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The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index increased in August to 103.2 (1985=100), up from July’s downwardly revised 95.3. The Present Situation Index, which is based on consumers’ sentiment toward current business conditions and the labor market, increased to 145.4 from 139.7 in July. The expectations index, based on consumers’ six-month outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions also moved up to 75.1 in August from 65.6 the previous month. “Consumer confidence increased in August after falling for three straight months,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The Present Situation Index recorded a gain for the first time since March. The Expectations Index likewise improved from July’s 9-year low, but remains below a reading of 80, suggesting recession risks continue. Concerns about inflation continued their retreat but remained elevated.” The share of consumers planning to buy major appliances, homes, cars, and spend on vacations all increased. The share of consumers that said jobs are currently plentiful reported in at 48.0% down from 49.2% the previous month. Consumers that said jobs are currently hard to get declined to 11.4% from 12.4%.
The ISM® (Institute for Supply Management®) Manufacturing PMI® for August reported in at 52.8%, as business activity expanded at the same pace as it did in July, beating most economists’ expectations. The report was mixed with the New Orders Index rising 3.3 points to 51.3%, while the New Export Orders Index was down 3.2 points to 49.4%. Production is just above contraction and prices are tumbling – with the Production Index reporting down 3.1 points to 50.4%, and the Prices Index dropping 7.5 points to 52.5% as compared to July. After three straight months of contraction, the Employment Index bounced back – expanding to 54.2%, 4.3 points higher than in July. Timothy R. Fiore, Chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) commented that “Manufacturing performed well for the 27th straight month. With (1) supplier delivery performance recording its fourth straight month of improvement, (2) price increase growth slowing significantly for the second consecutive month, (3) hiring and total employment both positive and expanding, and (4) lead times easing across all three categories of purchasing activity, the sector is at or approaching supply/demand equilibrium.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 315,000 jobs were added in August, as the unemployment rate increased slightly to 3.7% from 3.5% the previous month. Payrolls are now 240K jobs above pre-pandemic levels. The number of unemployed increased by 344K to 6.0M. June and July’s job gains were revised down by a total of 107K, resulting in the economy recovering the jobs lost during the pandemic occurring in August rather than July. The August increase was led by professional and business services (+68K), followed by healthcare (+48K) retail (+44K), leisure and hospitality (+31K), and manufacturing (+22K). Average hourly earnings increased 0.3% in August. At $32.36 average hourly earnings are up 5.2% from a year ago. The labor force participation rate or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one increased to 62.4% from 62.1% in July as 786K workers entered the labor force, the reading still remains below the pre-pandemic level of 63.4%.
Tuesday September 6 – ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI (August)
Wednesday September 7 – Beige Book
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