• Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for August were up 0.4% from the previous month, and were up 4.1% from a year ago, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Excluding motor vehicle & parts, retail sales were up less than 0.1% from the previous month and were up 3.5% from a year ago. Year-to-date, retail sales were up 3.3% from the first eight months of 2018.
  • July 2019 sales of merchant wholesalers were up 0.3% from the previous month but were virtually unchanged from the July 2018 level. Inventories of merchant wholesalers were up 0.2% from the previous month and were up 7.1% from a year ago. The July inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers was 1.36 compared with 1.27 a year ago.
  • Total manufacturing and trade sales for July increased 0.3% from June, following a less than 0.1% increase in the previous month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Inventories increased 0.4%, following a less than 0.1% increase in the previous month. The total business inventories/sales ratio was 1.40 in July, compared with 1.35 a year ago.
  • Average expenditures per consumer unit for 2018 were $61,224, a 1.9% increase from 2017 levels, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  During the same period the Consumer Price Index rose 2.4% and average pretax income increased by 6.9%. Nine of the 10 largest components of household spending increased during 2018. The 7.8% rise in personal insurance and pensions expenditures was the largest percentage increase among all major components, followed by a 2.5% rise in food. The only decrease among the largest components was a 5.6% drop in education spending.  
  • Import prices decreased 0.5% in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. Prices for imports decreased 2.0% from August 2018. The price index for exports decreased 0.6% in August, after a 0.2% increase in the previous month. Prices for exports decreased 1.4% over the past year.
  • The producer price index for total final demand increased 0.1% in August, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 0.4%, after a 0.1% decrease in the previous month. The producer price index for final demand increased 1.8% from August 2018 to August 2019, while the index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 1.9%.
  • The consumer price index increased 0.1% in August, following a 0.3% increase as in the previous month. The core index increased 0.3%, the same 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 2.4%.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.4% from July to August. This result stems from 0.4% increase in average hourly earnings, combined with a 0.1% increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 15 thousand to 204 thousand in the week ending September 7th. The 4-week moving average was 212.5 thousand, a decrease of 4.25 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that average 30-year fixed mortgage rate increased slightly but stayed under 3.6% over four consecutive weeks since the fourth quarter of 2016. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.56% for the week ending September 12, up from the previous week when it averaged 3.49%. A year-ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.60%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.09%, up from last week when it averaged 3.0%. A year-ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 4.06%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 2.0% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending September 11th.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, for September increased to 92.0, from 89.8 in August. The Current Conditions Index increased to 106.9 in September, while the Index of Consumer Expectations increased to 82.4.
  • Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 130 thousand in August, following an increase of 159 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 96 thousand, while government employment increased by 34 thousand. Job gains occurred in health care, and financial activities. The average monthly gain in employment was 158 thousand per month thus far this year, below the average monthly gain of 223 thousand in 2018.
  • The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7% in August. The unemployment rate was 3.8% in August 2018.
  • The number of unemployed decreased by 19 thousand to 6.044 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 77 thousand to 1.243 million and accounted for 20.6% of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 77 thousand.
  • The labor force participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage point to 63.2% in August.
  • The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hours to 34.4 hours.
  • In August, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 11 cents to $28.11. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 3.2%.
  • Second quarter productivity increased 2.3% (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the non-farm business sector, following a 3.5% increase in the previous period. Hourly compensation rose 4.9%, while unit labor costs increased 2.6%. From the second quarter of 2018 to the second quarter of 2019, labor productivity increased 1.8%, reflecting increases in output and hours worked of 2.6% and 0.9%, respectively.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 217 thousand in the week ending August 31, an increase of a thousand from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 216.25 thousand, an increase of 1.5 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.4% in July, while shipments decreased 0.2%. Excluding transportation, new orders were up 0.3% in July, and shipments were up 0.2%. Year-to-date manufacturers’ new orders were up 0.4%, while shipments were up 1.8%.
  • Sales of domestic cars increased 0.4% in August, while total light vehicle sales increased 0.7%. Total vehicle sales were 17.0 million units in August, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 16.9 million in August of 2018.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of September 6th showed average fixed mortgage rates moving lower. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.49% for the week ending September 5th, down from last week when it averaged 3.58%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.54%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.00%, down from last week when it averaged 3.06%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.99%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 3.1% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending August 30th.