• Sales of merchant wholesalers for September were up 0.2% from the previous month, and were up 7.8% a year ago, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Inventories increased 0.4% in September, following a 0.9% increase in the previous month. The inventories/sales ratio was 1.26 in September, compared with 1.29 a year ago.
  • The producer price index for total final demand increased 0.6% in October, while the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade increased 0.2%. The producer price index for final demand increased 2.9% from October 2017 to October 2018, while the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade increased 2.8%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 214 thousand in the week ending November 3, a decrease of a thousand from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 213.75 thousand, a decrease of 0.25 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The number of jobs openings decreased to 7.0 million on the last business day of September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of hires and separations were both little changed at 5.7 million.
  • From December 2017 to March 2018, gross job gains from opening and expanding private-sector establishments were 7.4 million, a decrease of 420 thousand jobs from the previous quarter, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The difference between the number of gross job gains and the number of gross job losses yielded a net employment gain of 740 thousand jobs in the private sector during the first quarter of 2018.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in September than a year earlier in 308 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 58 areas, and unchanged in 22 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 58 metropolitan areas, decreased in one area, and was essentially unchanged in 329 areas.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed mortgage rates rose significantly across the board. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.94% for the week ending November 8, up from last week when it averaged 4.83%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.90%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.33%, up from last week when it averaged 4.23%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.24%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 4.0% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending November 2nd.
  • Total non-farm payroll employment increased 250 thousand in October, following an increase of 118 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 246 thousand in October, while government employment increased by 4 thousand. Job gains occurred in health care, in manufacturing, in construction, and in transportation and warehousing.
  • The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7% in October. The unemployment rate was 4.1% in October 2017.
  • The number of unemployed increased by 111 thousand to 6.075 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 11 thousand to 1.373 million and accounted for 22.5% of the unemployed.
  • The labor force participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage point to 62.9% in October, but has shown little change over the past 12 months.
  • The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours.
  •  In October, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 5 cents to $27.30. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 3.1%.
  • Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.8%, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending in September 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.8% for the 12-month period ending in September 2018, compared with a compensation costs increase of 2.5% in September 2017. Wages and salaries increased 2.9% for the 12-month period ending in September 2018, while benefit costs increased 2.6%.
  • Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 2.2% during the third quarter of 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as output increased 4.1% and hours worked increased 1.8%. From the third quarter of 2017 to the third quarter of 2018, productivity increased 1.3%, reflecting a 3.7% increase in output and a 2.4% increase in hours worked. Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased 1.2% in the third quarter of 2018, reflecting a 3.5% increase in hourly compensation and a 2.2% increase in productivity. Unit labor costs increased 1.5% over the last four quarters.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 2 thousand to 214 thousand in the week ending October 27. The 4-week moving average was 213.75 thousand, an increase of 1.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending October 20 was 1,631 thousand, a decrease of 7 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since July 28, 1973 when it was 1,603 thousand. The 4-week moving average was 1,640.75 thousand, a decrease of 6.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since August 11, 1973 when it was 1,627.25 thousand.
  • According to gross domestic product (GDP) by industry statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 16 of 22 industry groups contributed to the overall 4.2% increase in real GDP in the second quarter. 
  • Personal income increased 0.2% in September according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Disposable personal income increased 0.2% and personal consumption expenditures increased 0.4%. Real disposable personal income increased 0.1% in September, while real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.3%. The personal consumption expenditures price index increased 0.1%, while the core index (excluding food and energy) increased 0.2%. The personal consumption expenditures price index increased 2.0% from September 2017. The core index also increased 2.0% from a year ago.
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 0.7% in September, while shipments increased 0.9%. Year-to-date, new orders were up 8.4%, while shipments were up 7.5%.
  • The international trade deficit in goods and services increased to $54.0 billion in September from $53.3 billion in August (revised), as exports increased to $212.6 billion and imports increased to $266.6 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • September construction spending was up less than 0.1% from the previous month, and was up 7.2% from a year ago. Residential construction increased 0.5%, while nonresidential construction decreased 0.3%. Total private construction increased 0.3% in September, while total public construction decreased 0.9%.
  • The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.8% annual gain in August, down from 6.0% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 5.1%, down from 5.5% the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 5.5% year-over-year gain, up from 5.9% the previous month.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates dropping slightly after last week’s increases. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.83% for the week ending November 1, down from last week when it averaged 4.86%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.94%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.23%, down from the previous week when it averaged 4.29%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.27%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 2.5% from one week earlier,  according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 26, 2018.
  • The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved modestly in September, increased again in October. The Index now stands at 137.9 (1985=100), up from 135.3 in September. The Present Situation Index increased from 169.4 to 172.8, while the Expectations Index rose from 112.5 to 114.6.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in October, and the overall economy grew for the 114th consecutive month.

·       Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 3.5% in the third quarter of 2018, according to the “advance” estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter of 2018, real GDP increased 4.2%.

·       Real final sales of domestic product (GDP less change in private inventories) increased 1.4% in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase of 5.4% in the previous quarter.

·       The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.7% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.4% in the previous quarter. 

·       The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index increased 1.6%, compared with an increase of 2.0%. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.6%, compared with an increase of 2.1%.

·       New orders for manufactured durable goods increased 0.8% in September, while shipments increased 1.3%. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.1%, while shipments increased 0.3%. Year-to-date new orders were up 8.9% from the same period a year ago, while shipments were up 7.2%. 

·       Retail inventories for September were up 0.1% from the previous month, but were up 3.1% from September 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  

·       Wholesale inventories for September were up 0.3% from the previous month, and were up 5.1% from a year ago. 

·       The international trade deficit in goods was $76.0 billion in September, up $0.6 billion from $75.5 billion in August, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  Exports of goods for September were $141.0 billion, $2.5 billion more than August exports. Imports of goods for September were $217.0 billion, $3.1 billion more than August imports.

·       September new home sales decreased 5.5% to an annualized rate of 553 thousand units. The September figure was 13.2% below the September 2017 figure. The median sales price of new houses sold was $320.0 thousand, 3.5% below September 2017.

·       The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator for the housing sector, increased 0.5% to 104.6 in September, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index is now 1.0% below September 2017.

·       U.S. house prices increased 0.3% in August, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA). For the 12 months ending in August, U.S. house prices rose 6.1%. 

·       The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average mortgage rates increasing slightly across the board. 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.86% for the week ending October 25, up from last week when it averaged 4.85%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year rate was 3.94%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.29%, up from last week when it averaged 4.26%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year rate was 3.25%.

·       Mortgage applications increased 4.9% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending October 19th. 

·       The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 5 thousand to 215 thousand in the week ending October 20. The 4-week moving average was 211.75 thousand, unchanged from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending October 13 was 1,636 thousand, a decrease of 5 thousand from the previous week’s revised level.  This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since August 14, 1973 when it was 1,633 thousand. The 4-week moving average was 1,646.5 thousand, a decrease of 6.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since August 11, 1973 when it was 1,627.25 thousand.

·       The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for October decreased to 98.6, from 100.1 in September. The Index was 100.7 in October 2017.  

·       The Chicago FED National Activity Index (NAI) decreased to 0.17 in September, from 0.27 in August.

·       The FED’s “Beige Book” indicated that economic activity expanded across the United States, with the majority of Districts reporting modest to moderate growth.

·      Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for September were up 0.1% from the previous month, and were up 4.7% from a year ago, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Excluding motor vehicle & parts, retail sales were down 0.1% from the previous month, but were up 5.7% from a year ago. Year-to-date, retail sales were up 5.4% from the first nine months of 2017.

·      Total manufacturing and trade sales for August increased 0.5% from July, following a 0.2% increase as in the previous month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Inventories increased 0.5%, following a 0.7% increase in the previous month. The total business inventories/sales ratio was 1.34 in August, compared with 1.39 a year ago.

·      Total Industrial production increased 0.3% in September, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month. Total industrial production in September was 5.1% above its level a year earlier. The rate of capacity utilization held steady at 78.1%, 1.8 percentage points below its 1972-2017 average, but 2.4 percentage points above September 2017.

·      The federal government budget ran a surplus of $119.1 billion in September, following a deficit of $214.1 billion in the previous month. The cumulative budget deficit for the fiscal year 2018 was $779.0, compared with the deficit of $665.8 billion in the fiscal year 2017.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 210 thousand in the week ending October 13, a decrease of 5 thousand from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 211.75 thousand, an increase of 2 thousand from the previous week’s average.

·      The number of jobs openings reached a series high of 7.1 million on the last business day of August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of hires and separations were little changed at 5.8 million and 5.7 million, respectively.

·      Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 117.2 million full-time wage and salary workers were $887 in the third quarter of 2018 (not seasonally adjusted), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was 3.3% higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 2.6% in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers over the same period.

·      Housing starts in September were down 5.3% from the previous month, but were up 3.7% from a year ago. Building permits were down 0.6% from the previous month, and were down 1.0% from September 2017.

·      The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo increased a point to 68 in October. The Index was 72 in January, and 68 in October of 2017.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates dropped slightly after weeks of steady increases. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.85% for the week ending October 18, down from last week when it averaged 4.90%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.88%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.26%, down from last week when it averaged 4.29%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.19%.

·      Mortgage applications decreased 7.1% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending October 12th.

·      The October 2018 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity continued to grow strongly in New York State, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The headline, general business conditions, index increased two points to 21.1, pointing to a slightly faster pace of growth than in September.

·      The Philadelphia FED business outlook survey for October indicated continued growth in regional manufacturing. The index for current manufacturing activity in the region decreased 0.7 point to 22.2. 

·      The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators increased 0.5% in September, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month. In the six-month period ending September 2018, the leading economic index increased 2.8% (about a 5.6% annual rate), much slower than the growth of 4.1% (about 8.4% annual rate) during the previous six months. The coincident index increased 0.1% in September, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month.  The coincident economic index grew by 1.1% (about a 2.2% annual rate) in the six-month period ending in September, slightly slower than the growth of 1.3% (about 2.6% annual rate) over the previous six months.

·      August sales of merchant wholesalers were up 0.8% from the revised July level and were up 9.2% from the August 2017 level, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Total inventories of merchant wholesalers were up 1.0% from the previous month and were up 5.3% from the August 2017 level. The August inventories/sales ratio was 1.26, compared with 1.30 a year ago.

·      Import prices increased 0.5% in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, following a 0.4% decrease in the previous month. Prices for imports increased 3.5% from September 2017. The price index for exports held steady in September, after decreasing 0.2% in the previous month. Prices for exports advanced 2.7% over the past year.

·      The producer price index for total final demand increased 0.2% in September, following a 0.1% decrease in the previous month.  The index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 0.4%, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. The producer price index for final demand increased 2.6% from September 2017 to September 2018, while the index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 2.9%.

·      The consumer price index increased 0.1% in September, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The core index increased 0.1%, the same increase as in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 2.3% for the 12-month period ending in September, while the core index rose 2.2%.

·      Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.3% from August to September. This result stems from 0.3% increase in average hourly earnings, being offset by a 0.1% increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 214 thousand in the week ending October 6, an increase of 7 thousand from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 209.5 thousand, an increase of 2.5 thousand from the previous week’s average.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates have risen to their highest level in seven years. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.90% for the week ending October 11, up from last week when it averaged 4.71%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.91%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.29%, up from last week when it averaged 4.15. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.21%.

·      Mortgage applications decreased 1.7% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending October 5th.

·      The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, for October decreased to 99.0, from 100.1 in September. The Index was 100.7 in October 2017. The Current Conditions Index decreased to 114.4, from 115.2, while the Index of Consumer Expectations decreased to 89.1, from 90.5.

·      Total non-farm payroll employment increased 134 thousand in September, following an increase of 270 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 121 thousand in September, while government employment increased by 13 thousand. In September, job gains occurred in professional and business services, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing. The average monthly gain in employment was 201 thousand over the prior 12 months.

·      The unemployment rate decreased to 3.7% in September, from 3.9% in August. The unemployment rate was 4.2% in September 2017.

·      The number of unemployed decreased by 270 thousand to 5.964 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 52 thousand to 1.384 million and accounted for 22.9% of the unemployed.

·      The labor force participation rate remained at 62.7% in September, and the employment-population ratio was little changed at 60.4%.

·      The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours.

·      In September, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 8 cents to $27.24. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 2.8%.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 8 thousand to 207 thousand in the week ending September 29. The 4-week moving average was 207 thousand, an increase of 0.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending September 22 was 1,650 thousand, a decrease of 13 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,664.5 thousand, a decrease of 15.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since October 27, 1973 when it was 1,664.25 thousand.

·      Unemployment rates were lower in August than a year earlier in 340 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 35 areas, and unchanged in 13 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 60 metropolitan areas, and was essentially unchanged in 328 areas.

·      Sales of domestic cars increased 4.2% in September, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales increased 4.5%. Total vehicle sales were 17.4 million units in September, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.1 million in January 2018, and 18.1 million in September of 2017.

·      New orders for manufactured goods in August increased 2.3%, following a 0.5% increase in the previous month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.    Shipments, 0.5%, after holding steady in July. Unfilled orders were up 0.9%, while inventories were down 0.1%. The inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.34, down from 1.35 in July.

·      The international trade deficit in goods and services increased to $53.2 billion in August from $50.0 billion in July (revised), as exports decreased and imports increased, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. August exports were $209.4 billion, $1.7 billion less than July exports. August imports were $262.7 billion, $1.5 billion more than July imports.. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $31.0 billion, or 8.6%, from the same period in 2017. Exports increased $129.6 billion or 8.4%, while imports increased $160.6 billion or 8.4%.

·      State personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased on average 4.3% in 2017, compared with a 3.8% increase in 2016, according to by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The percentage change in expenditures across all states ranged from 6.9% in Idaho to 2.0% in North Dakota. In 2017, across all states and the District of Columbia, per capita PCE was $40,878. Per capita PCE by state ranged from a high of $53,267 in Massachusetts to a low of $30,027 in Mississippi. Per capita PCE in the District of Columbia was $60,914.   

·      August construction spending was up 0.1% from the previous month, and was up 6.5% from a year ago. Residential construction decreased 0.7%, while nonresidential construction increased 0.7%. Total private construction decreased 0.5% in August, while total public construction increased 2.0%.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates decreasing for the first time after five week of increases. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.71% for the week ending October 4, down slightly from last week when it averaged 4.72%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.85%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.15%, down slightly from the previous week when it averaged 4.16%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.15%.

·      Mortgage applications increased 2.9% from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 21, 2018.

·      The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in September, and the overall economy grew for the 113th consecutive month.

·      The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey indicated that economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in September, for the 104th consecutive month.

  • Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 4.2% in the second quarter of 2018, according to the “third” estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter of 2018, real GDP increased 2.2%. In the second estimate, released a month ago, the increase in real GDP was also 3.0%.
  • Real final sales of domestic product (GDP less change in private inventories) increased 5.4% in the second quarter, in contrast to an increase of 1.9% in the first quarter.
  • Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 1.6% in the second quarter of 2018, compared with an increase of 3.9% in the first quarter.
  • The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 2.9% in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 3.1% in the previous quarter.
  • The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.4% in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 2.5% in the previous quarter.
  • The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index increased 2.0%, compared with an increase of 2.5% in the previous quarter. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 2.1%, compared with an increase of 2.2%.
  • Corporate profits from current production increased $65.0 billion in the second quarter, after an increase of $26.7 billion in the previous quarter. Profits of domestic financial corporations increased $16.5 billion in the second quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $9.3 billion in the previous quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $53.0 billion, compared with an increase of $32.3 billion in the previous quarter. The rest-of-the-world component of profits decreased $4.5 billion, compared with an increase of $3.7 billion in the previous quarter.
  • Personal income increased 0.3% in August, the same increase as in the previous month. Personal consumption expenditures increased 0.3% in August, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month. Both real disposable personal income and real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.2% in August. The price index for personal consumption expenditures (headline index) increased 0.1% in August, while the core index held steady.  The price index for personal consumption expenditures (headline index) increased 2.2% from August 2017, while the core index increased 2.0%. 
  • State personal income grew 4.2% on average in the second quarter of 2018, after increasing 5.0% in the first quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Increases in earnings, property income, and transfer receipts all contributed to growth in second quarter personal income. The growth in personal income ranged from 1.6% in Washington to 6.0% in Texas.
  • New orders for manufactured durable goods increased 4.5% in August, while shipments increased 0.8%. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.1%.  Excluding defense, new orders increased 2.6%. Year-to-date, new orders were up 9.2%, and shipments were up 7.3% from the same period a year ago.
  • Retail inventories for August were up 0.7% from the previous month, and were up 2.3% from August 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 
  • Wholesale inventories for August were up 0.8% from the previous month, and were up 5.1% from August 2016. 
  • The international trade deficit in goods was $75.8 billion in August, up $3.8 billion from $72.0 billion in July, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  Exports of goods for August were $137.9 billion, $2.3 billion less than July exports. Imports of goods for August were $213.7 billion, $1.5 billion more than July imports.
  • The U.S. net international investment position decreased to -$8,638.5 billion (preliminary) at the end of the second quarter of 2018 from -$7,747.3 billion (revised) at the end of the first quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The $891.2 billion decrease was resulted from a decrease in U.S. assets and an increase in U.S. liabilities. U.S. assets decreased $587.8 billion to $27,063.6 billion at the end of the second quarter, while U.S. liabilities increased $303.4 billion to $35,702.1 billion.
  • August new home sales were up 3.5% from the previous month, and were up 2.7% from August 2017 figure. The median sales price of new houses sold was $320.2 thousand, 1.9% above August 2017.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator for the housing sector, decreased 1.8% to a reading of 104.2 in August, according to the National Association of Realtors. The Index was down 2.3% from August 2017.
  • U.S. house prices rose 0.2% in July, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) seasonally adjusted monthly House Price Index (HPI). House prices were up 6.4% from July 2017.
  • The S & P Corelogic Case-Shiller National U.S. Home Price Index posted annual increases of 5.5% and 5.9% in July, for the 10-city and 20-city composite indices, respectively. The National Index, covering all nine U.S. Census divisions, increased 6.0% from July 2017.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates surged to their highest level in over seven years. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.72% for the week ending September 27, up from last week when it averaged 4.65%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.83%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.16% for the week ending September 27, up from last week when it averaged 4.11%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.13%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 2.9% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending September 21st.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in August in 13 states, higher in 3 states, and stable in 34 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Eleven states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier and 39 states and the District had little or no change. Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 4 states and essentially unchanged in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, 35 states added nonfarm payroll jobs and 15 states and the District were essentially unchanged.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 12 thousand to 214 thousand in the week ending September 22. The 4-week moving average was 206.25 thousand, an increase of 0.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending September 15 was 1,661 thousand, an increase of 16 thousand from the previous week’s unrevised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,679.25 thousand, a decrease of 12.25 thousand from the previous week’s unrevised average. This is the lowest level for this average since November 10, 1973 when it was 1,673 thousand. 
  • The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index, which had improved significantly in August, increased in September. The Index now stands at 138.4 (1985=100), up from 134.7 in August. The Present Situation Index increased slightly from 172.8 to 173.1, while the Expectations Index surged from 109.3 to 115.3.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment increased to 100.1 in September, from 96.2 in August. This was only the third time the index topping 100 since January 2004. The Index was 95.1 a year ago. The Current Economic Conditions Index increased from 110.3 to 115.2, while the Index of Consumer Expectations increased from 87.1 to 90.5.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate, 25 basis points, to 2.00% to 2.25%. “The Committee expects that further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will be consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective over the medium term. Risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced.”

·      Housing starts in August were up 9.2% from the previous month, and were up 9.4% from a year ago. Building permits were down 5.7% from the previous month, and were down 5.5% from August 2017.

·      August existing home sales held steady at an annualized rate of 5,340 thousand units. The August figure was 1.5% below the August 2017 figure. There were 1,920 thousand homes for sale at the end of the month. This represents a supply of 4.3 months at the current sales rate, compared to 4.1 in August of 2017. The median sales price of existing houses sold was $264.8 thousand, 4.6% above August 2017.

·      The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo held steady at 67 in September. The Index was 72 in January, and 64 in September of 2017.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates rose for the fourth consecutive week. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.65% for the week ending September 20, up from last week when it averaged 4.60%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.83%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.11%, up from last week when it averaged 4.06%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.13%.

·      Mortgage applications decreased 1.8% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending September 7th.

·      The current account deficit decreased to $101.5 billion in the second quarter, from $121.7 billion in the first quarter, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The deficit decreased to 2.0% of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) from 2.4% in the first quarter.

·      The net worth of households and nonprofits rose to $106.9 trillion at the end of second quarter of 2018, compared with $104.7 trillion at the end of the first quarter, and $98.8 trillion at the end of second quarter of 2017.

·      Domestic nonfinancial debt expanded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.8% in the second quarter of 2018, compared with an annual rate of 7.5% in the previous quarter.

·      Domestic nonfinancial debt outstanding was $50.7 trillion at the end of the second quarter of 2018, of which household debt was $15.4 trillion, nonfinancial business debt was $14.8 trillion, and total government debt was $20.5 trillion.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased by 3 thousand to 201 thousand in the week ending September 15. This is the lowest level for initial claims since November 15, 1969 when it was 197 thousand.

·      The 4-week moving average was 205.75, a decrease of 2.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 6, 1969 when it was 204.5 thousand.

·      Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased in 312 out of 383 metropolitan areas in 2017 according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Real GDP for U.S. metropolitan areas grew 2.1% in 2017, led by growth in professional and business services; wholesale and retail trade; and finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing. The percent change in real GDP by metropolitan area ranged from negative 7.8% in Enid, Oklahoma to 12.1% in Odessa, Texas.

·      The September 2018 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity continued to grow strongly in New York State, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The headline general business conditions index was 19.0 in September, lower than the August figure of 25.6.

·      The Philadelphia FED business outlook survey for September indicated that manufacturing activity continued to grow. The index for current manufacturing activity in the region increased 11 points to a reading of 22.9. 

·      The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators increased 0.4% in August, following a 0.7% increase in the previous month. In the six-month period ending August 2018, the leading economic index increased 2.5% (about a 5.0% annual rate). The coincident index increased 0.2%, the same increase as in the previous month. The coincident economic index grew by 1.2% (about a 2.3% annual rate) in the six-month period ending in August.

·      Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for August were up 0.1% from the previous month, and were up 6.6% from a year ago, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Excluding motor vehicle & parts, retail sales were up 0.3% from the previous, and were up 7.3% from a year ago. Year-to-date, retail sales were up 5.7% from the first eight months of 2017.

·      Total manufacturing and trade sales for July increased 0.2% from June, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Inventories increased 0.6%, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. The total business inventories/sales ratio was 1.34 in July, compared with 1.39 a year ago.

·      Total Industrial production increased 0.4% in August, the same increase as in the previous month. Total industrial production in August was 4.9% above its level a year earlier. The rate of capacity utilization increased 0.2 percentage point to 78.1%, 1.7 percentage points below its 1972-2017 average.

·      Import prices decreased 067% in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, following a 0.1% decrease in the previous month. Prices for imports increased 3.7% from August 2017. The price index for exports decreased 0.1% in August, after a 0.5% decrease in the previous month. Prices for exports advanced 3.6% over the past year.

·      The producer price index for total final demand decreased 0.1% in August, after holding steady in the previous month.  The index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 0.1%, after a 0.3% increase in the previous month. The producer price index for final demand increased 2.8% from August 2017 to August 2018, while the index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 2.9%.

·      The consumer price index increased 0.2% in August, the same increase as in the previous month. The core index increased 0.1%, following a 0.2% increase as in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 2.7% for the 12-month period ending in August, while the core index rose 2.2%.

·      Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.1% from July to August. This result stems from 0.4% increase in average hourly earnings, combined with a 0.2% increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased a thousand to 204 thousand in the week ending September 8th. This is the lowest level for initial claims since December 6, 1969 when it was 202 thousand. The 4-week moving average was 208 thousand, a decrease of 2 thousand from the previous week’s average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 6, 1969 when it was 204.5 thousand.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates jumped over the past week to a level not seen in over a month. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.60% for the week ending September 13, up from the previous week when it averaged 4.54%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.78%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.06%, up from last week when it averaged 3.99%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.08%.

·      Mortgage applications decreased 1.8% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending September 7th.

·      The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, for September increased to 100.8, from 96.2 in August. This was the second highest level since 2004. The Current Conditions Index increased to 116.1 in September, while the Index of Consumer Expectations increased to 91.1.

·      Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 201 thousand in August, following an increase of 147 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 204 thousand in July, while government employment decreased by 3 thousand. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and mining. The average monthly gain in employment was 196 thousand per month over the prior 12 months.

·      The unemployment rate held steady at 3.9% in August. The unemployment rate was 4.4% in August 2017.

·      The number of unemployed decreased by 46 thousand to 6.234 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 103 thousand to 1.332 million and accounted for 21.5% of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 403 thousand.

·      The labor force participation rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point to 62.7% in August.

·      The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours.

·      In August, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 10 cents to $27.16. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 2.9%.

·      Second quarter productivity increased 2.9% (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the non-farm business sector, following a 0.3% increase in the previous period. Hourly compensation rose 1.9%, while unit labor costs decreased 1.0%. From the second quarter of 2017 to the second quarter of 2018, labor productivity increased 1.3%, reflecting increases in output and hours worked of 3.5% and 2.2%, respectively.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 203 thousand in the week ending September 1, a decrease of 10 thousand from the previous week. This is the lowest level for initial claims since December 6, 1969 when it was 202 thousand. The 4-week moving average was 209.5 thousand, a decrease of 2.75 thousand from the previous week’s average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 6, 1969 when it was 204.5 thousand.

·      New orders for manufactured goods decreased 0.8% in July, while shipments increased less than 0.1%. Excluding transportation, new orders were up 0.2% in July, and shipments were up 0.4%. Year-to-date manufacturers’ new orders were up 8.3%, while shipments were up 7.5%.

·      Sales of domestic cars decreased 6.2% in August, while total light vehicle sales decreased 0.6%. Total vehicle sales were 16.6 million units in August, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 16.5 million in August of 2017.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of September 6th showed average fixed mortgage rates moving higher. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.54% for the week ending September 6th, up from last week when it averaged 4.52%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.78%.

·      Mortgage applications decreased 0.1% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending August 31st.