Thursday May 18 2017
US Jobless Claims Below 240K For 3rd Week
DOL | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 4K to 232K in latest week, the lowest level since February. It was the third straight week of falls bringing the claims close to values only seen in 1973. Meanwhile, continuing claims fell by 22K to 1898K, the lowest since November 1988.

The 4-week moving average was 2407,50, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 243,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending May 6, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. 

Continuing claims went down to 1,898,000 in the week ended May 6th. The previous week's level was revised up 2,000 from 1,918,000 to 1,920,000. The 4-week moving average was 1946,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since January 19, 1974 when it was 1,920,750. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 1,965,500 to 1,966,000. 




Tuesday May 16 2017
US Industrial Output Rises The Most In 3 Years
Federal Reserve | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

US industrial production increased by 1 percent month-over-month in April 2017, following a downwardly revised 0.4 percent rise in March and beating market expectations of a 0.3 percent gain. It was the largest increase in industrial production since February 2014, as output rebounded for both manufacturing and mining while utilities grew at a slower pace.

Manufacturing production rose 1 percent, recovering from a 0.4 percent drop in March, as a result of widespread increases among its major industries. Durable manufacturing went up 1 percent, boosted by motor vehicles and parts (5 percent from -3.6 percent in March), machinery (0.9 percent from -0.4 percent), fabricated metal products (0.5 percent from -0.5 percent) and computer and electronic products (0.1 percent from 1.3 percent). Nondurable manufacturing also grew 1 percent, as output rose for food, beverage, and tobacco products (1.6 percent from -0.5 percent in March), plastics and rubber products (0.9 percent from -2.6 percent), petroleum and coal products (2.5 percent from 2.8 percent), and paper (0.8 percent from -1 percent).

Also, mining output advanced 1.2 percent after falling by 0.4 percent in the previous month; and utilities output rose at a slower 0.7 percent after jumping by 8.2 percent in March.

Compared to the same month of 2016, industrial production rose 2.2 percent, as output rose for manufacturing (1.7 percent) and mining (7.3 percent), but fell for utilities (-0.5 percent).

Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.6 percentage point in April to 76.7 percent, a rate that is 3.2 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2016) average.




Tuesday May 16 2017
US Housing Starts Fall For 2nd Month
U.S. Census Bureau | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Housing starts in the United States went down 2.6 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1172 thousand in April of 2017, following a downwardly revised 1203 thousand in the previous month and worse than market expectations of a 3.7 percent rise. It is the weakest construction activity in five months as starts fell in the South and the Northeast.

The volatile multi-family segment declined 9.6 percent to 328 thousand while single-family, the largest segment of the market edged up 0.4 percent to 835 thousand. Starts slumped in the Northeast (-37.3 percent to 79 thousand) and the South (-9.1 percent to 592 thousand) but rose in the Midwest (41.1 percent to 206 thousand) and the West (5.4 percent to 295 thousand). 

Also, building permits dropped 2.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1229 thousand from a revised 1260 thousand and compared to market expectations of 1270 thousand. Single-family authorizations dropped 4.5 percent to 789 thousand while multi-family permits rose 1.4 percent to 440 thousand. Among regions, building permits declined in the Northeast (-10.3 percent) and in the South (-7.4 percent) but rose in the West (8.7 percent) and in the Midwest (1 percent).




Friday May 12 2017
US Consumer Sentiment At 4-Month High
University of Michigan | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment for the United States rose to 97.7 in May of 2017 from 97 in the previous month, according to preliminary estimates. Figures beat market forecasts of 97, boosted by an improvement in future expectations.

The barometer for current economic conditions was unchanged at 112.7 while the gauge of future expectations increased to 88.1 from 87.

Americans expect the inflation rate to be 2.6 percent next year (2.5 percent in April) and 2.3 percent in the next 5 years (2.4 percent in April).

The recent stability in consumer sentiment masks two important underlying shifts in the components as well as in the partisan divide. More favorable income gains and low inflation meant that consumers held the most favorable real income expectations in a dozen years. Buying plans, however, were mixed: household durables rose to a decade peak, while vehicle buying conditions slipped to a three year low. Home buying conditions were viewed less favorably, but were offset by the most favorable views about home selling in more than a decade. The partisan difference in the Expectations Index is still huge, but the gap between Democrats and Republicans narrowed slightly to 55 Index points from 65 three months ago, mainly due to Democrats expressing diminished fears of an immediate recession and lessened concerns about personal financial setbacks. Overall, personal consumption expenditures are expected to advance at about a 2.3% pace in 2017.





Friday May 12 2017
US Retail Sales Rise Less Than Expected In April
US Census Bureau | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Retail sales in the United States increased by 0.4 percent month-over-month in April 2017, following an upwardly revised 0.1 percent rise in March but missing market expectations of a 0.6 percent gain. The increase was mainly driven by a rebound in sales of motor vehicles and higher receipts at service stations, building material stores and electronics and appliance stores.

9 out of 13 major retail categories showed gains in April while 4 declined.

Motor vehicle sales rebounded by 0.7 percent in April after declining by 0.5 percent in the previous month.

Also, sales at service stations rose 0.2 percent in April, recovering from a 0.4 percent fall in March and those at building material stores went up 1.2 percent after dropping sharply by 1.7 percent. Sales at electronics and appliance stores increased further by 1.3 percent after rising by 2.2 percent in the previous month.

Additional increases were recorded at: Health and personal care stores (0.8 percent from 0.7 percent in March); sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (0.6 percent from -0.3 percent); miscellaneous store retailers (0.1 percent from -0.4 percent); and nonstore retailers (1.4 percent from 1.1 percent).

By contrast, sales fell at: Clothing stores (-0.5 percent from 1.2 percent in March); furniture and home furniture stores (-0.5 percent from 1.5 percent); food and beverages stores (-0.3 percent from 0.7 percent); and general merchandise stores (-0.5 percent from -0.2 percent).

Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales advanced 0.2 percent after rising by an upwardly revised 0.7 percent in March.

Compared to April last year retail sales were up 4.5 percent. 




Friday May 12 2017
US Inflation Rate Lower Than Expected At 2.2%
BLS | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in the United States increased 2.2 percent year-on-year in April of 2017, lower than 2.4 percent in March and below market expectations of 2.3 percent. It is the lowest inflation rate so far this year due to a slowdown in energy, transport and health cost. The monthly index increased 0.2 percent, recovering from a 0.3 percent fall in March and matching forecasts, boosted by prices of shelter, energy, tobacco and food.

Year-on-year, energy prices rose 9.3 percent, lower than 10.9 percent in March. In addition, inflation slowed for services less energy (2.79 percent from 2.9 percent in March), namely transportation services (3.1 percent from 3.8 percent) and medical care (3.1 percent from 3.4 percent). Inflation was steady for shelter (3.5 percent) and food (0.5 percent). 

Annual core inflation, which excludes food and energy eased to 1.9 percent from 2 percent in the previous month. It is the lowest core inflation since October of 2015 and below market expectations of 2 percent.

On a monthly basis, increases in prices for shelter, energy, tobacco, and food were the main contributors to the rise in the CPI. The energy index rose 1.1 percent, with all 3 of its major component indexes rising. The food index gained 0.2 percent, mostly due to a sharp increase in fresh vegetables.

Excluding food and energy, consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent in April after declining 0.1 percent in March. The shelter index went up 0.3 percent, and the tobacco index increased sharply over the month. However, many indexes declined, including those for wireless phone services, medical care, motor vehicle insurance, apparel, used cars and trucks, recreation, and new vehicles.    




Thursday May 11 2017
US Jobless Claims Fall More Than Expected
DOL | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 2 thousand to 236 thousand in the week ended May 6th, 2017 from the previous week's unrevised level of 238 thousand, below market expectations of 245 thousand. It is the lowest figure in four weeks. Meanwhile, the number of continuing claims fell by 61 thousand to 1918 thousand, the lowest figure since November 5th, 1988 when it was 1898 thousand.

The 4-week moving average for initial claims was 243,500, an increase of 500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 243,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending April 29, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

For continuing claims, the previous week's level was revised up 15,000 to 1,979,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,965,500, a decrease of 27,500 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since February 2, 1974 when it was 1,964,250. The previous week's average was revised up by 3,750 from 1,989,250 to 1,993,000. 


Wednesday May 10 2017
US Government Budget Surplus Widens In April
US Treasury | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

The US government posted a USD 182 billion budget surplus in April of 2017, compared to a USD 106.5 billion surplus a year earlier and well above market expectations of USD 175.9 billion deficit. Outlays decreased 18 percent to USD 273 billion while receipts rose by 4 percent to USD 456 billion.

In April, social security accounted for USD 79 billion of total outlays, medicare for USD 22 billion, defense for USD 40 billion, interest on debt for USD 27 billion and other expenses for the remaining USD 104 billion. Regarding receipts, social security and other payroll taxes accounted for USD 123 billion, individual income taxes for USD 249 billion, corporate income taxes for USD 90 billion and other taxes and duties for the remaining USD 24 billion.

Outlays for military active duty and retirement, veterans' benefits, supplemental security income, and medicare payments to health maintenance organizations and prescription drug plans accelerated into March, because April 1, 2017, the normal payment date, fell on a non-business day. The impact of large individual tax deposits resulted in budget receipts of USD 455.6 billion and a surplus of USD 182.4 billion. The Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 shifted the final payment due date for most corporations from mid-March to mid-April. As a result, a significant amount of corporation income tax receipts moved from March to April. 

When adjusting for calendar effects, the April 2017 surplus was USD 145 billion compared with USD 146 billion surplus a year ago.

The fiscal 2017 year-to-date deficit narrowed to USD 344 billion compared with USD 353 billion in the same period of fiscal 2016.




Friday May 05 2017
US Unemployment Rate Falls To Near 10-Year Low
BLS | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

US unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent in April 2017 from 4.5 percent in the previous month, better than market expectations of 4.6 percent. It was the lowest jobless rate since May 2007, as the number of unemployed persons declined by 146 thousand to 7.1 million and the labor force participation rate edged down to 62.9 percent from an 11-month high of 63 percent in March.

Both the unemployment rate, at 4.4 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 7.1 million, changed little in April. Over the year, the unemployment rate has declined by 0.6 percentage point, and the number of unemployed has fallen by 854,000.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men declined to 4.0 percent in April. The jobless rates for adult women (4.1 percent), teenagers (14.7 percent), Whites (3.8 percent), Blacks (7.9 percent), Asians (3.2 percent), and Hispanics (5.2 percent) showed little change. 

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.6 million in April and accounted for 22.6 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 433,000. 

The labor force participation rate was 62.9 percent, changed little in April and has shown little movement over the past year. The employment-population ratio was 60.2 percent, was also little changed over the month but was up by 0.5 percentage point since December. 

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) declined by 281,000 to 5.3 million in April. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs. Over the past 12 months, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons has decreased by 698,000. 

There were 1.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by  181,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, there were 455,000 discouraged workers in April, down by 113,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are  available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in April had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. 




Friday May 05 2017
US Economy Adds 211K Jobs In April, Beats Forecasts
BLS | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Non farm payrolls in the United States increased by 211 thousand in April of 2017, higher than a downwardly revised 79 thousand in March and beating market expectations of 185 thousand. Employment rose in leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, financial activities, and mining.

In April, leisure and hospitality added 55,000 jobs. Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up over the month (+26,000) and has increased by 260,000 over the year.

Employment in health care and social assistance increased by 37,000 in April. Health care employment continued to trend up over the month (+20,000). This is in line with the industry's average monthly job growth during the first quarter of this year but below the average gain of 32,000 per month in 2016. Social assistance added 17,000 jobs in April, with all of the gain in individual and family services.

In April, financial activities added 19,000 jobs, with insurance carriers and related activities accounting for most of the gain (+14,000). Over the year, financial activities has added 173,000 jobs.

Employment in mining rose by 9,000 in April, with most of the increase in support activities for mining (+7,000). Since a recent low in October 2016, mining has added 44,000 jobs, with three-fourths of the gain in support activities for mining.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in April (+39,000). The industry has added 612,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, showed little change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in April. In manufacturing, the workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.7 hours, and overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours. 

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $26.19. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 65 cents, or 2.5 percent. In April, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 6 cents to $21.96.