Economic Update – September 12, 2011

Retail sales fell 0.7% for the week ending September 3, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 2.7%.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly composite index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 53.3 in August from 52.7 in July. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 21st straight month of expansion in the services sector.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending September 2 fell 4.9%. Refinancing applications decreased 6.3%. Purchase volume rose 0.2%.

The trade deficit decreased to $44.8 billion in July from a revised $51.6 billion in June. Exports rose 3.6% to $178 billion. Imports decreased 0.2% to $222.8 billion.

According to the Federal Reserve, consumer credit debt rose in July by $12 billion for a total credit level of $2.45 trillion. Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, fell by $3.4 billion. Non-revolving debt, including loans for cars, rose by $15.4 billion.

Wholesalers increased their inventories 0.8% to $462.4 billion in July. This followed a revised 0.6% rise in June. Sales at the wholesale level were little changed in July at $396.01 billion. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 15.1% higher since July 2010.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 2,000 to 414,000 for the week ending September 3. Continuing claims for the week ending August 27 fell by 30,000 to 3.7 million.

Economic Update – September 5, 2011

Pending home sales, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, fell 1.3% in July after a 2.4% increase in June. On a year-over-year basis, pending sales are up 14.4%.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index — on a non-seasonally adjusted basis — rose 1.1% in June after a 1% increase in May. On a year-over-year basis, prices fell 4.5% compared with June 2010.

The consumer confidence index fell to 44.5 in August from 59.5 in July. The index was benchmarked at 100 in 1985, a year chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough in consumer confidence.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending August 26 fell 9.6%. Refinancing applications decreased 12.2%. Purchase volume rose 0.9%.

Factory orders rose 2.4% in July to a seasonally adjusted $453.2 billion, following a revised 0.4% decrease in June. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders rose 0.9% in July.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly composite index of manufacturing activity fell to 50.6 in August after a reading of 50.9 in July. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 25th straight month of expansion.

Total construction spending fell 1.3% to $789.5 billion in July, following an upwardly revised 1.6% gain in June. Economists had anticipated an increase of 0.1% in July.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 12,000 to 409,000 for the week ending August 27. Continuing claims for the week ending August 20 fell by 18,000 to 3.7 million. The monthly unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1% in August.

Economic Update – June 14, 2011

Retail sales rose 0.4% for the week ending June 4, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 2.5%.

The trade deficit decreased 6.7% to $43.7 billion in April from a revised $46.8 billion in March. Exports rose 1.3% to $175.6 billion. Imports decreased 0.4% to $219.2 billion.

Wholesalers increased their inventories 0.8% to $447.2 billion in April. This followed a 1.1% rise in March. Sales at the wholesale level rose 0.3% in April to $393.5 billion. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 14.4% higher since April 2010.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending June 3 fell 0.4%. Refinancing applications increased 1.3%. Purchase volume fell 4.4%.

Import prices rose 0.2% in May, following a revised 2.1% increase in April. On a year-over-year basis, import prices are up 12.5%. Export prices rose 0.2% in May. On a year-over-year basis, export prices are up 9%.

According to the Federal Reserve, consumer credit debt rose in April by $6.25 billion for a total credit level of $2.43 trillion. Figures for March were revised from an initial gain of $6 billion to a gain of $4.82 billion. Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, fell by $0.9 billion. Non-revolving debt, including loans for cars, rose by $7.2 billion.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 1,000 to 427,000 for the week ending June 4. Continuing claims for the week ending May 28 fell by 71,000 to 3.68 million.

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