Key Economic Indicators – August 17, 2015

  • Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for July were up 0.6% from the previous month, and were up 2.4% from July 2014.
  • Sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, increased 0.1% in June, while inventories increased 0.9%. Sales were down 3.8% from June 2014, while inventories were up 5.4%.
  • Total manufacturing and trade sales for June were up 0.2%, while inventories were up 0.8%.
  • Total Industrial production increased 0.6% in July, after increasing 0.1% in the previous month. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.3% percentage point in July to 78.0%, a rate that is 2.1 percentage points below its long-run (1972-2014) average.
  • Second quarter productivity increased 1.3% (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the non-farm business sector, following a 1.1% decrease in the previous period. Productivity was up 0.3% from the second quarter of 2014.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 5 thousand to 274 thousand in the week ending August 8th. The 4-week moving average was 266.25 thousand, a decrease of 1.75 from the previous week’s average.
  • The number of job openings was little changed at 5.2 million on the last business day of June. The number of hires and separations were little changed at 5.2 million and 4.9 million, respectively.
  • The federal government budget ran a deficit of $149.1 billion in July, following a surplus of $50.5 billion in the previous month. The cumulative budget deficit for the first ten months of fiscal year was $465.5 billion, compared with the deficit of $460.5 billion for the same period of the previous fiscal year.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of August 13th showed average fixed mortgage rates moving higher for the first time in four weeks. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.94% for the week ending August 13, up from last week when it averaged 3.91%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.12%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 0.1% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending August 7th.
  • The producer price index for final demand increased 0.2% in July, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month. The index for final demand for goods less foods and energy were unchanged. The producer price index for final demand decreased 0.8% from July 2014 to July 2015, while prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services increased 0.9%.
  • The import price index decreased 0.9% in July, while the export price index decreased 0.2%. The import price index decreased 10.4% from July 2014, while the price index for overall exports decreased 6.1%.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, was virtually unchanged in early August. The index now stands at 92.9, compared with 93.1 in July, and 82.5 a year ago.

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