• Construction spending during November 2019 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,324.1 billion, 0.6% above the revised October estimate. The November figure is 4.1% above the November 2018 figure. During the first eleven months of this year, construction spending amounted to $1,201.6 billion, 0.8% below the same period in 2018.  Pending on private construction was up 0.4% in November, while spending on public construction was up 0.9%.
  • Mortgage rates decreased slightly during the week, according to Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.72% for the week ending January 2, 2020, slightly down from last week when it averaged 3.74%. A year-ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.51%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.16%, down from last week when it averaged 3.19%. A year-ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.99%.
  • Retail inventories for November, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $661.9 billion, down 0.7% from October 2019, but were up 2.4% from November 2018.
  • Wholesale inventories for November, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $674.7 billion, virtually unchanged from October 2019, and were up 3.2% from November 2018.
  • The international trade deficit was $63.2 billion in November, down $3.6 billion from $66.8 billion in October.  Exports of goods for November were $136.4 billion, $0.9 billion more than October exports. Imports of goods for November were $199.6 billion, $2.7 billion less than October imports.
  • The U.S. net international investment position, the difference between U.S. residents’ foreign financial assets and liabilities, was –$10.95 trillion at the end of the third quarter of 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). At the end of the second quarter, the net investment position was –$10.61 trillion.
  • U.S. assets increased by $286.8 billion, to a total of $28.26 trillion, at the end of the third quarter, driven by increases in financial derivatives other than reserves. U.S. liabilities increased by $624.9 billion, to a total of $39.21 trillion, at the end of the third quarter, reflecting increases in all major categories of liabilities.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in November than a year earlier in 223 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 137 areas, and unchanged in 29 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 51 metropolitan areas and was unchanged in 338 areas.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 2 thousand to 222 thousand in the week ending December 28. The 4-week moving average was 233.25 thousand, an increase of 4.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. This is the highest level for this average since January 27, 2018 when it was 235.75 thousand.
  • Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in December, and the overall economy grew for the 128th consecutive month, according to the Institute for Supply Management. The December PMI registered 47.2, a decrease of 0.9 percentage point from the November reading of 48.1. This is the PMI’s lowest reading since June 2009, when it registered 46.3.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for December increased to 99.3, from 96.8 in November. The Index was 98.3 in December 2018. The Current Conditions Index increased to 115.5, from 111.6, while the Index of Consumer Expectations increased to 88.9, from 87.3.

 

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