Thursday May 17 2018
US Initial Jobless Claims Rise More than Expected
DOL | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased to 222 thousand in the week ending May 12th, from the previous week's unrevised level of 211 thousand and exceeding market expectations of 215 thousand. It was the highest reading in four weeks.

The 4-week moving average was 213,250, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 216,000. This is the lowest level for this average since December 13, 1969 when it was 210,750. 

According to unadjusted data, the biggest increases in initial claims were recorded in Missouri (+3,682), Kentucky (+2,989), Alabama (+904) and California (+890) while the main declines were seen in Pennsylvania (-1,381), Ohio (-1,214) and New York (-950). Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico (-164) and in the Virgin Islands (-5) have still not returned to normal.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending May 5, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate. 

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 5 was 1,707,000, a decrease of 87,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 1, 1973 when it was 1,692,000. The previous week's level was revised up 4,000 from 1,790,000 to 1,794,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,773,750, a decrease of 39,750 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 22, 1973 when it was 1,756,000. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,000 from 1,812,500 to 1,813,500. 




Wednesday May 16 2018
US Industrial Output Rises More than Expected in April
Federal Reserve | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

US industrial production increased by 0.7 percent month-over-month in April 2018, the same pace as in March and beating market expectations of a 0.6 percent gain. It was the third consecutive monthly increase in output, boosted by advances in both manufacturing and mining production while utilities growth slowed.

Manufacturing production rose 0.5 percent in April, after showing no growth in the previous month. Durable manufacturing went up 0.4 percent (vs 0.2 percent in March), as output rose for machinery (2.3 percent vs -1.1 percent) and computer and electronic products (1.2 percent vs 0.5 percent), but fell for motor vehicles and parts (-1.3 percent vs 2.8 percent) and fabricated metal products (-0.5 percent vs 0.1 percent). In addition, nondurable manufacturing grew 0.5 percent, recovering from a 0.1 percent decline in March, driven by rising output of food, beverage, and tobacco products (0.6 percent vs -1.1 percent), petroleum and coal products (1.2 percent vs 0.3 percent), and chemicals (0.5 percent vs 1.3 percent).

Mining output rose 1.1 percent in April, following a 0.8 percent gain in March, mostly as a result of further gains in the oil and gas sector but was tempered by a drop in coal mining.

The index for utilities advanced 1.9 percent in April after a 6.1 percent jump in March, as output rose for both natural gas (10.3 percent vs 17 percent), as a result of strong demand for heating due to below-normal temperatures; and electric (0.5 percent vs 4.5 percent).

Capacity utilization for the industrial sector climbed 0.4 percentage point in April to 78.0 percent, a rate that is 1.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average.




Wednesday May 16 2018
US Housing Starts at 4-Month Low
Census Bureau | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Housing starts in the US slumped 3.7 percent month-over-month to an annualized rate of 1,287 thousand in April of 2018, following an upwardly revised 3.6 percent rise in March. It is the lowest rate in four months, mainly due to a sharp fall in the multi-family segment. It compares with market expectations of 1,310 thousand rate.

The volatile multi-family segment dropped 12.6 percent to 374 thousand while single-family starts, the largest segment of the market, edged up 0.1 percent to 894 thousand. Overall, housing starts declined in the West (-12 percent to 346 thousand), the Midwest (-16.3 percent to 164 thousand) and the Northeast (-8.1 percent to 114 thousand) but rose in the South (6.4 percent to 663 thousand).

Building permits fell 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,352 thousand, while markets were expecting a bigger 2.3 percent drop to 1,347 thousand. Multi-family authorizations declined 6.3 percent to 493 thousand while single-family permits rose 0.9 percent to 859 thousand. Overall, building permits declined in the West (-13.2 percent to 336 thousand), the Midwest (-4.4 percent to 194 thousand) and the Northeast (-31.9 percent to 92 thousand) but rose in the South (12 percent to 730 thousand).




Tuesday May 15 2018
US Retail Sales Rise 0.3% in April as Expected
US Census Bureau | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

US retail trade rose by 0.3 percent month-over-month in April 2018, following an upwardly revised 0.8 percent surge in March and matching market expectations.

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

Sales at gasoline stations jumped 0.8 percent (vs 0.3 percent in March) and those at food & beverage stores advanced 0.4 percent (vs 0.2 percent in March). In addition, a rebound was seen in sales at gardening and building material stores (0.4 percent vs -1 percent), clothing & clothing accessories stores (1.4 percent vs -0.2 percent), and miscellaneous store retailers (0.9 percent vs -1.1 percent). Sales also rose at: motor vehicle & parts dealers (0.1 percent vs 2.1 percent); furniture & home furniture stores (0.8 percent vs 1.4 percent); general merchandise stores (0.3 percent vs 0.4 percent); and nonstore retailers (0.6 percent vs 0.9 percent).

Meanwhile, sales at health & personal care stores fell the most (-0.4 percent vs 1.1 percent), followed by food services & drinking places (-0.3 percent vs 1.2 percent), electronics & appliance stores (-0.1 percent vs 0.7 percent), and sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores (-0.1 percent vs -0.1 percent).

Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales rose 0.4 percent in April after an upwardly revised 0.5 percent increase in March.

Year-on-year, retail trade grew 4.7 percent in April, compared with a 4.9 percent rise in March.




Friday May 11 2018
US Consumer Sentiment Unchanged in May
University of Michigan | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment for the US was steady at 98.8 in May of 2018, the same as in April and slightly above market expectations of 98.5. Preliminary figures pointed to a small uptick in near term inflation, a fall in income expectations, and stabilization of the unemployment rate at decade lows.

The expectations subindex rose to 89.5 from 88.4 in April while the gauge for current condtions fell to 113.3 from 114.9. Inflation expectations for the year ahead edged up to 2.8 percent from 2.7 percent. The 5-year outlook for inflation was unchanged at 2.5 percent.

The data will thus provide some additional points for both sides in the debate about the timing and number of future interest rate hikes. Eight-in-ten consumers anticipated interest rate hikes during the year ahead, and fewer consumers anticipated further declines in the unemployment rate--although all of the shift was toward the expectation of a stable unemployment rate rather than an increased rate. Consumers have a remarkable track record for anticipating changes in the actual unemployment rate, as shown in the accompanying chart. Overall, the data are consistent with a growth rate of 2.7% in real personal consumption from the second half of 2018 to first half of 2019.




Thursday May 10 2018
US Government Budget Surplus Highest on Record for April
US Treasury | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The US government budget surplus increased to USD 214.25 billion in April of 2018 from USD 182.43 billion in the same month of the previous year. It is the biggest surplus ever for an April month. Figures came better than market expectations of a USD 193.8 billion surplus amid a rise in individual income tax receipts. Also, April 2018 had an additional day of collections. In addition, outlays for Military active duty and retirement, Veterans’ benefits, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicare payments and prescription drug plans accelerated into March, because April 1, 2018, the normal payment date, fell on a non-business day.

In April, receipts jumped 12 percent year-on-year to USD 510 billion as individual income taxes accounted for USD 314 billion; social security taxes for USD 129 billion; corporate income taxes for USD 42 billion and other taxes and duties for USD 25 billion.
 
Outlays rose 8 percent to USD 296 billion as other expenses accounted for USD 108 billion; social security for USD 82 billion; defense for USD 47 billion; interest on debt for USD 35 billion; and Medicare for USD 24 billion.
 
When accounting for calendar adjustments, the government's surplus was USD 150 billion, higher than USD 140 billion in the same month in the previous year.




Thursday May 10 2018
US Inflation Rate Highest in 14 Months
BLS | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Annual inflation rate in the United States edged up to 2.5 percent in April of 2018 from 2.4 in March, matching market expectations. It is the highest rate since February of 2017 amid rises in gasoline, fuel and shelter cost.

Year-on-year, prices rose faster for fuel oil (22.6 percent from 20 percent in March); gasoline (13.4 percent from 11.1 percent); shelter (3.4 percent compared to 3.3 percent); medical care services (2.2 percent from 2.1 percent); food (1.4 percent from 1.3 percent); apparel (0.8 percent from 0.3 percent); and medical care commodities (1.9 percent from 1.4 percent). On the other hand, inflation eased for electricity (1.2 compared to 2.2 percent); transportation services (4.1 percent from 4.3 percent); and utility piped gas service (1 percent from 3.4 percent). Also, prices fell for used cars and trucks (-0.9 percent from 0.4 percent) and new vehicles (-1.6 percent from -1.2 percent). Core inflation which excludes food and energy was flat at 2.1 percent.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.2 percent, rebounding from a 0.1 percent drop in March but below forecasts of 0.3 percent. The indexes for gasoline and shelter made the largest contributions. The gasoline index increased 3.0 percent, more than offsetting declines in other energy component indexes and led to a 1.4-percent rise in the energy index. The food index rose 0.3 percent, with the food at home index rising 0.3 percent and the index for food away from home increasing 0.2 percent. 

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in April, below 0.2 percent in March and forecasts of 0.2 percent. The shelter index rose 0.3 percent, with other indexes mixed. The indexes for household furnishings and operations, personal care, tobacco, medical care, and apparel all increased in April, while those for used cars and trucks, new vehicles, recreation, and airline fares all declined.





Thursday May 10 2018
US Initial Jobless Claims Flat at Near 48-Year Low
DOL | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits stood at 211 thousand in the week ending May 5, keeping initial claims near more than a 48-year low and missing market expectations of 218 thousand.

The 4-week moving average was 216,000, a decrease of 5,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 221,500. This is the lowest level for this average since December 20, 1969 when it was 214,500. 

According to unadjusted data, the main decreases in initial claims were reported for Wisconsin (-1,795), Connecticut (-769), Arkansas (-458) and New Hampshire (-432) while the biggest increases were seen in Ohio (+1,744), Texas (+1,726) and Pennsylvania (+1,649). Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico (-130) and in the Virgin Islands (-9) have still not returned to normal. 

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.3 percent for the week ending April 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 April 28 was 1,790,000, an increase of 30,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 4,000 from 1,756,000 to 1,760,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,812,500, a decrease of 22,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 29, 1973 when it was 1,784,250. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,250 from 1,833,250 to 1,834,500. 


Friday May 04 2018
US Jobless Rate Drops to Near 17-1/2-Year Low
BLS | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The US unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in April 2018 from 4.1 percent in the previous month, and below market expectations of 4 percent. It was the lowest rate since December 2000, as 236 thousand people exited the labor force. The number of unemployed decreased by 239 thousand to 6.35 million and employment was almost unchanged at 155.18 million.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women decreased to 3.5 percent in April. The jobless rates for adult men (3.7 percent), teenagers (12.9 percent), Whites (3.6 percent), Blacks (6.6 percent), Asians (2.8 percent), and Hispanics (4.8 percent) showed little or no change over the month.

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs declined by 188,000 in April to 3.0 million.

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 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 340,000.

The labor force participation rate fell to 62.8 percent in April from 62.9 percent in the previous month, and the employment-population ratio declined to 60.3 percent from 60.4 percent.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 5.0 million in April. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or because they were unable to find full-time jobs.

There were 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force, down by 172,000 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 408,000 discouraged workers in April, little changed 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 1.0 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 04 2018
US Economy Adds 164K Jobs in April
BLS | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Non farm payrolls in the United States increased by 164 thousand in April of 2018, following an upwardly revised 135 thousand in March and well below market expectations of 192 thousand. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, health care, and mining.

In April, employment in professional and business services increased by 54,000. Over the past 12 months, the industry has added 518,000 jobs.

Employment in manufacturing increased by 24,000 in April. Most of the gain was in the durable goods component, with machinery adding 8,000 jobs and employment in fabricated metal products continuing to trend up (+4,000). Manufacturing employment has risen by 245,000 over the year, with about three-fourths of the growth in durable goods industries.

Health care added 24,000 jobs in April and 305,000 jobs over the year. In April, employment rose in ambulatory health care services (+17,000) and hospitals (+8,000).

In April, employment in mining increased by 8,000, with most of the gain occurring in support activities for mining (+7,000). Since a recent low in October 2016, employment in mining has risen by 86,000.

Employment changed little over the month in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in April. In manufacturing, the workweek increased by 0.2 hour to 41.1 hours, while overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.7 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours. 

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents to $26.84. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 67 cents, or 2.6 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $22.51 in April. 

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised down from +326,000 to +324,000, and the change for March was revised up from +103,000 to +135,000. With these revisions, employment gains in February and March combined were 30,000 more than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 208,000 over the last 3 months.