• Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for September were down 0.3% from the previous month, but were up 4.1% from a year ago, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Excluding motor vehicle & parts, retail sales were down 0.1% from the previous month, but were up 3.7% from a year ago. Year-to-date, retail sales were up 3.4% from the first nine months of 2018.
  • Total manufacturing and trade sales for August increased 0.2% from July, the same increase as in the previous month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Inventories held steady, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month. The total business inventories/sales ratio was 1.40 in August, compared with 1.35 a year ago.
  • Total Industrial production decreased 0.4% in September, following a 0.8% increase in the previous month. Total industrial production in September was 0.1% below its level a year earlier. The rate of capacity utilization decreased to 77.5%, 2.3 percentage points below its 1972-2018 average, and 1.8 percentage points below September 2018.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 214 thousand in the week ending October 12, an increase of 4 thousand from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 214.75 thousand, an increase of a thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in September in 7 states, higher in 4 states, and stable in 39 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Seven states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, 2 states had increases, and 41 states and the District had little or no change. Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 3 states in September 2019, decreased in 2, and was essentially unchanged in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, 27 states added nonfarm payroll jobs and 23 states and the District were essentially unchanged.
  • Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 118.4 million full-time wage and salary workers were $919 in the third quarter of 2019 (not seasonally adjusted), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was 3.6% higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.8% in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers over the same period.
  • Housing starts in September were down 9.4% from the previous month, but were up 1.6% from a year ago. Building permits were down 2.7% from the previous month, but were up 7.7% from September 2018.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates increasing. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.69% for the week ending October 17, up from last week when it averaged 3.57%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.85%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.15%, up from last week when it averaged 3.05%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 4.26%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 0.5% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending October 11th.
  • The October 2019 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity grew slightly in New York State, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The headline, general business conditions, index edged up two points to 4.0 in October, while prices paid and prices received indexes decreased.
  • The PhiladelphiaFEDbusiness outlook survey for October indicated continued growth in regional manufacturing. The index for current manufacturing activity in the region decreased to 5.6. Both prices received and prices paid indexes also decreased in October.
  • The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators decreased 0.1% in September, following a 0.2% decrease in the previous month. In the six-month period ending September 2019, the leading economic index increased 0.2% (about a 0.4% annual rate), about the same rate of growth as over the previous six months. The coincident index held steady in September, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month.  The coincident economic index grew by 0.6% (about a 1.1% annual rate) in the six-month period ending in September, slightly slower than the growth of 1.0% (about 1.9% annual rate) over the previous six months.
  • August sales of merchant wholesalers were virtually unchanged from July and were down 0.7% from the August 2018 level, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Total inventories of merchant wholesalers were up 0.2% from the previous month and were up 6.2% from the August 2018 level. The August inventories/sales ratio was 1.36, compared with 1.28 a year ago.
  • Import prices increased 0.2% in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, following a 0.2% decrease in the previous month. Prices for imports decreased 1.6% from September 2018. The price index for exports decreased 0.2% in September, after decreasing 0.6% in the previous month. Prices for exports also decreased 1.6% over the past year.
  • The producer price index for total final demand decreased 0.3% in September, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month.  The index for final demand less foods, energy and trade held steady, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month. The producer price index for final demand increased 1.4% from September 2018 to September 2019, while the index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 1.7%.
  • The consumer price index held steady in September, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. The core index increased 0.1%, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 1.7% for the 12-month period ending in September, while the core index rose 2.4%.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees were unchanged from August to September. This result stems from no change in average hourly earnings, combined with no change in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.
  • The number of job openings was little changed at 7.1 million on the last business day of August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the month, hires edged down to 5.8 million and separations were little changed at 5.6 million.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 210 thousand in the week ending October 5, a decrease of 10 thousand from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 213.75 thousand, an increase of a thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates decreasing. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.57% for the week ending October 10, down from last week when it averaged 3.65%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.90%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.05%, down from last week when it averaged 3.14. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 4.29%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 5.2% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending October 4th.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, for October increased to 96.0, from 93.2 in September. The Index was 98.6 in October 2018. The Current Conditions Index increased to 113.4, from 108.5, while the Index of Consumer Expectations increased to 84.8, from 83.4.

 

  • Total non-farm payroll employment increased 136 thousand in September, following an increase of 168 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 114 thousand in September, while government employment increased by 22 thousand. In September, job gains occurred in health care and in professional and business services. The average monthly gain in employment was 161 thousand thus far in 2019, compared with an average monthly gain of 223 thousand in 2018.
  • The unemployment rate decreased to 3.5% in September, from 3.7% in August. The unemployment rate was 3.7% in September 2018.
  • The number of unemployed decreased by 275 thousand to 5.769 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 71 thousand to 1.314 million and accounted for 22.7% of the unemployed.
  • The labor force participation rate remained at 63.2% in September, and the employment-population ratio was little changed at 61.0%.
  • The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours.
  • In September, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by a cent to $28.09. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 2.9%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 4 thousand to 219 thousand in the week ending September 28. The 4-week moving average was 212.5 thousand, unchanged from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending September 21 was 1,651 thousand, a decrease of 5 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,661.5 thousand, a decrease of 5.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in August than a year earlier in 224 of the 389 metropolitan areas, higher in 132 areas, and unchanged in 33 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 52 metropolitan areas and was essentially unchanged in 337 areas.
  • State personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased on average 5.1% in 2018, compared with a 4.4% increase in 2017, according to by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The percentage change in expenditures across all states ranged from 7.3% in Uah to 3.6% in West Virginia. In 2018, across all states and the District of Columbia, per capita PCE was $42,757. Per capita PCE by state ranged from a high of $55,095 in Massachusetts to a low of $31,083 in Mississippi. Per capita PCE in the District of Columbia was $63,151.
  • New orders for manufactured goods in August decreased 0.1%, following a 1.4% increase in the previous month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.    Shipments decreased 0.1%, after a 0.3% decrease in July. Unfilled orders were up 0.1%, while inventories were down less than 0.1%. Year-to-date, new orders were down 0.1%, while shipments were up 1.4%.
  • The international trade deficit in goods and services increased to $54.9 billion in August from $54.0 billion in July (revised), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. August exports were $207.9 billion, $0.5 billion more than July exports. August imports were $262.8 billion, $1.3 billion more than July imports. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $28.3 billion, or 7.1%, from the same period in 2018. Exports decreased $3.2 billion or 0.2%, while imports increased $25.1 billion or 1.2%.
  • August construction spending was up 0.1% from the previous month but was down 1.9% from a year ago. Residential construction increased 0.9%, while nonresidential construction decreased 0.4%. Total private construction increased less than 0.1% in August, while total public construction increased 0.4%.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed mortgage rates held steady. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.65% for the week ending October 3, slightly up from last week when it averaged 3.64%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 4.71%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.14%, down slightly from the previous week when it averaged 3.16%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 4.15%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 8.1% from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 27, 2019.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector contracted in September, and the overall economy grew for the 125th consecutive month. The headline index was 47.8, a decrease of 1.3 percentage points from the August reading of 49.1. This is the lowest reading since June 2009, the last month of the Great Recession, when the index registered 46.3.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey indicated that economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in September, for the 116th consecutive month. The 13 non-manufacturing industries reported growth and four sector reported contraction in September. In September, the non-manufacturing index was 52.6, 3.8 percentage points lower than the 56.4 in August. This is the lowest reading since August 2016, when the index was 51.8.