Key Economic Indicators – October 23, 2017

  • Total Industrial production increased 0.3% in September, following a 0.7% decrease in the previous month. There were major revisions in July and August figures. The estimated effect of Hurricanes was to hold down the growth in total production in September by 0.25 percentage point. Total industrial production in September was 1.6% above its level a year earlier. The rate of capacity utilization increased 0.2 percentage point to 76.0%, 3.9 percentage points below its 1972-2016 average.
  • September existing home sales increased 0.7% to an annualized rate of 5,390 thousand units. The September figure was 1.5% below the September 2016 figure. The median sales price of existing houses sold was $245.1 thousand, 4.2% above September 2016. 
  • Housing starts in September were down 4.7% from the previous month, but were up 6.1% from a year ago. Building permits were down 4.5% from the previous month, and were down 4.3% from September 2016.
  • The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo increased 4 points to 68 in October. The Index was 67 in January, and 69 in October of 2016.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving lower. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.88% for the week ending October 19, down from last week when it averaged 3.91%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.52%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.19%, down from last week when it averaged 3.21%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 2.79%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 3.6% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending October 13th.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased by 22 thousand to 222 thousand in the week ending October 14. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 31, 1973 when it was 222 thousand. The 4-week moving average was 248.25, a decrease of 9.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 114.9 million full-time wage and salary workers were $859 in the third quarter of 2017 (not seasonally adjusted), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was 3.9% higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 2.0% in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers over the same period.
  • Import prices increased 0.7% in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, following a 0.6% increase in the previous month. Prices for imports increased 2.7% from September 2016. The price index for exports advanced 0.8% in September, after increasing 0.7% in the previous month. Prices for exports advanced 2.9% over the past year.
  • The October 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity grew at a robust pace in New York State, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The headline, general business conditions, index increased to 30.2, its highest in three years in October, from 24.4 in September.
  • The Philadelphia FED business outlook survey for October indicated continued growth in regional manufacturing. The index for current manufacturing activity in the region increased 4.1 points to 27.9, a highest reading since May. 
  • The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators decreased 0.2% in September, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month. In the six-month period ending September 2017, the leading economic index increased 1.7% (about a 3.5% annual rate), slower that the growth of 2.2% (about 4.4% annual rate) during the previous six months. The coincident index, which held steady in August, increased 0.1% in September. The coincident economic index grew by 0.7% (about a 1.4% annual rate) in the six-month period ending in September, slightly slower than the growth of 1.0% (about 1.9% annual rate) over the previous six months.
  • The FED’s “Beige Book” indicated that all twelve Federal Reserve Districts reported that economic activity increased in September through early October, with the pace of growth split between modest and moderate. The Richmond, Atlanta, and Dallas Districts reported major disruptions from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Comments are closed.