Category Archives: Economic Alert

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 [...]

Construction and Manufacturing Surprise to Upside

Construction spending jumped 1.8% in July from June, much more than most expected. Gains were greater in the public sector than in the private sector, as highway and street construction picked up to some extent in response to an unusual volume of repairs that needed to be completed in response to last year’s harsh winter. [...]

Spending and Incomes Flatline in July

Real disposable incomes increased by 0.1% in July after being revised up for the month of June.  The most weakness occurred in wages and salaries. Rental incomes increased, which is keeping investors in the housing market, particularly in the Midwest where foreclosures are still around for investors to flip to rent. Real expenditures were slightly [...]

GDP Q2 Revised to Upside

Real GDP was revised up 0.2% to 4.2% in the second quarter, a pleasant surprise as many had expected a downward revision. Increases were across the board but overall gains were still heavily dependent on a rise in inventories following a sharp drain

Surge in Aircraft Mask Underlying Weakness in Orders

Durable goods orders surged more than 20% in July to the highest level since 1992. Much of that rise, however, was due to a surge in new aircraft orders for Boeing; those have long lag times (up to five years to completion) and can be cancelled if economic conditions change. The remainder of the increases [...]

Broad-Based Losses in New Home Sales

New home sales fell from a 422,000 unit pace in June to a 412,000 unit pace in July; the data for June was revised up slightly, but the sales remain above levels hit a year ago. Losses in the month of July were broad-based with the exception of the South; the South is by far [...]

Housing Starts Increase

Housing starts moved back above the one-million-unit mark again in July, and were revised up for the month of June. This is a highly volatile and unreliable series, but we will take what we can get when it comes to housing; the gains are also corroborated by the survey of home builder confidence,

Autos Drive Gains in IP

Industrial production rose 0.4% in July, supported by outsize gains in vehicle production.  Many plants were running in July when retooling typically occurs to either catch up on losses from interruptions during the winter months or ramp up for an expanded number of new model introductions. Unusually harsh winter weather also accelerated the pace at [...]

Retail Sales Flatline in July

Retail sales disappointed again in July, flatlining after rising only 0.2% in June. Declines were in everything from big-ticket durable goods such as vehicles (some of that could be because of the shift from more expensive trucks into less expensive cars), furniture and appliances to the big-box retailers. Even the large discount chains were hit. [...]