- by New Deal democrat
There was a full plate of July monthly data this past week. Industrial production laid a big goose egg, unchanged for July. It is still lower than its recent March peak. The Empire State and Philly Fed indexes declined to slightly less expansionary. Capacity utilization declined. Retail sales were up, but after inflation were flat. The U. Michigan consumer sentiment index declined as to both the present and future expectations. The only unequivocal good news was that both housing permits and starts were up.
Turning to this week's look at the high frequency weekly indicators, let's start with employment metrics, one of which made a major positive breakout:
Initial jobless claims
- 320,000 down -13,000
- 4 week average 332,000 down -3500
The American Staffing Association Index was unchanged at 96. It is up +3.1% YoY
- $80.9 B for the first 11 days of August vs. $76.5 B last year, up +4.4 B or +5.8%
- $139.5 B for the last 20 reporting days vs. $131.6 B last year, up +7.9 B or +6.0%
This week initial claims broke through to the downside of their recent range of between 325,000 to 375,000. Interestingly, it has been at this point in the year for each of the last three years that this same, good, downside breakout has occurred. The 4 week moving average also made a new post-recession low this week. Initial claims have now entered the realm of completely normal readings for an expanding economy.
Temporary staffing had been flat to negative YoY for a few months, but has now also broken out positively. Contrarily, tax withholding, while positive, had one of its worst readings in the last 7 months.
- ICSC -0.2% w/w +2.6% YoY
- Johnson Redbook +3.7% YoY
- Gallup daily consumer spending 14 day average at $103 up $25 YoY
Oil prices and usage
- Oil up +$1.49 to $107.46 w/w
- Gas $3.56 down -0.07 w/w
- Usage 4 week average YoY up +2.6%
Interest rates and credit spreads
- 5.34% BAA corporate bonds up +0.02%
- 2.62% 10 year treasury bonds down -0.02%
- 2.72% credit spread between corporates and treasuries up +0.04%
Mortgage applications from the Mortgage Bankers Association:
- -5% w/w purchase applications
- +4% YoY purchase applications
- -4% w/w refinance applications
- YoY this week +8.7%
Real estate loans, from the FRB H8 report:
- down -7 or -0.2% w/w
- unchanged YoY
- +1.7% from its bottom
- -0.1% w/w
- +2.1% m/m
- +9.4% YoY Real M1
- +0.2% w/w
- +1.1% m/m
- +5.1% YoY Real M2
Railroad transport from the AAR
- -500 carloads down -0.2% YoY
- +3800 carloads or +2.3% ex-coal
- +14,800 or +6.1% intermodal units
- +13,400 or +2.7% YoY total loads
Bank lending rates
JoC ECRI Commodity prices
- up +1.23 to 124.99 w/w
- +6.02 YoY
Everything else was positive. Rail had a very positive week, gas prices were lower, gas usage was higher, house prices were very positive, bank rates were very positive, money supply remained positive, and temporary jobs were positive again.
But the star of the show once again was the American consumer especially as measured by Gallup, this week joined by initial jobless claims, at new post-recession lows measured both at 1 and 4 weeks.
Have a nice weekend.