• The international trade deficit in goods was $69.7 billion in November, up $1.6 billion from $68.1 in October, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Exports of goods for November were $133.7 billion, up $3.8 billion from October. Imports of goods were $203.4 billion in November, up $5.4 billion from the previous month.
  • Retail inventories for November, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $619.1 billion, up 0.1% from the previous month, and were up 1.9% from November 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Wholesale inventories for November, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $610.2 billion, up 0.7% from the previous month, and were up 3.8% from November 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator for the housing sector, inched up 0.2% in November, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index was up 0.8% from a year ago.
  • The S & P Corelogic Case-Shiller National U.S. Home Price Indices posted an annual increase of 6.2% for the 12 months ending in October. The 10-city composite index increased 6.0% from October 2016 to October 2017, while and 20-city composite index increased 6.4%.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of December 28th showed average fixed mortgage rates continuing to inch higher. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.99% for the week ending December 28, up from last week when it averaged 3.94%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 4.32%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.44%, up from last week when it averaged 3.38%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.55%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 4.9% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending December 15th.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 245 thousand in the week ending December 23, unchanged from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 237.75 thousand, an increase of 1.75 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index decreased in December, following a modest increase in November. The Index now stands at 122.1 (1985=100), down from 128.6 in November. The Present Situation Index increased from 154.9 to 156.6, while the Expectations Index declined from 111.0 to 99.1.
  • Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 3.2% in the third quarter of 2017, according to the “third” estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter of 2017, real GDP increased 3.1%.  In the second estimate, released a month ago, the increase in real GDP was 3.3%.
  • Real final sales of domestic product (GDP less change in private inventories) increased 2.4% in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase of 2.9% in the previous quarter.
  • Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 2.0% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.3% (revised) in the second quarter. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 2.6% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.7% in the second quarter.
  • The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.7% in the third quarter of 2017, compared with an increase of 0.9% in the previous quarter. The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index increased 1.5%, compared with an increase of 0.3%. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.3%, compared with an increase of 0.9%.
  • Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment and capital consumption adjustment) increased $90.2 billion in the third quarter, compared with an increase of $14.4 billion in the second quarter. Profits of domestic financial corporations increased $47.8 billion in the third quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $33.8 billion in the second quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $10.4 billion, compared with an increase of $59.1 billion. Rest-of-the-world profits increased $32.0 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $10.8 billion.
  • Personal income increased 0.3% in November, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Disposable personal income (DPI) increased 0.4% and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased 0.6%. Real DPI increased 0.1% in October and real PCE increased 0.4%. The PCE price index increased 0.2%. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.1%. The PCE price index increased 1.8% from a year ago, while the core (PCE excluding food and energy) price index increased 1.5%.
  • State personal income increased 0.7% on average in the third quarter of 2017, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, state personal income increased 0.6%. Increases in earnings and personal current transfer receipts were the leading contributors to the acceleration in personal income in the third quarter. Personal income increased 1.0% in Washington, faster than in any other state. Texas had the next largest increase at 0.9%. South Dakota, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa had the slowest increases in personal income.
  • New orders for manufactured durable goods increased 1.3% in November, while shipments increased 1.0%. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.1%.  Excluding defense, new orders increased 1.0%. Year-to-date, new orders were up 5.4%, and shipments were up 4.1% from the same period a year ago.
  • The U.S. current-account deficit decreased to $100.6 billion (preliminary) in the third quarter of 2017 from $124.4 billion (revised) in the second quarter of 2017, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The deficit decreased to 2.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) from 2.6% in the second quarter. The $23.8 billion decrease in the current-account deficit reflected decreases in the deficits on secondary income and goods and increases in the surpluses on primary income and services.
  • Housing starts in November were up 3.3% from the previous month, and were up 12.9% from November 2016. Year-to-date, housing starts were up 3.1% from the same period a year ago. Building permits in November were down 1.4% from October, but were up 3.4% from a year ago. Year-to-date building permits were up 5.8% from the same period a year ago.
  • Existing home sales in November were up 5.6% from the previous month, and were up 3.8% from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. The median existing home price in November was $248.0 thousand, up 5.8% from November 2016. Total housing inventory at the end of November decreased 7.2% from the previous month, and 9.7% from a year ago, to 1.67 million. Unsold inventory was at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace, compared with 3.9 months in October, and 4.0 months a year ago.
  • November new home sales increased 17.5% to an annualized rate of 733 thousand units. The November figure was 26.6% above the November 2016 figure. The median sales price of new houses sold was $318.7 thousand, 1.2% above November 2016.
  • U.S. house prices increased 0.5% in October, the same increase as in the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA). For the 12 months ending in October, U.S. house prices rose 6.6%.
  • The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo increased 5 points to 74 in December. The Index was 67 in January 2017, and 69 in December of 2016.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average mortgage rates inching up. 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.94% for the week ending December 21, up from last week when it averaged 3.93%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year rate was 4.30%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.38%, up from last week when it averaged 3.36%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year rate was 3.52%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 4.9% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending December 20th. 
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 20 thousand to 245 thousand in the week ending December 16. The 4-week moving average was 236 thousand, an increase of 1.25 thousand from the previous week’s unrevised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending December 9 was 1,932 thousand, an increase of 43 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,923 thousand, an increase of 4.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • The Conference Board’s leading economic index increased 0.4% in November, following a 1.2% increase in the previous month. The coincident index increased 0.3%, the same increase as in the previous month. Over the six-month span through November, the leading index increased 3.0% (about a 6.1% annual rate) with nine out of ten components advancing, while the coincident index increased 1.0% (about a 1.9% annual rate) with all four components advancing.
  • The Philadelphia FED business outlook survey indicated that regional manufacturing activity continued to improve in December.  The general business activity index increased to 26.2 in December, from 22.7 in November.
  • The Chicago Fed National Activity Index declined to 0.15 in November, from 0.76 in October. The index’s three-month moving average, increased to 0.41 in November from 0.31 in October. Forty-two of the 85 individual indicators that make up the Index made positive contributions to the Index in November, while 43 made negative contributions. Thirty-six indicators improved from October to November, while 49 indicators deteriorated. Of the indi­cators that improved, 13 made negative contributions.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment decreased to 95.9 in December, from 98.5 in November. The Index was 98.2 in December of 2016. The Current Conditions Index inched up from 113.5 in November to 113.8 in December, while The Index of Consumer Expectations decreased from 88.9 to 84.3.

·      Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for November were up 0.8% from the previous month, and were up 5.8% from November 2016. Excluding motor vehicle & parts, sales were up 1.0% from the previous month, and were up 5.7% from a year ago. Year-to-date, retail sales and food services were up 4.2% from the same period of 2016.

·      Total manufacturing and trade sales for October were up 0.6% from the previous month, and were up 6.5% from October 2016. Total business inventories were down 0.1% from the previous month, but were up 3.5% from a year ago. The inventories/sales ratio was 1.35, compared to 1.39 in October of 2016.

·      Total Industrial production increased 0.2% in November, after increasing 1.2% in the previous month. Total Industrial production was up 3.4% from November 2016. The capacity utilization rate was 77.1 in November, 2.8 percentage points below the average for the 1972-2016 period.

·      Import prices increased 0.7% in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. Prices for imports increased 3.1% from November 2016. The price index for exports advanced 0.5% in November, after increasing 0.1% in the previous month. Prices for exports advanced 3.1% over the past year.

·      The producer price index for final demand (headline index) increased 0.4% in November, the same increase as in October and September. The index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade increased 0.4%, following an increase of 0.2% in the previous month. The producer price index for final demand (headline index) increased 3.1% from November 2016 to November 2017, while the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade was up 2.4%.

·      The consumer price index (headline index), increased 0.4% in November, following a 0.1% in the previous month.  The core index increased 0.1%, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 2.2% for the 12-month period ending in November, while the core index rose 1.7%.

·      Real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.2% from October to November. This result stems from a 0.2% increase in average hourly earnings being more than offset by a 0.4% increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 11 thousand to 225 thousand in the week ending December 9. The 4-week moving average was 234.75 thousand, a decrease of 6.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates holding relatively flat across the board. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.93% for the week ending December 14, down from last week when it averaged 3.94%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.16%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.36%, unchanged from the previous week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.37%.

·      Mortgage applications decreased 2.3% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending December 8th.

·      The December Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity continued to grow at a solid clip for New York manufacturers. The current business conditions index was 18.0 in December, compared with 19.4 in November.  Prices increased at a faster pace than last month. The prices paid index climbed five points to 29.7, and the prices received index increased two points to 11.6.

·      The Federal Open Market Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1.25% to 1.50%. “The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.”

 

·      Total non-farm payroll employment increased 228 thousand in November, following an increase of 244 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 221 thousand in November, while government employment increased by 7 thousand. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care. Employment growth has averaged 174 thousand per month thus far this year, compared with an average monthly gain of 187 thousand in 2016.

·      The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1% in November. The unemployment rate was 4.6% in November 2016.

·      The number of unemployed increased by 90 thousand to 6.610 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 40 thousand to 1.581 million and accounted for 23.8% of the unemployed.

·      The labor force participation rate remained at 62.7% in November, and has shown no clear trend over the past 12 months.

·      The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in November.

·      In November, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 5 cents to $26.55. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 2.5%.

·      Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 3.0% during the third quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as output increased 4.1% and hours worked increased 1.1%. From the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017, productivity increased 1.5%, reflecting a 3.0% increase in output and a 1.5% increase in hours worked. Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector decreased 0.2% in the third quarter of 2017, reflecting a 2.7% increase in hourly compensation and a 3.0% increase in productivity. Unit labor costs decreased 0.7% over the last four quarters.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 2 thousand to 236 thousand in the week ending December 2. The 4-week moving average was 241.5 thousand, a decrease of 0.75 thousand from the previous week’s unrevised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending November 25 was 1,908 thousand, a decrease of 52 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,912.75 thousand, an increase of a thousand from the previous week’s revised average.

·      Sales of domestic cars decreased 4.1% in November, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 3.7%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Total vehicle sales were 17.3 million units in November, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.3 million in January 2017, and 17.6 million in November of 2016.

·      New orders for manufactured goods decreased 0.1% in October, while shipments increased 0.6%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Year-to-date, new orders were up 5.6%, while shipments were up 4.9%.

·      Sales of merchant wholesalers for October were up 0.7% from the previous month, and were up 8.4% from a year ago, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Inventories decreased 0.5% in October, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. The inventories/sales ratio was 1.25 in October, compared with 1.30 a year ago.

·      The international trade deficit in goods and services increased to $48.7 billion in October from $44.9 billion in September (revised), as exports decreased to $195.9 billion and imports increased to $244.6 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving higher for the week ending December 7th. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.94% for the week ending December 7, up from the previous week when it averaged 3.90%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.13%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.36%, up from the previous week when it averaged 3.30%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.36%.

·      Mortgage applications increased 4.7% from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending December 1, 2017.

·      The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey indicated that economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in November, for the 95th consecutive month.

·      The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, decreased to 96.8 in December, from 98.5 in November. The Index was 98.2 a year ago. The Current Economic Conditions Index increased from 113.5 to 115.9, while the Index of Consumer Expectations decreased from 88.9 to 84.6.

 

·      Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 3.3% in the third quarter of 2017, according to the “second” estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter of 2017, real GDP increased 3.1%.  In the advance estimate, released a month ago, the increase in real GDP was 3.0%.

·      Real final sales of domestic product (GDP less change in private inventories) increased 2.5% in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase of 2.9% in the previous quarter.

·      Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 2.5% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.3% (revised) in the second quarter. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 2.9% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.7% in the second quarter.

·      The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.8% in the third quarter of 2017, compared with an increase of 0.9% in the previous quarter. 

·      The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index increased 1.5%, compared with an increase of 0.3%. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.4%, compared with an increase of 0.9%.

·      Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment and capital consumption adjustment) increased $91.6 billion in the third quarter, compared with an increase of $14.4 billion in the second quarter. Profits of domestic financial corporations increased $60.6 billion in the third quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $33.8 billion in the second quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $12.5 billion, compared with an increase of $59.1 billion. Rest-of-the-world profits increased $18.6 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $10.8 billion.

·      Personal income increased $65.1 billion (0.4%) in October according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Disposable personal income (DPI) increased $66.1 billion (0.5%) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $34.4 billion (0.3%). Real DPI increased 0.3% in October and real PCE increased 0.1%. The PCE price index increased 0.1%. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.2%. The PCE price index increased 1.6% from a year ago, while the core (PCE excluding food and energy) price index increased 1.4%.

 

 

·      The international trade deficit was $68.3 billion in October, up $4.2 billion from $64.1 billion in September, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  Exports of goods for October were $129.1 billion, $1.3 billion less than September exports. Imports of goods for October were $197.4 billion, $2.9 billion more than September imports.

·      Retail inventories for October were down 0.1% from September, but were up 2.6% from October 2016.

·      Wholesale inventories for October were down 0.4% from September 2017, but were up 4.0% (±0.5 percent) from October 2016. 

·      October construction spending was up 1.4% from the previous month, and was up 2.9% from a year ago. Residential construction increased 0.4%, while nonresidential construction increased 2.1%. Total private construction increased 0.6% in October, while total public construction increased 3.9%.

·      October new home sales increased 6.2% to an annualized rate of 685 thousand units. The October figure was 18.7% above the October 2016 figure. The median sales price of new houses sold was $312.8 thousand, 3.3% above September 2016.

·      The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator for the housing sector, increased 3.5% to 109.3 in October, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index is now 0.6% below October 2016.

·      U.S. house prices increased 0.3% in September, following a 0.8% increase in the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA). For the 12 months ending in September, U.S. house prices rose 6.3%. 

·      The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 6.2% annual gain in September, up from 5.9% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 5.7%, up from 5.2% the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 6.2% year-over-year gain, up from 5.8% the previous month.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average mortgage rates moving lower. 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.90% for the week ending November 30, down from last week when it averaged 3.92%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year rate was 4.08%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.30%, down from last week when it averaged 3.32%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year rate was 3.34%.

·      Mortgage applications decreased 3.1% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending November 24th. 

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 2 thousand to 238 thousand in the week ending November 25. The 4-week moving average was 242.25 thousand, an increase of 2.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending November 18 was 1,957 thousand, an increase of 42 thousand from the previous week’s revised level.  . The 4-week moving average was 1,911 thousand, an increase of 18.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.

·      Unemployment rates were lower in October than a year earlier in 341 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 33 areas, and unchanged in 14 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Seventy-four areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0% and two areas had rates of at least 10.0%. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 307 metropolitan areas, decreased in 74 areas, and was unchanged in 7 areas.

·      The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved in October, increased further in November. The Index now stands at 129.5 (1985=100), up from 126.2 in October. The Present Situation Index increased from 152.0 to 153.9, while the Expectations Index rose from 109.0 to 113.3.

·      The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in November, and the overall economy grew for the 102nd consecutive month.