· Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for August were up 0.1% from the previous month, and were up 6.6% from a year ago, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Excluding motor vehicle & parts, retail sales were up 0.3% from the previous, and were up 7.3% from a year ago. Year-to-date, retail sales were up 5.7% from the first eight months of 2017.
· Total manufacturing and trade sales for July increased 0.2% from June, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Inventories increased 0.6%, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. The total business inventories/sales ratio was 1.34 in July, compared with 1.39 a year ago.
· Total Industrial production increased 0.4% in August, the same increase as in the previous month. Total industrial production in August was 4.9% above its level a year earlier. The rate of capacity utilization increased 0.2 percentage point to 78.1%, 1.7 percentage points below its 1972-2017 average.
· Import prices decreased 067% in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, following a 0.1% decrease in the previous month. Prices for imports increased 3.7% from August 2017. The price index for exports decreased 0.1% in August, after a 0.5% decrease in the previous month. Prices for exports advanced 3.6% over the past year.
· The producer price index for total final demand decreased 0.1% in August, after holding steady in the previous month. The index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 0.1%, after a 0.3% increase in the previous month. The producer price index for final demand increased 2.8% from August 2017 to August 2018, while the index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 2.9%.
· The consumer price index increased 0.2% in August, the same increase as in the previous month. The core index increased 0.1%, following a 0.2% increase as in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 2.7% for the 12-month period ending in August, while the core index rose 2.2%.
· Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.1% from July to August. This result stems from 0.4% increase in average hourly earnings, combined with a 0.2% increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.
· The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased a thousand to 204 thousand in the week ending September 8th. This is the lowest level for initial claims since December 6, 1969 when it was 202 thousand. The 4-week moving average was 208 thousand, a decrease of 2 thousand from the previous week’s average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 6, 1969 when it was 204.5 thousand.
· The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates jumped over the past week to a level not seen in over a month. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.60% for the week ending September 13, up from the previous week when it averaged 4.54%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.78%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.06%, up from last week when it averaged 3.99%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.08%.
· Mortgage applications decreased 1.8% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending September 7th.
· The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, for September increased to 100.8, from 96.2 in August. This was the second highest level since 2004. The Current Conditions Index increased to 116.1 in September, while the Index of Consumer Expectations increased to 91.1.