Friday November 17 2017
US Housing Starts at 1-Year High
U.S. Census Bureau | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Housing starts in the United States jumped 13.7 percent month-over-month to an annualized rate of 1,290 thousand in October of 2017, the highest in a year and beating market expectations of a 5.6 percent rise to 1,180 thousand. It follows an upwardly revised 1,135 thousand in September, which was the lowest reading since September of 2016, mainly due to disruptions caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the South.

Single-family starts, the largest segment of the market, increased 5.3 percent to 877 thousand, led by a 16.6 percent recovery in the South after damages causaded by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Also, the volatile multi-family segment went up 37.4 percent to 393 thousand. Overall, housing starts rose in the South (17.2 percent to 621 thousand), the Midwest (18.4 percent to 212 thousand) and the Northeast (42.2 percent to 145 thousand), but fell in the West (-3.7 percent to 312 thousand).

Building permits increased 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1,297 thousand, higher than 1,225 thousand in September and market expectations of 1,240 thousand. It is the biggest value so far this year. Permits for construction of single-family homes increased 1.9 percent to 839 thousand while for multi-family homes permits rose 13.4 percent to 416 thousand. Permits increased in all main areas: the South (3 percent to 613 thousand), the West (13 percent to 366 thousand), the Midwest (3.8 percent to 192 thousand) and the Northeast (4.1 percent to 126 thousand).

Year-on-year, starts shrank 2.9 percent while permits gained 0.9 percent.




Thursday November 16 2017
US Industrial Output Rises the Most in 6 Months
Federal Reserve | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Industrial production in the United States increased 0.9 percent month-over-month in October of 2017, following an upwardly revised 0.4 percent rise in September and beating market expectations of 0.5 percent. It is the biggest gain in industrial output since April, amid a return to normal operations after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma suppressed production in August and September. Manufacturing and utilities increased while mining fell, as Hurricane Nate caused a sharp but short-lived decline in oil and gas drilling and extraction. Excluding the effects of the hurricanes, the index for total output advanced about 0.3 percent.

Manufacturing output rose 1.3 percent in October, and upward revisions to previous months reduced the decrease estimated for the third quarter to 1.2 percent at an annual rate. In October, the index for durables increased 0.4 percent, and the index for nondurables increased 2.3 percent. Most durable goods industries posted gains, with the largest advance, 1.0 percent, recorded by motor vehicles and parts. Gains were also widespread among nondurable goods producers; notably, the return to more normal levels of production following the hurricanes led to jumps of 5.8 percent for chemicals and 4.0 percent for petroleum and coal products.

In October, the decline of 1.3 percent in mining output reflected reductions in all of its major components. The index for utilities rose 2.0 percent; output in August was revised up from a drop of 4.9 percent to a decline of 1.3 percent, and the rate of change in September was revised down from an increase of 1.5 percent to a decrease of 1.0 percent.

Capacity utilization for manufacturing was 76.4 percent in October, a rate that is 2.0 percentage points below its long-run average. Utilization for durables increased 0.2 percentage point to 75.7 percent, and the operating rate for nondurables rose 1.7 percentage points to 78.1 percent. The operating rate for mines fell 1.3 percentage points to 82.4 percent, and the rate for utilities rose 1.5 percentage points to 77.2 percent.

With modest upward revisions for July through September, industrial production is now estimated to have only edged down 0.3 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter; the previously published estimate showed a decrease of 1.5 percent.




Thursday November 16 2017
US Jobless Claims Highest in 6 Weeks
Anna | anna@tradingeconomics.com

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased by 10 thousand to 249 thousand in the week ended November 11th from the previous week's unrevised level of 239 thousand and above market expectations of 235 thousand. It is the biggest number in six weeks.

Last week marked the 141st straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strong labor market. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller.

The 4-week moving average was 237,750, an increase of 6,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 231,250.

Claims taking procedures continue to be severely disrupted in the Virgin Islands. The ability to take claims has improved in Puerto Rico and they are now processing backlogged claims. 

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.3 percent for the week ending November 4, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (continuing jobless claims) during the week ending November 4 was 1,860,000, a decrease of 44,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 29, 1973 when it was 1,805,000. The previous week's level was revised up 3,000 from 1,901,000 to 1,904,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,887,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since January 12, 1974 when it was 1,881,000. The previous week's average was revised up by 750 from 1,895,250 to 1,896,000. 





Wednesday November 15 2017
US Retail Sales Unexpectedly Rise 0.2% in October
Anna | anna@tradingeconomics.com

Retail sales in the US rose 0.2 percent month over month in October. The reading came above market expectations of no change after purchases surged 1.9 percent in September as people replaced vehicles and items destroyed by hurricanes.

9 of 13 major retail categories showed month-over-month increases. 

Purchases at automobile dealers climbed 0.7% after surging 4.6% in September. Sales also rose rose at: clothing vendors (0.8 percent vs 0.1 percent), furniture stores (0.7 percent vs 0.1 percent), electronics and appliiance stores (0.7 percent vs 0.3 percent),  restaurants (0.8 percent vs 0.1 percent), and sporting goods (1.5 percent vs 0.1 percent). 

In contrast, receipts at gasoline stations fell 1.2 percent after growing 6.4 percent in September. The decline was also observed in purchases of building marterial (-1.2 percent vs 3 percent).

Excluding automobiles and gasoline, purchases rose 0.3 percent after a 0.6 percent gain.

So-called retail-control group sales, which are used to calculate GDP and exclude food services, auto dealers, building materials stores and gasoline stations,  grew 0.3 percent following an upwardly revised 0.5 percent increase in September.

On annual basis, retail sales grew 4.6 percent versus 4.8 percent repoerted in September.





Wednesday November 15 2017
US Inflation Rate Slows to 2%
BLS | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in the United States rose 2 percent year-on-year in October of 2017, below 2.2 percent in September and in line with market expectations. Cost eased for gasoline and fuel oil after hurricane-related production disruptions at oil refineries in the Gulf Coast area gave a boost to energy prices during September and August. Yet, core inflation rose to 1.8 percent, the highest in six months amid rising prices for food, transportation services and medical care.

Year-on-year, energy prices rose 6.4 percent in October, slowing from a 10.1 percent jump in September. Cost eased for gasoline (10.8 percent from 19.3 percent in September), fuel oil (11.7 percent from 15.6 percent) and utility piped gas service (3.2 percent from 3.8 percent) but rose faster for electricity (2 percent from 1.7 percent). Meanwhile, inflation slowed for medical care commodities (0.9 percent from 1 percent in September) and was steady at 3.2 percent for shelter. Also, prices fell further for apparel (-0.6 percent from -0.2 percent) and new vehicles (-1.4 percent from -1 percent). On the other hand, prices rose faster for food (1.3 percent from 1.2 percent in September), transportation services (4.2 percent from 3.9 percent) and medical care services (1.9 percent from 1.7 percent). Cost declined less for used cars and trucks (-2.9 percent from -3.7 percent). 

On a monthly basis, consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent, lower than a 0.5 percent rise in September and in line with expectations. The shelter index increased 0.3 percent and was the main driver of the increase. Prices for medical care, used cars and trucks, tobacco, education, motor vehicle insurance, and personal care also went up. On the other hand, the energy index fell, as a decline in gasoline outweighed increases in other energy component indexes and prices of new vehicles, recreation, and apparel also declined. The food index was unchanged over the month. 

Excluding food and energy, consumer prices went up 0.2 percent on the month, above 0.1 percent in September and matching forecasts. Year-on-year, core consumer prices rose 1.8 percent, above 1.7 percent in the previous five months and higher than expectations of 1.7 percent. 




Wednesday November 15 2017
US Retail Sales Rise 0.2% in October
Anna | anna@tradingeconomics.com

Retail sales in the United States rose 0.2 percent month-over-month in October of 2017, slightly below market expectations of no growth but following a upwardly revised 1.9 percent growth in September. 9 of 13 major retail categories showed month-over-month increases.

Purchases at automobile dealers climbed 0.7% after surging 4.6%. So-called retail-control group sales, which are used to calculate GDP and exclude food services, auto dealers, building materials stores and gasoline stations, advanced 0.3% following an upwardly revised 0.5% increase in September.


Monday November 13 2017
US October Budget Deficit Widens Slightly Above Expectations
Mario | mario@tradingeconomics.com

The United States government budget deficit widened to USD 63.2 billion in October 2017 from USD 45.8 billion in the same month of the previous year, and slightly above market expectations of USD 62.0 billion. 

In October of 2017, outlays jumped 11.6 percent year-on-year to USD 299 billion, as medicare outlays accounted for USD 25 billion; interest on debt for USD 28 billion; defense outlays for USD 60 billion; social security for USD 80 billion; and other outlays for USD 105 billion.

Meanwhile, receipts increased 6.2 percent to USD 235 billion as individual income taxes accounted for USD 128 billion; social security for USD 84 billion; other taxes and duties for USD 20 billion and corporate income taxes for USD 4 billion.

Accounting for calendar differences, the deficit widened to USD 116 billion from USD 86 billion in the same month of 2016.





Friday November 10 2017
US Consumer Sentiment Falls From 14-Year High
University of Michigan | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment for the United States fell to 97.8 in November of 2017 from 100.7 in the previous month which was the strongest since January 2004, preliminary estimates showed. The reading came below expectations of 100.7, as current and expected economic conditions deteriorated and consumers expect the inflation to rise in the next year.

The current conditions index went down to 113.6 from 116.5. The gauge of consumer expectations fell to 87.6 from 90.5. 

Also, Americans expect the inflation rate to be 2.6 percent next year, higher than 2.4 percent in October. The 5-year expectation was unchanged at 2.5 percent. 

Consumers (and policy makers) have four key concerns: prospective trends in jobs, wages, inflation, and interest rates. An improving labor market was spontaneously mentioned by a record number of consumers in early November, and anticipated wage gains recorded their highest two-month level in a decade. These favorable trends were countered by a slight rise in year-ahead inflation expectations and a growing consensus that interest rates will increase during the year ahead. Needless to say, the preliminary November data is hardly sufficient to indicate that the persistent strength in the labor market has finally prompted higher inflation. Moreover, consumers anticipated that the size of the changes would be rather small, leaving economic conditions largely unchanged at favorable levels. While the expected Fed rate hikes seem to be the right preemptive action, the critical issue is whether income gains will be sufficient to outweigh rate hikes in home and vehicle purchase decisions. Overall, the data are consistent with a 2.7% rise in personal consumption spending in 2018.




Thursday November 09 2017
US Jobless Claims Rise to 1-Month High
DOL | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased by 10 thousand to 239 thousand in the week ended November 4th from the previous week's unrevised level of 229 thousand and above market expectations of 231 thousand.

Claims have been below 300,000 for 139 straight weeks, the longest such stretch since 1970.

The 4-week moving average was 231,250, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 232,500. This is the lowest level for this average since March 31, 1973 when it was 227,750.

Claims taking procedures continue to be severely disrupted in the Virgin Islands. The ability to take claims has improved in Puerto Rico and they are now processing backlogged claims.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending October 28, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 28 was 1,901,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 1,884,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,895,250, a decrease of 750 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since January 12, 1974 when it was 1,881,000. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 1,895,750 to 1,896,000. 


Friday November 03 2017
US Services Sector Rises the Most Since 2005: ISM
ISM | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI index for the United States increased to 60.1 in October of 2017 from 59.8 in September, beating market expectations of 58.5. It is a new high reading since August of 2005, as production, employment and inventories continued to rise and the outlook for business conditions remained positive. It is the 4th time in the whole series the number is above 60.

Increases were seen for business activity/production (60.1 from 59.8); employment (57.5 from 56.8); inventories (52.5 from 51.5) and new export orders (60 from 56). Also, price pressures slowed (62.7 from 66.3), backlog of orders eased (53.5 from 56) and supplier deliveries were flat at 58. On the other hand, general new orders slowed slightly (62.8 from 63).

The 16 non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in October — listed in order — are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Construction; Transportation & Warehousing; Mining; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Utilities; Other Services; Wholesale Trade; Management of Companies & Support Services; Retail Trade; Finance & Insurance; Health Care & Social Assistance; Public Administration; Information; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; and Accommodation & Food Services. The two industries reporting contraction in October are: Educational Services; and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation.