Author Archives: Diane Swonk

Payroll Forecast: Upside Risk to September Employment Numbers

We are looking for nonfarm payrolls to increase by 235,000 for September after adding only 142,000 in August. We estimate private sector employment will expand by 225,000. Risks to our forecast are largely to the upside, given that unemployment claims have been trending lower and employment indicators for the manufacturing and service sectors are on [...]

Durable Goods Better than Headline Suggests

Durable goods orders dropped at an 18.2% pace in August, reversing part but not all of the outsize gains we saw in July. A sharp reversal of the surge in aircraft orders that Boeing saw in the month of July was the reason for the decline. Motor vehicle orders were also down in August

New Home Sales Jump

New home sales jumped at a double-digit pace to a 504,000 unit rate in August after being revised up for the month of July. This is welcome news in a housing market that has been lackluster at best and underscores how picky buyers remain in this market. Realtors complain that anything that is not move-in-perfect [...]

Manufacturing Stays Strong for September

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) flash reading held steady at 57.9 in September, marking the end of the strongest quarter since the survey began in 2007. Employment was particularly strong in this month’s report, which will help to provide an offset to the weakness we saw in August. An improvement in both domestic economic conditions [...]

Investor Interest in Housing Wanes

Existing homes sales slid to a 5.05 million unit pace in August and were revised down slightly to a 5.14 million unit rate in the month of July. Losses were concentrated in the West and South, where investors had been playing an outsized role in supporting sales. All cash buyers slipped to 23% of the [...]

Housing Starts Dip

Housing starts fell below the one million unit threshold again in August, but were revised up slightly for the month of July. Losses were heavily concentrated in the multifamily market, which has been on a tear. The largest losses in multifamily home construction were experienced in the West, where housing shortages are the most acute. [...]

Fed on Path to Slow Exit from QE

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to further reduce its asset purchases by $5 billion each, which brings its current purchases of mortgage-backed securities down to $5 billion per month and its purchases of Treasury bonds down to $10 billion per month. Chair Yellen also went out of her way to reemphasize that the [...]

Inflation Dips on Lower Gas Prices

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) edged 0.2% lower in August, largely on a drop in energy prices. Prices at the pump fell more than 4% alone. All of the savings at the pump is likely to be spent on food, where prices continued to rise during the month.

Industrial Production Slips in August

Industrial production fell 0.1% in the month of August, as vehicle production plummeted after an unseasonably strong July. Production figures for July were also revised down, which underscores how uneven gains remain in the manufacturing sector. Production for housing-related durables such as furniture, appliances and carpeting also fell after slightly,

Strong Retail Sales Help Dispel Employment Worries

Retail sales jumped 0.6% in August, with strong gains in vehicles, housing-related furniture, appliances and electronics. More importantly, those gains were on top of upward revisions to the month of July which, when combined with improving consumer attitudes about prospects for employment, affirm our view that the initial disappointing employment report for the month of [...]