Key Economic Indicators – August 6, 2012

  • Total non-farm payroll employment rose 163 thousand to 133.245 million in July, following an increase of 64 thousand in the previous month.   Private-sector payrolls increased 172 thousand in the month, while government employment decreased 9 thousand.
  • The rate of unemployment increased to 8.3%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 8 thousand to 365 thousand in the week ending July 28.
  • Sales of domestic cars decreased 2.1% in July, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 2.0%. Total sales were 14.048 million units in July, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 12.368 million in July of 2011, and 11.675 million in July of 2010.
  • New orders for manufactured goods (excluding semiconductors) decreased 0.5% in June, while shipments decreased 1.1%.
  • June construction spending increased 0.4%, following a 1.6% increase in the previous month. Private construction increased 0.7%, while public construction increased less than 0.1%. June construction put in place was 7.0% above such construction in June 2011.
  • The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.55% for the week ending August 2, up from the previous week when it averaged 3.49%.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector contracted in July for the second time since July 2009; however, the overall economy grew for the 38th consecutive month.
  • In July, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity (exceeded 50.0%) for the 31st consecutive month.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 0 to 0.25%, and indicated that it is anticipated that economic conditions, including low rates of resource utilization, and a subdued outlook for inflation are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014.

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