Category Archives: Economic Alert

Trade Deficit Widens as Emerging Economies Sputter

The trade deficit widened in August to $48.3 billion, up from a revised $41.8 billion in July, in a further sign that weakness abroad is creating headwinds for the American domestic economy. Exports declined by 2%,

Manufacturing Weak but Construction Is on the Mend

The ISM index of manufacturing activity slowed to 50.2 in September, which suggests that overall manufacturing activity is still expanding but only slightly.

GDP Data Put Yellen on Solid Footing

Real GDP was revised up to a 3.9% pace in the second quarter, 0.2% higher than previously reported. Average growth in the first half of 2015 is now tracking at 2.3%, well above the economy’s potential.

New Home Sales Rise: South Leads the Way

In August 552,000 new homes were sold, 30,000 more than were sold in July. Much of the increase was driven by a pop in sales in the South, with the West and Northeast posting modest increases as well.

Orders Moderate for Durable Goods

Durable goods orders fell 2% in August, well in line with expectations after two months of strong gains. Both aircraft and vehicle orders accounted for the decline. Transportation equipment had been a driver of gains earlier this summer. Core capital goods orders (excluding aircraft and defense) also retreated a bit after two robust months. Core [...]

Existing Home Sales Pulled Back in August

Existing home sales pulled back in August, after posting three consecutive months of growth. Sales were down 270,000 to 5.3 million units sold on an annualized basis. The decline is off of an eight-year high set in July.

Housing Starts Miss Expectations

In August, builders started on 1.126 million homes. That was a slowdown from last month’s downwardly revised data and can be chalked up to the Northeast’s multifamily sector; that continues to pull back after the expiration of tax incentives, which had pulled forward a lot of multifamily starts in the region. Total single-family starts, which [...]

Industrial Production Drops

Industrial production fell a larger-than-expected 0.4% in August after a strong upward revision to July. The volatility in the number was caused by changes in vehicle production, which have proven difficult to capture on a seasonally adjusted basis. Plants that were previously shuttered during July were up and running; that is borrowing from the usual [...]

Retail Revisions Bolster August Report

Retail sales rose 0.2% in August on strong vehicle sales and a sharp uptick in spending at restaurants and bars. That could be a sign of a broader gain in spending on services over the summer.

Construction Spending Higher In June and July

Construction spending surged 0.7% in July and was revised up for the month of June; it is now at the highest level since mid-2008, which is good but still suppressed relative to the bubble. Gains in the private sector offset a drop in the public sector. The rise in single-family home construction outpaced gains