Key Economic Indicators – September 10, 2012

  • Total non-farm payroll employment rose 96 thousand to 133.300 million in August, following an increase of 141 thousand in the previous month. Private-sector payrolls increased 103 thousand in the month, while government employment decreased 7 thousand.
  • The number of unemployed persons decreased by 250 thousand to 12.544 million. The unemployment rate decreased to 8.1%, from 8.3% in the previous month.
  • The average workweek of production and non-supervisory employees held steady at 33.7 hours, while average hourly earnings decreased by a cent to $19.75.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased by 12 thousand to 365 thousand in the week ending September 1.
  • Second quarter productivity increased 2.2% in the non-farm business sector, following a 0.5% decrease in the previous quarter. Unit labor costs increased 1.5% in the second quarter, following a 6.4% increase in the previous quarter.
  • Sales of domestic cars increased 5.6% in August, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales increased 3.0%. Total vehicle sales were 14.465 million units in August, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 12.420 million in August of 2011.
  • July construction spending decreased 0.9% to $834.4 billion. Private construction decreased 1.2%, while public construction decreased 0.4%.
  • The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.55% for the week ending September 6, down from last week when it averaged 3.59%.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector contracted in August for the third time since July 2009; however, the overall economy grew for the 39th consecutive month. The non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth for the 32nd consecutive month.

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