Key Economic Indicators – September 11, 2017

·      New orders for manufactured goods decreased 3.3% in July, while shipments increased 0.3%. Excluding transportation, new orders were up 0.5% in July, and shipments were up 0.4%. Year-to-date manufacturers’ new orders were up 5.6%, while shipments were up 4.7%.

·      Sales of domestic cars decreased 3.8% in August, while total light vehicle sales decreased 4.0%. Total vehicle sales were 16.0 million units in August, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.1 million in August of 2016.

·      Sales of merchant wholesalers in July were down 0.1% from the previous month, but were up 5.9% from a year ago. Sales of durable goods decreased 0.1%, while non-durable goods sales decreased less than 0.1%. In July, inventories of merchant wholesalers were up 0.6% from the previous month, and were up 3.3% from July 2016.

·      In July, international trade deficit increased $0.1 billion to $43.5 billion. July exports were $194.4 billion, $0.6 billion less than June exports. July imports were $238.1 billion, $0.4 billion less than June imports. Year-to-date, the deficit was $319.1 billion, compared with a cumulative deficit of $291.2 billion during the first seven months of 2016.

·      Second quarter productivity increased 1.5% (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the non-farm business sector, following a 0.1% increase in the previous period. Hourly compensation rose 1.8%, while unit labor costs increased 0.2%. From the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017, productivity increased 1.3%, reflecting increases in output and hours worked of 2.8% and 1.5%, respectively.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 62 thousand to 298 thousand in the week ending September 2nd. This is the highest level for initial claims since April 18, 2015. The 4-week moving average was 250.25 thousand, an increase of 13.5 thousand from the previous week’s average.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of September 7th showed average fixed mortgage rates moving lower. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.78% for the week ending September 7th, down from last week when it averaged 3.82%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.44%.

·      Mortgage applications increased 3.3% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending September 1st.

·      In August, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 92nd consecutive month. Fifteen non-manufacturing industries reported growth in August, while two industries reported contraction.

·      The FED’s “Beige Book” indicated that overall economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace across all regions in July and August.

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