• 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.

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