·      New orders for manufactured durable goods decreased 1.7% in April, while shipments decreased 0.1%. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.9%, while shipments increased 1.0%. Year-to-date new orders were up 9.6% from the same period a year ago, while shipments were up 7.3%.

·      April existing home sales decreased 2.5% to an annualized rate of 5,460 thousand units, according to the National Association of Realtors. The April figure was 1.4% below the April 2017 figure. There were 1,000 thousand homes for sale at the end of the month. This represents a supply of 4.0 months at the current sales rate, compared to 4.2 in April of 2017. The median sales price of existing homes sold was $257.9 thousand, 5.3% above April 2017.

·      April new home sales decreased 1.5% to an annualized rate of 662 thousand units. The April figure was 11.6% above the April 2017 figure. The median sales price of new houses sold was $312.4 thousand, 0.4% above April 2017.

·      U.S. house prices increased 0.1% in March, following a 0.8% increase in the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA). For the 12 months ending in March, U.S. house prices rose 6.7%. U.S. house prices in the first quarter of 2018, were up 1.7% from the previous quarter, and were up 6.9% from the first quarter of 2017.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moved up over the past week to their highest level since May 5, 2011. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.66% for the week ending May 24, up from last week when it averaged 4.61%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year rate was 3.95%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.15%, up from last week when it averaged 4.08%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year rate averaged 3.19%.

·      Mortgage applications decreased 2.6% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending May 18th.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 11 thousand to 234 thousand in the week ending May 19. The 4-week moving average was 219.75 thousand, an increase of 6.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending May 12 was 1,741 thousand, an increase of 29 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,751.75 thousand, a decrease of 23.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 15, 1973 when it was 1,735.75 thousand.

·      From December 2016 to December 2017, employment increased in 316 of the 346 largest U.S. counties, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Midland, Texas, had the largest percentage increase with a gain of 11.5% over the year, above the national job growth rate of 1.5%. The U.S. average weekly wage increased 3.9% over the year, growing to $1,109 in the fourth quarter of 2017. San Mateo, California, and Ada, Idaho, had the largest over-the-year percentage increases in average weekly wages, with gains of 11.5% each.

·      The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for May decreased to 98.0, from 98.8 in April. The Index was 97.1 in May of 2017. The Current Economic Conditions decreased to 111.8 in May, from 114.9 in April.  The Index of Consumer Expectations increased to 89.1 in May, from 88.4 in April.  

·      The Chicago FED National Activity Index(CFNAI) increased to 0.34 in April, from 0.32 in March. The Index was 0.44 in April of 2017, and negative 0.35 in January of 2018. The index’s 3-month moving average increased to 0.46 in April from 0.23 in March.

·      The Chicago Fed’s National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) ticked down to negative 0.83 in the week ending May 18. The adjusted index (ANFCI), which removes the variation in the individual indicators attributable to economic activity and inflation, edged down to negative 0.58.

·      Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for April were up 0.3% from March, and were up 4.7% from April 2017. Year-to-date, retail sales were up 4.7% from the same period a year ago.

·      Total manufacturing and trade sales for March were up 0.5% from the previous month, and were up 6.4% from a year ago. Total business inventories were virtually unchanged from February, and were up 3.8% from March 2017. The total business inventories/sales ratio was 1.34, compared with 1.38 year ago.

·      Total Industrial production increased 0.7% in April, the same increase as in the previous month. The index was up 3.5% from April 2017. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.4 percentage point in April to 78.0, a rate that is 1.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average.

·      Real state personal income grew on average 1.1% in 2016, after increasing 4.7% in 2015, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Real state personal income is a state’s current-dollar personal income adjusted by the state’s regional price parity and the national personal consumption expenditures price index.  The percent change in real state personal income ranged from 3.3% in Utah and Georgia to negative 3.6% in Wyoming. In the District of Columbia, real personal income grew 4.5%. Across metropolitan areas, the percent change ranged from 6.6% in Jacksonville, NC to  negative 8.1% in Midland, TX and Odessa, TX

·      Manufacturing sector multifactor productivity declined 3.2% in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was the largest annual decline in manufacturing multifactor productivity since the series started in 1987. The multifactor productivity decline in 2016 reflected a 0.4% increase in output and a 3.6% increase in combined inputs. The decrease in multifactor productivity followed a 1.5% decrease in 2015. 

·      Labor productivity increased in 20 of 28 selected service-providing industries in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the same number of industries as in 2016. Output increased in 19 industries in 2017, fewer than in 2016, while hours increased in more industries. Unit labor costs declined in 9 industries in 2017. Each of the industries with declines in unit labor cost also recorded increases in productivity.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 11 thousand to 222 thousand in the week ending May 12. The 4-week moving average was 213.25 thousand, a decrease of 2.75 thousand from the previous week’s average. This was the lowest level for this average since December 13, 1969 when it was 210.75 thousand.

·      Unemployment rates were lower in April in 4 states and stable in 46 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Twelve states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier and 38 states and the District had little or no change. Hawaii had the lowest unemployment rate in April, 2.0%. The rates in California (4.2%), Hawaii (2.0%), and Wisconsin (2.8%) set new series lows (all state series begin in 1976). Alaska had the highest jobless rate (7.3%). In total, 16 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 3.9%, 10 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 24 states had rates that were not very different from that of the nation.

·      Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 3 states in April 2018 and was essentially unchanged in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, 28 states added nonfarm payroll jobs, 1 state lost jobs, and 21 states and the District were essentially unchanged. The largest job gains occurred in California (356.8 thousand), Texas (332.3 thousand), and Florida (178.4 thousand). The largest percentage gain occurred in Nevada (3.4%), followed by Idaho (3.3%) and Utah (3.3%). North Dakota lost jobs over the year (7.9 thousand, or 1.8%).

·      Housing starts in April decreased 3.7% from the previous month, but increased 10.5% from a year ago. Building permits in April decreased 1.8% from March, but increased 7.7% from April 2017.

·      The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo rose to 70 in May, from 68 in April. The Index was 72 in January of 2018, and 69 in May of 2017.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that average fixed mortgage rates reached a new high last seen eight years ago. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.61% for the week ending May 17, up from last week when it averaged 4.55%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.02%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.08%, up from last week when it averaged 4.01%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.27%.

·      Mortgage applications decreased 2.7% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending May 11th.

·      The Philadelphia FED business outlook survey for May indicated that region’s manufacturing activity continued to expand this month. The Index was 34.4 in May, up from 23.2 in April. The prices paid diffusion index fell 3.8 points but remained at an elevated level of 52.6. The current prices received index, reflecting the manufacturers’ own prices, increased 6.6 points to a reading of 36.4, its second consecutive month of increase and highest reading since February 1989. 

·      The May Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that manufacturing activity grew strongly in New York State. The general business conditions index increased 4.3 points to 20.1 in May, from 15.8 in April. The prices paid index moved up 6.6 points to 54.0, its highest level since 2011, indicating a pickup in input price increases. The prices received index rose 2.3 points to 23.0, suggesting ongoing moderate selling price increases.

·      The Conference Board’s leading economic indicators increased 0.4% in April, the same increase as in the previous month. In the six-month period ending April 2018, the leading economic index increased 3.3% (about a 6.7% annual rate) with nine out of ten components advancing. The Conference Board’s coincident economic index increased 0.3% in April, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The coincident economic index rose 1.1 percent (about a 2.2% annual rate) between October 2017 and April 2018, with all four components advancing.

·      Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased in 47 states and the District of Columbia in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Real GDP growth ranged from 5.2% in Texas to negative 1.3% in North Dakota. Durable goods manufacturing increased 7.2 percent nationally and contributed to growth in every state and the District of Columbia. This industry was the leading contributor to the increases in real GDP in five of the ten fastest growing states. In the year 2017, real GDP grew in 47 states and the District of Columbia.  Real GDP growth ranged from 4.4% in Washington to negative 0.2% in Louisiana.

·      Sales of merchant wholesalers in March were up 0.3% from the previous month, and were up 7.3% from a year ago. Inventories were up 0.3% from the previous month, and were up 5.5% from March 2017.  The March inventories/sales ratio was 1.26, compared with 1.28 in March of 2017.

·      The federal government budget ran a surplus of $214.3 billion in April, following a deficit of $208.7 billion in the previous month. The cumulative budget deficit for the first seven months of fiscal year 2018 was $385.4 billion, compared with a deficit of $344.4 billion for the same period of the previous fiscal year.

·      In March, consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 3.6%, according to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 3.0%, while non-revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 6.0%.

·      The import price index increased 0.3% in April, following a 0.2% decrease in the previous month. The export price index increased 0.6%, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month. The import price index increased 3.3% from April 2017, while the price index for exports increased 3.8%.

·      The producer price index for final demand (headline index) increased 0.1% in April, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month.  The index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade increased 0.1%, after an increase of 0.4% in March. The producer price index for final demand increased 2.6% for the 12 months ended in April, while the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade increased 2.5%.

·      The consumer price index (headline index) increased 0.2% in April, following a 0.1% decrease in the previous month. The core index increased 0.1%, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 2.5% for the 12-month period ending in April, while the core index rose 2.1%.

·      Real average hourly earnings for all employees were virtually unchanged from March to April. This result stems from a 0.1% increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.2% increase in the consumer price index.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was unchanged at 211 thousand in the week ending May 5. The 4-week moving average was 216 thousand, a decrease of 5.5 thousand from the previous week’s average. This was the lowest level for this average since December 20, 1969, when it was 214.5 thousand.

·      There were 6.6 million job openings on the last business day of March, the highest figure since the beginning of the series in December 2000. The job openings rate for March was 4.2%, compared with 3.7% a year ago. The number of hires was virtually unchanged at 5.4 million in March. There were 5.3 million total separations, little changed from February.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates were virtually unchanged over the past week. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.55% for the week ending May 10, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.05%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.01%, down from last week when it averaged 4.03%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.29%.

·      Mortgage applications decreased 0.4% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending May 4th.

·      The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for May, preliminary, was unchanged at 98.8. The index was 97.1 in May of 2017.

  • Total non-farm payroll employment rose 164 thousand in April, following an increase of 135 thousand in the previous month.   Private-sector payrolls increased by 168 thousand in the month, while government employment decreased by 4 thousand. In April, job gains occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, health care, and mining.
  • The unemployment rate decreased to 3.9% in April, from 4.1% in March. The unemployment rate was 4.4% in April of 2017.
  • The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls held steady at 34.5 hours. Average hourly earnings increased by 4 cents to $26.84. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 2.6%.
  • The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.3 million in April and accounted for 20.0% of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long term unemployed was down by 340 thousand.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 2 thousand to 211 thousand in the week ending April 28. The 4-week moving average was 221.5 thousand, a decrease of 7.75 thousand from the previous week’s average. This was the lowest level for this average since March 3, 1973 when it was 221.25 thousand.
  • First quarter productivity increased 0.7% (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the non-farm business sector, following a 0.3% increase in the final quarter of 2017. From the first quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018, productivity increased 1.3%, as output increased 3.6%, and hours worked increased 2.2%. Unit labor costs increased 2.7% in the first quarter of 2018, reflecting a 3.4% increase in hourly compensation and a 0.7% increase in productivity.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in March than a year earlier in 302 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 64 areas, and unchanged in 22 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Forty areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0% and five areas had rates of at least 10.0%. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 308 metropolitan areas, decreased in 72 areas, and was unchanged in 8 areas.
  • Personal income increased 0.3% in March, while personal consumption expenditures increased 0.4%. Real disposable personal income increased 0.2% in March, while real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.4%. The personal saving rate – personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income – was 3.1% in March, compared with 3.3% in February.
  • The price index for personal consumption expenditures held steady in March, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The core index increased 0.2%, the same increase as in the previous month. The price index (headline index) was up 2.0% from March 2017, while the core index was up 1.9%.
  • Sales of domestic cars decreased 4.7% in April, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 1.7%. Total vehicle light sales were 17.1 million units in April, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared with 17.0 million in April of 2017, and 17.5 million in April of 2016.
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.6% in March, while shipments increased 0.4%. Excluding transportation, new orders were up 0.3% in March, while shipments were up 0.2%. Year-to-date new orders for manufactured goods were up 7.7% from the same period in 2017, while shipments were up 6.8%.
  • In March international trade deficit was $49.0 billion, $8.8 billion less than the revised February figure. March exports were $208.5 billion, $4.2 billion more than February exports. March imports were $257.5 billion, $4.6 billion less than February imports. Year-to-date the goods and services deficit was $163.4 billion, an increase of $25.5 billion, or 18.5%, from the same period in 2017.
  • March construction spending was down 1.7% from the previous month, but was up 3.6% from March 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau. Private construction decreased 2.1% in March, while public construction held steady.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index inched up 0.4% to a reading of 107.6 in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index was 3.0% below March 2017 level.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving slightly lower. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.55% for the week ending May 3rd, down from last week when it averaged 4.58%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.02%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.03%, up slightly from last week when it averaged 4.02%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.27%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 2.5% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending April 27.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in April, and the overall economy grew for the 108th consecutive month.
  • In April, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 99th consecutive month. All 18 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in April.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1.50% to 1.75%. The Committee indicated that the stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting strong labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2% inflation.  “The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant further 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.”