• Advance estimates of retail and food services sales increased 7.5% in June, following an increase of 18.2% in the previous month. Sales were up 1.1% from a year ago.
  • Total manufacturing and trade sales were up 8.4%, following a 14.4% decrease in the previous month. Inventories were down 2.3% in May, following a 1.4% in the previous month. Sales in May were down 11.8% from a year ago, and inventories were down 4.8% from May 2019.
  • Total industrial production increased 5.4% in June, following a 1.4% increase in the previous month. The index of industrial production in June was 10.8% below its year-ago level. The rate of capacity utilization for total industry was 68.6%, 11.2 percentage points below its 1972-2019 average, and 9.1 percentage points below its level in June 2019.
  • Housing starts in June were up 17.3% from the previous month but were down 4.0% from June 2019. Building permits in June were up 2.1% from the previous month but were down 2.5% from June 2019. Year-to-date housing starts were up 0.7% and building permits were down 0.4% from the same period a year ago.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that mortgage rates hit the lowest rate in the survey’s history dating back to 1971. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.98% for the week ending July 16, down from last week when it averaged 3.03%. A year-ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.81%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.48%, down from last week when it averaged 2.51%. A year-ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.23%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 5.1% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending July 10, 2020.
  •  The import price index increased 1.4% in June, after a 0.8% increase in the previous month. The export price index increased 1.4%, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month. The import price index decreased 3.8% from June 2019, while export prices decreased 4.4%.
  • The consumer price index (headline index) increased 0.6% in June, following a 0.1% decrease in the previous month. The index for all items less food and energy (the core) index increased 0.2%, following a 0.1% decrease in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 0.6% for the 12-month period ending in June, while the core index rose 1.2%.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 1.7% from May to June. This result stems from a 1.2% decrease in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.6% increase in the consumer price index.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 10 thousand to 1,300 thousand in the week ending July 11. The 4-week moving average was 1,375 thousand, a decrease of 60 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending July 4 was 17,338 thousand, a decrease of 422 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 18,272.25 thousand, a decrease of 737.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 11.9% for the week ending July 4, a decrease of 0.2 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate. It was stated that: “The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims and insured unemployment.  This report now includes information on claimants filing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation claims.”
  • Unemployment rates were lower in June in 42 states, higher in 5 states, and stable in 3 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia had jobless rate increases from a year earlier and one state no change.
  • Nonfarm payroll employment increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in June. Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • The FED’s “Beige Book” indicated that economic activity increased in almost all Districts but remained well below where it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumer spending picked up as many nonessential businesses reopen. Retail sales rose in all Districts, led by a rebound in vehicle sales and sustained growth in the food and beverage and home improvement sectors. Leisure and hospitality spending improved but was well below year-ago levels. Most Districts reported that manufacturing activity moved up, but from a very low level. Home sales increased moderately, but commercial real estate activity stayed at a low level. Outlooks remained highly uncertain largely of the COVID-19 pandemic and the magnitude of its economic implications.
  • There were 13,888,874 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the world, 592,719 deaths, and 7,779,676 recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center (access date and time: 7/17/2020, 14:30 EST). In the United States, there are 3,606,927 confirmed cases, 138,784 deaths, and 1,090,645 recovered cases. The world is struggling to control the spread of the virus.

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