• Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for October were up 0.3% from September, and were up 5.7% from October 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Excluding motor vehicle & parts, retail sales were up 0.2% from September, and were up 4.4% from a year ago. Year-to-date, retail sales were virtually unchanged from the first 10 months of 2019.
  • Total manufacturing and trade sales for September were up 0.6% from August, while inventories were up 0.7%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The total business inventories/sales ratio was 1.32, compared with 1.40 in September 2019.
  • Total Industrial production increased 1.1% in October, following a 0.4% decrease in the previous month. Total industrial production in October was 5.3% below its level a year earlier. The rate of capacity utilization was 72.8 in October, 0.8 percentage point above September, but 4.2 percentage below October 2019 and 7.0 percentage points below its 1972-2019 average.
  • In 2019, personal income increased in 2,964 counties, decreased in 139, and was unchanged in 10, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Personal income increased 4.0% in the metropolitan portion of the United States and increased 3.5% in the nonmetropolitan portion. In metropolitan counties, the percent change in personal income ranged from 12.1% in Doniphan County, Kansas to negative 5.8% in Stark County, Illinois. In nonmetropolitan counties, it ranged from 34.7% in Sheridan County, Kansas to negative 14.2 percent in Cavalier County, North Dakota.
  • Housing starts in October were up 4.9% and from the previous month and were up 14.2% from October 2019. Building permits in October were unchanged from September and were up 2.8% from a year ago.
  • Existing home sales increased 4.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.85 million in October, from 6.57 million in September, according to the National Association of Realtors. The median existing home price in October was $313.0 thousand, up 15.5% from October 2019. Total housing inventory at the end of October decreased 2.7% from the previous month, and decreased 19.8% from a year ago, to 1.42 million. Unsold inventory was at a 2.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 2.7 months in September, and down from 3.9 months in October 2019.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed mortgage rates dropped, hitting a record low for the thirteenth time this year. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.72% for the week ending November 19, down from last week when it averaged 2.84%. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.66%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.28%, down from last week when it averaged 2.34%. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.15%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 0.3% from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending November 13, 2020.
  • Import prices edged down 0.1% in October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, following an increase of 0.2% the previous month. The October decline was driven by lower fuel prices which more than offset higher nonfuel prices. Exports prices increased 0.2% in October following a 0.6% advance in September. Import prices decreased 1.0% from October 2019 to October 2020, while export prices decreased 1.6%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 31 thousand to 742 thousand in the week ending November 14. The 4-week moving average was 742 thousand, a decrease of 13.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending November 7 was 6,372 thousand, a decrease of 429 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 7,054.5 thousand, a decrease of 525 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.3% for the week ending November 7, a decrease of 0.3 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in September in 30 states, higher in 8 states, and stable in 12 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. All 50 states and the District had jobless rate increases from a year earlier. The national unemployment rate declined by 0.5 percentage point over the month to 7.9 percent but was 4.4 points higher than in September 2019. Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 30 states, decreased in 3 states, and was essentially unchanged in 17 states and the District of Columbia in September 2020. Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 48 states and the District and was essentially unchanged in 2 states.
  • From June 2019 to June 2020, employment decreased in all the 357 largest U.S. counties, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In June 2020, national employment (as measured by the Quarterly County Employment and Wages) decreased to 135.1 million, a 9.4% decrease over the year. Atlantic, NJ, had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 34.2%. Employment in most of the country was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it. Among the 357 largest counties, 352 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. In the second quarter of 2020, average weekly wages for the nation increased to $1,188, an 8.6% increase over the year. Atlantic, NJ, had the largest second quarter over-the-year wage gain at 22.5%. The increases in average weekly wages largely reflect substantial employment loss among lower-paid industries.
  • Manufacturing sector multifactor productivity declined 1.6% in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The multifactor productivity decline in 2019 reflected a 1.1% decrease in sectoral output and a 0.5% increase in combined inputs. Durable manufacturing sector multifactor productivity decreased 1.3% in 2019. The decline reflected a 0.6% decrease in sectoral output and a 0.7% increase in combined inputs. Nondurable manufacturing sector multifactor productivity decreased 1.8% in 2019. The decline reflected a 1.5% decrease in sectoral output and a 0.3% increase in combined inputs.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment decreased to 77.0 in November, from 81.8 in October. The Index was 96.8 in November of 2019. The Current Conditions Index inched down from 85.9 in October to 85.8 in November, while The Index of Consumer Expectations decreased from 79.2 to 71.3.
  • There were 57,564,083 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the world, 1,372,182 deaths, and 36,875,075 recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center (access date and time: 11/21/2020, 1:30 EST). In the United States, there are 11,910,858 confirmed cases, 254,413 deaths, and 4,457,930 recovered cases. The world is struggling to control the spread of the virus.

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