Key Economic Indicators – August 6, 2018

·      Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 157 thousand in July, following an increase of 248 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 170 thousand in July, while government employment decreased by 13 thousand. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, in manufacturing, and in health care and social assistance. The average monthly gain in employment was 203 thousand per month over the prior 12 months.

·      The unemployment rate edged down to 3.9% in July, from 4.0% in June. The unemployment rate was 4.3% in July 2017.

·      The number of unemployed decreased by 284 thousand to 6.280 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 43 thousand to 1.435 million and accounted for 22.7% of the unemployed.

·      The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.9% in July, and has shown no clear trend over the past 12 months.

·      The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hours to 34.5 hours.

·      In July, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 7 cents to $27.05. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 2.7%.

·      Unemployment rates were lower in June than a year earlier in 298 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 61 areas, and unchanged in 29 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 51 metropolitan areas, and was essentially unchanged in 337 areas.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased a thousand to 218 thousand in the week ending July 28. The 4-week moving average was 214.5 thousand, a decrease of 3.5 thousand from the previous week’s average.

·      Sales of domestic cars decreased 1.2% in July, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 3.1%. Total vehicle sales were 16.7 million units in July, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.1 million in January 2018, and 16.7 million in July of 2017.

·      June construction spending was down 1.1% from the previous month, but was up 6.1% from a year ago. Residential construction decreased 0.5% in June, while nonresidential construction decreased 1.6%. Total private construction decreased 0.4% in June, while total public construction decreased 3.5%.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving higher. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.60% for the week ending August 2, up from last week when it averaged 4.54%.

·      The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in July, and the overall economy grew for the 111th consecutive month.

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