• 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.

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