• Due to lapse in Congressional Appropriations for fiscal year 2019, the U.S.  Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. Census Bureau and other statistical offices were closed. There will be no statistical releases by those institutions until further notice.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator for the housing sector, decreased 0.7% in November, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index was down 7.7% from a year ago.
  • The S & P Corelogic Case-Shiller indices showed that the rate of home price increases across the U.S. slowed for the third month in a row. The National U.S. Home Price Index posted an annual increase of 5.5% for the 12 months ending in October. The 10-city composite index increased 4.7% from October 2017 to October 2018, while and 20-city composite index increased 5.0%.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of December 27th showed average fixed mortgage rates continuing their downward trend to end the week and the year lower. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.55% for the week ending December 27, down from last week when it averaged 4.62%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.99%.15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.01%, down from last week when it averaged 4.07%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.44%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 5.8% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending December 14th.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 216 thousand in the week ending December 22, a decrease of a thousand from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 218 thousand, a decrease of 4.75 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index decreased in December, following a modest decline in November. The Index now stands at 128.1 (1985=100), down from 136.4 in November. The Present Situation Index decreased slightly from 172.7 to 171.6, while the Expectations Index declined from 112.3 to 99.1.
  • Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 3.4% in the third quarter of 2018, according to the “third” estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 4.2%.  In the second estimate, released a month ago, the increase in real GDP was 3.5%.
  • Real final sales of domestic product (GDP less change in private inventories) increased 1.0% in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase of 5.4% in the previous quarter.
  • Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 4.3% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 0.9% in the second quarter. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 3.8% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.5% in the second quarter.
  • The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.8% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.4% in the previous quarter. The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index increased 1.6%, compared with an increase of 2.0%. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.6%, compared with an increase of 2.1%.
  • Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment and capital consumption adjustment) increased $78.2 billion in the third quarter, compared with an increase of $65.0 billion in the second quarter. Profits of domestic financial corporations decreased $6.1 billion in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase of $16.5 billion in the second quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $83.0 billion, compared with an increase of $53.0 billion. Rest-of-the-world profits increased $1.3 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $4.5 billion.
  • Personal income increased 0.2% in November, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Disposable personal income (DPI) increased 0.2% and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased 0.4%. Real DPI increased 0.2%, and real PCE increased 0.3%. The PCE price index increased 0.1%. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index also increased 0.1%. The PCE price index increased 1.8% from a year ago, while the core (PCE excluding food and energy) price index increased 1.9%.
  • State personal income increased 4.0% on average in the third quarter of 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, state personal income increased 3.4%. Personal income increased in all states and the District of Columbia. The percent change in personal income across all states ranged from 6.2% in Nevada and Washington to 2.1% in Missouri.
  • The U.S. current-account deficit increased to $124.8 billion (preliminary) in the third quarter of 2018 from $101.2 billion (revised) in the second quarter of 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The deficit increased to 2.4% of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), from 2.0% in the second quarter. The $23.6 billion increase in the current-account deficit reflected a $24.0 billion increase in the deficit on goods.

·      Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for November were up 0.2% from the previous month, and were up 4.2% from November 2017. Excluding motor vehicle & parts, sales were up 0.2% from the previous month, and were up 4.9% from a year ago. Year-to-date, retail sales and food services were up 5.3% from the same period of 2017.

·      Total manufacturing and trade sales for October were up 0.3% from the previous month, and were up 6.1% from October 2017. Total business inventories were up 0.6% from the previous month, and were up 5.2% from a year ago. The inventories/sales ratio was 1.35, compared to 1.36 in October of 2017.

·      Total Industrial production increased 0.6% in November, following a decrease of 0.2% in the previous month. Total Industrial production was up 3.9% from November 2017. The capacity utilization rate was 78.5 in November, 1.4 percentage points below the average for the 1972-2017 period, and 1.4 percentage points above the November 2017 level.

·      The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released prototype statistics for gross domestic product (GDP) by county for 2012-2015.  Combined with BEA’s county estimates of personal income, GDP by county offers a more complete picture of local area economic conditions. In 2015, real (inflation adjusted) GDP increased in 1,931 counties, decreased in 1,159, and was unchanged in 23.  Real GDP ranged from $4.6 million in Loving County, Texas to $656.0 billion in Los Angeles County, California. Of the 138 large counties, those with populations greater than 500,000, real GDP increased in 125 and decreased in 13 in 2015.   Of the 461 medium-sized counties, those with populations between 100,000 and 500,000, real GDP increased in 336, decreased in 120, and was unchanged in 5 in 2015. Of the 2,514 small counties, those with populations less than 100,000, real GDP increased in 1,470, decreased in 1,026, and was unchanged in 18 in 2015.

·      The federal budget had a deficit of $204.9 billion in November, compared with a deficit of $100.5 billion in October and a deficit of $138.5 billion in November of 2017. The cumulative deficit for the first two months of the fiscal year 2019 was $305.4 billion, compared with a deficit of $201.8 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal year.

·      Import prices decreased 1.6% in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, following a 0.5% increase in the previous month. Prices for imports increased 0.7% from November 2017. The price index for exports decreased 0.9% in November, after increasing 0.5% in the previous month. Prices for exports advanced 1.8% over the past year.

·      The producer price index for final demand (headline index) increased 0.1% in November, following an increase of 0.6% in the previous month. The index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade increased 0.3%, following an increase of 0.2% in the previous month. The producer price index for final demand (headline index) increased 2.5% from November 2017 to November 2018, while the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade increased 2.8%.

·      The consumer price index (headline index) held steady in November, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month.  The core index, all items less food and energy, increased 0.2%, the same increase as in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 2.2% for the 12-month period ending in November. The core index also rose 2.2% from a year ago.

·      Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.3% from October to November. This result stems from a 0.2% increase in average hourly earnings combined with no change in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 27 thousand to 206 thousand in the week ending December 8. The 4-week moving average was 224.75 thousand, a decrease of 3.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending December 1 was 1,661 thousand, an increase of 25 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,665.75, a decrease of 2.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average

·      The number of job openings was little changed at 7.1 million on the last business day of October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the month, hires edged up to 5.9 million, and separations were little changed at 5.6 million.

·      A total of 165.2 million persons worked at some point during 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The proportion of the civilian non-institutional population age 16 and over who worked at some time during 2017 was 64.2%, little changed from 2016. The number of persons who experienced some unemployment during 2017 declined by 1.1 million to 14.5 million.

·      Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $36.63 per hour worked in September 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages and salaries averaged $25.03 per hour worked and accounted for 68.3 percent of these costs, while benefit costs averaged $11.60 and accounted for the remaining 31.7 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $34.53 per hour worked in September 2018. Total employer compensation costs for state and local government workers averaged $50.03 per hour worked in September 2018.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates dropped significantly after several weeks of moderating. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.63% for the week ending December 13, down from last week when it averaged 4.75%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.93%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.07%, down from last week when it averaged 4.21%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.36%.

·      Mortgage applications increased 1.6% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending December 7th.

·      Total non-farm payroll employment increased 155 thousand in November, following an increase of 237 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 161 thousand in November, while government employment decreased by 6 thousand. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care. The average monthly increase in employment was 209 thousand over the prior 12 months. In November, job gains occurred in health care, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing.

·      The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7% in November. The unemployment rate was 4.1% in November 2017.

·      The number of unemployed decreased by 100 thousand to 5.975 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 120 thousand to 1.253 million and accounted for 20.8% of the unemployed.

·      The labor force participation rate remained at 62.9% in November, 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 hour to 34.4 hours in November.

·      In November, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 6 cents to $27.35. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 3.1%.

·      Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 2.3% during the third quarter of 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as output increased 4.1% and hours worked increased 1.8%. From the third quarter of 2017 to the third quarter of 2018, productivity increased 1.3%, reflecting a 3.7% increase in output and a 2.3% increase in hours worked. Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased 0.9% in the third quarter of 2018, reflecting a 3.1% increase in hourly compensation and a 2.3% increase in productivity. Unit labor costs also increased 0.9% over the last four quarters.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 4 thousand to 231 thousand in the week ending December 1. The 4-week moving average was 228 thousand, an increase of 4.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending November 24 was 1,631 thousand, a decrease of 74 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,667 thousand, an increase of 0.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.

·      Sales of domestic cars decreased 6.8% in November, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 0.5%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Total vehicle sales were 17.4 million units in November, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.1 million in January 2018, and 17.5 million in November of 2017.

·      New orders for manufactured goods decreased 2.1% in October, while shipments decreased 0.1%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Year-to-date, new orders were up 8.3%, while shipments were up 7.6%.

·      The international trade deficit in goods and services increased to $55.5 billion in October from $54.6 billion in September (revised), as exports decreased to $211.0 billion and imports increased to $266.5 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit was $502.7, an increase of $51.3 billion, or 11.4%, from the same period in 2017.

·      The net worth of households and nonprofits rose to $109.0 trillion during the third quarter of 2018. Domestic nonfinancial debt outstanding was $51.3 trillion at the end of the third quarter of 2018, of which household debt was $15.5 trillion, nonfinancial business debt was $15.0 trillion, and total government debt was $20.8 trillion. Domestic nonfinancial debt expanded 4.4% at an annual rate in the third quarter, while household debt increased 3.4%. Consumer credit grew at an annual rate of 5.4%, while mortgage debt grew 3.1%. Nonfinancial business debt rose at an annual rate of 3.9%. Federal government debt increased 6.8%, while state and local government debt decreased 1.4%.

·      October construction spending was down 0.1% from the previous month, but was up 4.9% from a year ago. Residential construction decreased 0.5%, while nonresidential construction increased 0.1%. Total private construction decreased 0.4% in October, while total public construction increased 0.8%.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates dropping after weeks of moderating. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.75% for the week ending December 6, down from the previous week when it averaged 4.81%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.94%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.21%, down from the previous week when it averaged 4.25%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.36%.

·      Mortgage applications increased 2.0% from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending November 30, 2018.

·      The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in November, and the overall economy grew for the 115th consecutive month.

·      The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey indicated that economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in November, for the 106th consecutive month.