Key Economic Indicators – September 7, 2015

  • Total non-farm payroll employment rose 173 thousand in August, following an increase of 245 thousand in the previous month.  Private-sector payrolls increased by 140 thousand in the month, while government employment increased by 33 thousand. 
  • The unemployment rate decreased to 5.1% in August, from 5.3% in July. The unemployment rate was 6.1% in August of 2014.
  • The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased 0.1 to 34.6 hours.
  • Average hourly earnings increased by 8 cents to $25.09.  Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 2.2% and average weekly earnings were up 2.5%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 12 thousand to 282 thousand in the week ending August 29th. The 4-week moving average was 275.5 thousand, an increase of 3.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in July than a year earlier in 359 of the 387 metropolitan areas, higher in 20 areas, and unchanged in 8 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Second quarter productivity increased 3.3% (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the non-farm business sector, following a 1.1% decrease in the previous period. Hourly compensation rose 1.8%, while unit labor costs decreased 1.4%. From the second quarter of 2014 to the second quarter of 2015, productivity increased 0.7%, reflecting increases in output and hours worked of 3.3% and 2.6%, respectively.
  • Average expenditures per consumer unit in 2014 were $53,495, up 4.7% from 2013, and average income before taxes was $66,877, up 4.8% from 2013. Shares of average annual expenditures by a married couple with children were: food: 12.9%, housing: 31.8%, transportation: 17.3%, healthcare: 7.3%, personal insurance & pensions: 12.5%.
  • Sales of domestic cars decreased 3.2% in August, while total light vehicle sales increased 1.4%. Total vehicle sales were 17.7 million units in August, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.2 million in August of 2014.
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 0.4% in July, while shipments decreased 0.2%. Excluding transportation, new orders were down 0.6% in July, and shipments were down 0.7%. Year-to-date manufacturers’ new orders were down 7.3%, while shipments were down 3.8%.
  • In July, international trade deficit decreased $3.3 billion to $41.9 billion. Year-to-date, the deficit was $306.1 billion, compared with a cumulative deficit of $295.5 billion during the first seven months of 2014.
  • Construction spending increased 0.7% in July.  Private construction increased 1.3%, while public construction decreased 1.0%. July construction put in place was 13.7% above such construction in July 2014.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of September 3rd showed average fixed mortgage rates moving higher. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.89% for the week ending September 3, up from last week when it averaged 3.84%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.1%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 11.3% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending August 28th.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in August for the 32nd consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 75th consecutive month.
  • In August, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 67th consecutive month.
  • The FED’s “Beige Book” indicated that overall economic activity continued to expand across most regions and sectors during the reporting period from July to mid-August.

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