed course in September, but ongoing supply shortages and recent hurricanes muted overall activity and caused sales to fall back on an annual basis, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in September from 5.35 million in August. Last month's sales pace is 1.5 percent below a year ago and is the second slowest over the past year (behind August).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says closings mustered a meager gain in September, but declined on an annual basis for the first time in over a year (July 2016; 2.2 percent). “Home sales in recent months remain at their lowest level of the year and are unable to break through, despite considerable buyer interest in most parts of the country,” he said. “Realtors® this fall continue to say the primary impediments stifling sales growth are the same as they have been all year: not enough listings – especially at the lower end of the market – and fast-rising prices that are straining the budgets of prospective buyers.”

Added Yun, “Sales activity likely would have been somewhat stronger if not for the fact that parts of Texas and South Florida – hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma – saw temporary, but notable declines.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $245,100, up 4.2 percent from September 2016 ($235,200). September's price increase marks the 67th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of September rose 1.6 percent to 1.90 million existing homes available for sale, but still remains 6.4 percent lower than a year ago (2.03 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 28 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.5 months a year ago.

“A continuation of last month's alleviating price growth, which was the slowest since last December (4.5 percent), would improve affordability conditions and be good news for the would-be buyers who have been held back by higher prices this year,” said Yun.

First-time buyers were 29 percent of sales in September, which is down from 31 percent in August, 34 percent a year ago and matches the lowest share since September 2015. NAR's 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2016 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage dipped to 3.81 percent in September from 3.88 percent in August and is the lowest since November 2016 (3.77 percent). The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

“Nearly two-thirds of renters currently believe now is a good time to buy a home, but weakening affordability and few choices in their price range have made it really difficult for more aspiring first-time buyers to reach the market,” said Yun.

President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says Congress should keep in mind the barriers affecting prospective first-time buyers as they move forward with tax reform in the coming months.

“There's no way around the fact that any proposal that marginalizes the mortgage interest deduction and eliminates state and local tax deductions essentially disincentives homeownership and is a potential tax hike on millions of middle-class homeowners,” said Brown. “Reforming the tax code is a worthy goal, but it should not lead to the middle class, who primarily build wealth through owning a home, footing the bill. Instead, Congress should be looking at ways to ensure more creditworthy prospective buyers are able to achieve homeownership and enjoy its personal and wealth-building benefits.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in September, which is up from 30 days in August but down from 39 days a year ago. Forty-eight percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory data from realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in September were San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 30 days; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 32 days; Salt Lake City, Utah, 35 days; and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., and Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., both at 36 days.

All-cash sales were 20 percent of transactions in September, unchanged from August and down from 21 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in September (unchanged from last month and a year ago).

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – were 4 percent of sales in September, unchanged from last month and a year ago. Three percent of September sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Single-family home sales climbed 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.79 million in September from 4.74 million in August, but are still 1.2 percent under the 4.85 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $246,800 in September, up 4.2 percent from September 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales decreased 1.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 600,000 units in September, and are now 3.2 percent below a year ago. The median existing condo price was $231,300 in September, which is 4.1 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown
September existing-home sales in the Northeast were at an annual rate of 720,000 (unchanged from August), and are now 1.4 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $274,100, which is 4.8 percent above September 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.30 million in September, but are 1.5 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $195,800, up 5.4 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South slipped 0.9 percent to an annual rate of 2.13 million in September, and are now 2.3 percent lower than a year ago. The median price in the South was $215,100, up 4.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 3.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.24 million in September (unchanged from a year ago). The median price in the West was $362,700, up 5.0 percent from September 2016.


U.S. Leading Economic Index declined 0.2% in October
Posted: October 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Thursday)

First Decline in a Year, Partly Due to Impact of Hurricanes. The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI)for the U.S. declined 0.2 percent in September to 128.6 (2010 = 100), following a 0.4 percent increase in August, and a 0.3 percent increase in July.

“The US LEI declined slightly in September for the first time in the last twelve months, partly a result of the temporary impact of the recent hurricanes,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “The source of weakness was concentrated in labor markets and residential construction, while the majority of the LEI components continued to contribute positively. Despite September’s decline, the trend in the US LEI remains consistent with continuing solid growth in the US economy for the second half of the year.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.1 percent in September to 115.7 (2010 = 100), following no change in August, and a 0.1 percent increase in July.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) for the U.S. declined 0.1 percent in September to 125.2 (2010 = 100), following a 0.4 percent increase in August and a 0.1 percent increase in July.


Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Decrease 22,000 to 222,000
Posted: October 19, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

In the week ending October 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 222,000, a decrease of 22,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 31, 1973 when it was 222,000. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 243,000 to 244,000. The 4-week moving average was 248,250, a decrease of 9,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 257,500 to 257,750.

Claims taking procedures continue to be severely disrupted in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as a result of power outages and infrastructure damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.3 percent for the week ending October 7, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's revised rate. The previous week's rate was revised up by 0.1 from 1.3 to 1.4 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 7 was 1,888,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 29, 1973 when it was 1,805,000. The previous week's level was revised up 15,000 from 1,889,000 to 1,904,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,906,000, a decrease of 22,750 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since January 12, 1974 when it was 1,881,000. The previous week's average was revised up by 3,750 from 1,925,000 to 1,928,750.


Philadelphia Fed Outlook Reported Activity growth continues in October
Posted: October 19, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

Manufacturing firms reported continued growth in regional manufacturing in October. The survey’s current indicators for general activity, new orders, shipments, and employment all remained positive this month. Both of the survey’s current labor market indicators showed notable improvement. The indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggest that firms remained optimistic about future growth.

Current Indicators Suggest Continued Growth
The index for current manufacturing activity in the region increased 4 points to a reading of 27.9 and is now at its highest reading since May (see Chart 1). More than 39 percent of the firms indicated increases in activity this month, while 11 percent reported decreases. Both the new orders and shipments indexes remained positive but fell this month, decreasing 10 points and 13 points, respectively. Both the unfilled orders and delivery times indexes were positive for the 12th consecutive month, suggesting longer delivery times and an increase in unfilled orders.

Firms reported, on balance, an increase in manufacturing employment and longer workweeks this month. Nearly 31 percent of the firms reported higher employment this month compared with 18 percent last month. No firms reported decreases in employment this month. The current employment index increased 24 points to a record high reading of 30.6. The average workweek index also increased 8 points, its highest reading in four months.

Firms Reported Higher Input Prices
Input price increases were in evidence this month. Slightly more than 40 percent of the firms reported increases in the prices paid for inputs this month, while only 2 percent reported price reductions. The prices paid index increased 4 points to its highest reading since March (see Chart 2). With respect to prices received for firms’ own manufactured goods, 15 percent of the firms reported higher prices, down from 25 percent in September. The prices received index decreased 9 points. Nearly 81 percent of the responding firms reported stable prices for their own products this month.

Six-Month Indexes Remain Positive but Moderated
Following three consecutive months of increase, the diffusion index for future general activity decreased from a high reading of 55.2 in September to 46.4 this month (see Chart 1). The percentage of firms expecting an increase in activity (53 percent) remains significantly higher than the percentage expecting a decrease (7 percent). The indexes for future new orders and shipments also fell this month, by 13 points and 11 points, respectively. However, firms boosted their forecast for future employment this month. Nearly 43 percent of the firms expect increases in employment over the next six months, up from 36 percent last month; only 4 percent expect decreases.

Firms Plan to Increase Capital Spending Next Year
For this month’s special questions, manufacturers were asked about current capacity utilization rates compared with the same time last year (see Special Questions). The average capacity utilization rate reported was nearly 77 percent, up 2 percentage points from what was estimated for one year earlier. For the U.S., the capacity utilization rate for the manufacturing sector, overall, is estimated to be almost 76 percent, nearly the same as one year ago. Firms were also asked about their plans for different categories of capital spending next year. For nearly all categories of investment spending, the share of firms expecting to increase spending was higher than the share of firms expecting to decrease spending. Only the energy-saving investment category had more firms expecting decreases. Slightly more than half of the firms indicated that they will increase investment in noncomputer equipment. Only 13 percent of the surveyed firms indicated that the planned capital spending plans assumed that there would be changes in the federal tax policy for 2018.

Summary
Responses to the October Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey suggest continued growth for the region’s manufacturing sector. The index for general activity increased, while the indexes for new orders and shipments moderated this month but remain at relatively high levels. The current employment index reached a record high this month. Firms also reported input price pressures this month, but the manufacturing firms’ own prices were less widespread. Firms’ overall forecast for the next six months remained generally positive.


Beige Book: Economic Activity indicates growth split between modest and moderate pace
Posted: October 18, 2017 at 02:00 PM (Wednesday)

Reports from all 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity increased in September through early October, with the pace of growth split between modest and moderate. The Richmond, Atlanta, and Dallas Districts reported major disruptions from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in some areas and sectors, including transportation, energy, and agriculture. Manufacturing activity and nonfinancial services expanded modestly to moderately in most Districts. Retail spending rose slowly, while vehicle sales and tourism increased in most Districts. Residential construction continued to increase, and growth in commercial construction was up slightly on balance. Low home inventory levels continued to constrain residential sales in many areas, while nonresidential real estate activity increased slightly overall. Loan demand was generally stable to modestly higher. Growth in the energy sector eased slightly. Agricultural conditions were mixed; while some regions were reporting better-than-expected harvests, low commodity prices continued to weigh down farm incomes.

Employment and Wages
Employment growth was modest on balance, with most Districts reporting flat to moderate increases. Labor markets were widely described as tight. Many Districts noted that employers were having difficulty finding qualified workers, particularly in construction, transportation, skilled manufacturing, and some health care and service positions. These shortages were also restraining business growth. Firms in several Districts reported that scarcity of labor, particularly related to construction, would be exacerbated by hurricane recovery efforts. Despite widespread labor tightness, the majority of Districts reported only modest to moderate wage pressures. However, some Districts reported stronger wage pressures in certain sectors, including transportation and construction. Growing use of sign-on bonuses, overtime, and other nonwage efforts to attract and retain workers were also reported.

Prices
Price pressures remained modest since the previous report. Several Districts noted increased manufacturing input costs, but in most cases these weren't passed through to selling prices. Retail prices generally increased slightly. Transportation, energy, and construction materials prices increased more rapidly, with some Districts citing effects from hurricanes.

Highlights by Federal Reserve District

Boston
Economic activity expanded at a modest to moderate pace since August, according to contacts. Respondents in manufacturing, retailing, and software and IT services said revenues continued to increase year over year. Commercial and residential real estate market conditions were mostly unchanged. Looking forward, business contacts remained upbeat about the outlook.

New York
The District's economy has continued to expand at a moderate pace since the last report, while labor markets have been tight. Input prices continued to rise moderately, while selling prices rose more modestly. Housing markets have strengthened somewhat, on balance, but commercial real estate markets have been flat.

Philadelphia
Overall, economic activity continued at a modest pace of growth. Most sectors, including manufacturing and nonfinancial services, continued to grow modestly. Non-auto retail sales showed slight improvement, and auto sales grew modestly after declining in the previous period. On balance, employment changed little, while wages and prices continued to grow modestly.

Cleveland
Business activity increased from that of the previous reporting period, but the overall pace of growth was moderate. After slowing during the summer months, hiring picked up across industries. Input price pressures outpaced selling price pressures. Retail store spending was flat; auto sales rose. Nonresidential construction remains healthy, but there are signs the industry may be slowing.

Richmond
The economy expanded moderately. Manufacturing and port activity picked up, retail sales rose, and tourism remained strong. Commercial real estate leasing and lending activity increased modestly. Labor markets strengthened and wage pressures broadened. Prices rose moderately, partially due to supply chain disruptions from the hurricanes.

Atlanta
Economic conditions improved modestly since the last report. Tightness in the labor market continued with few reports of wage pressures. Input cost pressures were subdued. Non-auto retailers cited steady sales growth. Tourism, energy, and agriculture were impacted by Hurricane Irma. Home sales and prices increased. New orders and production rose. Credit was available to most borrowers.

Chicago
Growth continued at a modest rate. Employment, business spending, and manufacturing increased modestly, while consumer spending increased slightly. Construction and real estate activity was little changed, as were financial sector conditions. Wages and prices rose modestly. Contacts expected the District's corn and soybean harvests to be close to trend.

St. Louis
Economic conditions have continued to improve at a modest pace since our previous report. The District continues to see relatively stronger growth in both manufacturing and banking sectors, although growth in both sectors has decelerated somewhat since the beginning of the year.

Minneapolis
Economic activity grew modestly. Despite employer demand, job growth suffered from a lack of available workers. Tourism saw growth, but consumer spending overall showed some signs of weakness. Home construction rose, while home sales fell due to tight inventories. Commercial construction continued to lag. Manufacturing and mining activity picked up.

Kansas City
Economic activity in the Tenth District continued to expand modestly, and expectations for future growth were positive in most sectors. Retail sales increased modestly, the manufacturing sector expanded moderately, and transportation and wholesale trade firms noted strong sales. However, growth in the energy sector eased, and the agricultural sector continued to soften.

Dallas
Economic activity grew moderately. The impact from Hurricane Harvey varied by location and industry, and most contacts do not expect significant long-term disruption. The manufacturing sector exhibited notable strength with stronger output, increased hiring, and a pickup in price inflation. Auto sales surged in response to the loss of storm-damaged vehicles, and labor market shortages persisted and may become more acute as hurricane recovery continues.

San Francisco
Economic activity continued to expand at a moderate pace. Overall price inflation was flat and remained low, while upward wage pressures strengthened somewhat and conditions in the labor market tightened further. Sales of retail goods picked up, and growth in the consumer and business services sectors remained strong. Conditions in the manufacturing sector improved. Activity in the residential real estate market was strong.


Tags - Research
ADP EMPLOYMENT
BEIGE BOOK
BUSINESS BAROMETER
BUSINESS INVENTORIES
CASE-SHILLER
CHALLENGER LAYOFFS
CHICAGO FED MIDWEST MFG
CHICAGO FED NATL ACTIVITY
CHICAGO PMI
CONSTRUCTION SPENDING
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE
CONSUMER CREDIT
CPI
CURRENT ACCOUNT
DURABLE GOODS
EMPLOYMENT COST INDEX
EMPLOYMENT TRENDS INDEX
EXISTING HOME SALES
FACTORY ORDERS
FOMC STMT
FOMC
GDP
HELP WANTED HWOL
HOUSING STARTS
ICSC CHAIN STORE
IMPORT PRICE INDEX
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION
INTERNATIONAL TRADE
ISM MFG
ISM NON-MFG
JOB OPENINGS
JOBLESS CLAIMS
KANSAS CITY FED MFG
LEADING INDEX
MASS LAYOFFS
MICH CONSUMER CONFIDENCE
MORTGAGE APPS
NAHB INDEX
NAPM-NY
NBER
NEW HOME SALES
NEW YORK FED MFG
NFIB OPTIMISM INDEX
NONFARM EMPLOYMENT
PAYCHEX-IHS SMALL JOBS
PENDING HOME SALES
PERSONAL INCOME
PHILA FED FORECASTERS
PHILA FED MFG
PHILA FED NON-MFG
PPI
PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH
REAL HOURLY EARNINGS
RETAIL SALES
RICHMOND FED MFG
TEXAS FED MFG
TREASURY INTL CAPITAL
WHOLESALE INVENTORIES
Archives
Nov 2017
Oct 2017
Sep 2017
Aug 2017
Jul 2017
Jun 2017
May 2017
Apr 2017
Mar 2017
Feb 2017
Jan 2017
Dec 2016
Nov 2016
Oct 2016
Sep 2016
Aug 2016
Jul 2016
Jun 2016
May 2016
Apr 2016
Mar 2016
Feb 2016
Jan 2016
Dec 2015
Nov 2015
Oct 2015
Sep 2015
Aug 2015
Jul 2015
Jun 2015
May 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Feb 2015
Jan 2015
Dec 2014
Nov 2014
Oct 2014
Sep 2014
Aug 2014
Jul 2014
Jun 2014
May 2014
Apr 2014
Mar 2014
Feb 2014
Jan 2014
Dec 2013
Nov 2013
Oct 2013
Sep 2013
Aug 2013
Jul 2013
Jun 2013
May 2013
Apr 2013
Mar 2013
Feb 2013
Jan 2013
Dec 2012
Nov 2012
Oct 2012
Sep 2012
Aug 2012
Jul 2012
Jun 2012
May 2012
Apr 2012
Mar 2012
Feb 2012
Jan 2012
Dec 2011
Nov 2011
Oct 2011
Sep 2011
Aug 2011
Jul 2011
Jun 2011
May 2011
Apr 2011
Mar 2011
Feb 2011
Jan 2011
Dec 2010
Nov 2010
Oct 2010
Sep 2010
Aug 2010
Jul 2010
Jun 2010
May 2010
Apr 2010
Mar 2010
Feb 2010
Jan 2010
Dec 2009
Nov 2009
Oct 2009
Sep 2009
Aug 2009
Jul 2009
Jun 2009
May 2009
Apr 2009
Mar 2009
Feb 2009
Jan 2009
Dec 2008
Nov 2008
Oct 2008
Sep 2008
Aug 2008




Buy Economic Books at

The OneWall.com Book Shop

Quick Links
Barron's Online
Bloomberg
CNBC
CNBC TV Live
CNet Investor
Financial Times (UK)
Forbes
Kudlow Podcast
MSNBC TV Live
NBC News
NY Times
The Economist
TheStreet.com
Wall St Journal
Dismal Scientist
Dr. Ed Yardeni
FRED Graph
Lawrence Kudlow
Stone McCarthy
GDPNow
NABE
ABC News
CNNfn
Institutional Investor
MarketWatch
Cash Prices - WSJ.com
Dr. Jeremy Siegel
Market Map
NY RBOB Gas
Shadow Fed - SOMC
BankStocks.com
Dow Jones Indices
Morningstar
SP Indices
Mt Washington Observatory
Weather.com
Yahoo!!




National Association for Business Economics
NABE

Founded in 1920, the National Bureau of Economic Research is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works.

CFA Institute

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was created to examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States.

The Moment of Truth: Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform