• Total non-farm payroll employment rose 164 thousand in April, following an increase of 135 thousand in the previous month.   Private-sector payrolls increased by 168 thousand in the month, while government employment decreased by 4 thousand. In April, job gains occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, health care, and mining.
  • The unemployment rate decreased to 3.9% in April, from 4.1% in March. The unemployment rate was 4.4% in April of 2017.
  • The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls held steady at 34.5 hours. Average hourly earnings increased by 4 cents to $26.84. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 2.6%.
  • The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.3 million in April and accounted for 20.0% of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long term unemployed was down by 340 thousand.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 2 thousand to 211 thousand in the week ending April 28. The 4-week moving average was 221.5 thousand, a decrease of 7.75 thousand from the previous week’s average. This was the lowest level for this average since March 3, 1973 when it was 221.25 thousand.
  • First quarter productivity increased 0.7% (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the non-farm business sector, following a 0.3% increase in the final quarter of 2017. From the first quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018, productivity increased 1.3%, as output increased 3.6%, and hours worked increased 2.2%. Unit labor costs increased 2.7% in the first quarter of 2018, reflecting a 3.4% increase in hourly compensation and a 0.7% increase in productivity.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in March than a year earlier in 302 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 64 areas, and unchanged in 22 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Forty areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0% and five areas had rates of at least 10.0%. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 308 metropolitan areas, decreased in 72 areas, and was unchanged in 8 areas.
  • Personal income increased 0.3% in March, while personal consumption expenditures increased 0.4%. Real disposable personal income increased 0.2% in March, while real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.4%. The personal saving rate – personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income – was 3.1% in March, compared with 3.3% in February.
  • The price index for personal consumption expenditures held steady in March, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The core index increased 0.2%, the same increase as in the previous month. The price index (headline index) was up 2.0% from March 2017, while the core index was up 1.9%.
  • Sales of domestic cars decreased 4.7% in April, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 1.7%. Total vehicle light sales were 17.1 million units in April, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared with 17.0 million in April of 2017, and 17.5 million in April of 2016.
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.6% in March, while shipments increased 0.4%. Excluding transportation, new orders were up 0.3% in March, while shipments were up 0.2%. Year-to-date new orders for manufactured goods were up 7.7% from the same period in 2017, while shipments were up 6.8%.
  • In March international trade deficit was $49.0 billion, $8.8 billion less than the revised February figure. March exports were $208.5 billion, $4.2 billion more than February exports. March imports were $257.5 billion, $4.6 billion less than February imports. Year-to-date the goods and services deficit was $163.4 billion, an increase of $25.5 billion, or 18.5%, from the same period in 2017.
  • March construction spending was down 1.7% from the previous month, but was up 3.6% from March 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau. Private construction decreased 2.1% in March, while public construction held steady.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index inched up 0.4% to a reading of 107.6 in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index was 3.0% below March 2017 level.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving slightly lower. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.55% for the week ending May 3rd, down from last week when it averaged 4.58%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.02%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.03%, up slightly from last week when it averaged 4.02%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.27%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 2.5% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending April 27.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in April, and the overall economy grew for the 108th consecutive month.
  • In April, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 99th consecutive month. All 18 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in April.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1.50% to 1.75%. The Committee indicated that the stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting strong labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2% inflation.  “The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant further gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.”

Comments are closed.