· Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for August were down 0.2% from the previous month, but were up 3.2% from a year ago, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Excluding motor vehicle & parts, retail sales were up 0.2% from August, and were up 3.6% from a year ago. Year-to-date, retail sales were up 3.8% from the first eight months of 2016.
· Total manufacturing and trade sales for July increased 0.2% from June, the same increase as in the previous month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Inventories increased 0.2%, following a 0.5% increase in the previous month. The total business inventories/sales ratio was 1.38 in July, compared with 1.40 a year ago.
· Total Industrial production decreased 0.9% in August, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month. Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Gulf Coast of Texas in late August, is estimated to have reduced the rate of change in total output by roughly 0.75 percentage point. Total industrial production in August was 1.5% above its level a year earlier. The rate of capacity utilization decreased 0.8 percentage point to 76.1%, 3.8 percentage points below its 1972-2015 average.
· The federal government budget ran a deficit of $107.7 billion in August, following a deficit of $42.9 billion in the previous month. The cumulative budget deficit for the first eleven months of fiscal year 2017 was $673.7, $54.6 billion more than the deficit for the same period of the previous fiscal year.
· The producer price index for total final demand increased 0.2% in August, following a 0.1% decrease in the previous month. The index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 0.2%, after holding steady in the previous month. The producer price index for final demand increased 2.4% from August 2016 to August 2017, while the index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 1.9%.
· The consumer price index increased 0.4% in August, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. The core index increased 0.2%, following a 0.1% increase as in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 1.7% for the 12-month period ending in August, while the core index rose 1.7%.
· Real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.3% from July to August. This result stems from 0.1% increase in average hourly earnings, being more than offset by a 0.4% increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.
· The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 284 thousand in the week ending September 9, a decrease of 14 thousand from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 263.25 thousand, an increase of 13 thousand from the previous week’s average.This is the highest level for this average since August 13, 2016 when it was 263.25 thousand. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma impacted this week’s initial claims.
· The number of jobs openings was little changed at 6.2 million on the last business day of July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of hires and separations were also little changed at 5.5 million and 5.3 million, respectively.
· The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates remaining largely unchanged from last week’s year-to-date low. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.78% for the week ending September 14, unchanged from the previous week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.50%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.08%, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 2.77%.
· Mortgage applications increased 9.9% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending September 8th.
· The September 2016 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity continued to grow strongly in New York State, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The headline general business conditions index was 24.4 in September, slightly lower than the August figure of 25.2, which was the highest in three years.
· The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, for September decreased to 95.3, from 96.8 in August. The Current Conditions Index increased to 113.9, the highest level since November of 2000. On the other hand, the Index of Consumer Expectations decreased to 83.4, largely due to two hurricanes Harvey and Irma.