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A $6.214 billion increase in public construction was offset by a $5.16 billion drop in private construction, bringing August’s overall construction spending up +0.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,318.5 billion, and a +6.5% gain for the year. Spending for private residential construction dropped by $4.128 billion (-0.7%, +4.0% Y/Y) vs a $1.03 billion (-0.2%, +4.8% Y/Y) drop for private non-residential spending, with nonresidential spending showing a mix of increases (recreation, transportation, healthcare) and decreases (power, commercial, religious). Public construction spending increases were highest for offices, conservation and development, water supply, and recreation, and public spending decreased for commercial structures, transportation, and power.
There were 134,000 new jobs added in September, dropping the unemployment rate by -0.2% to 3.7%, the lowest rate since 1969. In addition the number of jobs created in August was revised upward from 201,000 to 270,000, although August’s hourly earnings increase was revised downward by -0.1% to +0.3%, matching September’s hourly earnings increase. Jobs were created in business services (+54,000), health care (+26,000), transportation (+24,000), construction (+23,000), and manufacturing (+18,000), while jobs were lost in leisure and hospitality (-17,000), although the report cites the effects of Hurricane Florence as a possible factor for these job losses. There was a 4.2% yearly increase in the number workers who had multiple jobs, rising to 7.67 million, with 5.4% of employed women and 4.5% of employed men working two or more jobs. The U-6 unemployment measure, which also includes discouraged and marginally attached workers, rose +0.1% to 7.5%.
Exports dropped by $1.7 billion in August to $209.4 billion, while imports increased $1.5 billion to $262.7 billion, increasing the trade deficit to $53.2 billion (+6.4%). In exports, a $0.2 billion increase in services took away from a $1.9 billion drop in goods. The drop in goods exports were largely due to a $2.4 billion drop in industrial supplies and materials, which include petroleum products, and a loss of $1.2 billion in foods, including a $1.0 billion loss in soybeans, but those losses were buffered by a $1.6 billion increase in consumer goods exports. The increases in imports were primarily due to a $1.0 billion increase in automobiles and a $0.9 billion increase in consumer goods. Trade deficits increased with China (+$1.736 billion to $38.57 billion), Mexico (+$2.3 billion to $8.7 billion), and Japan (+$0.9 billion to $5.8 billion), while the deficit decreased with OPEC members (-$2.0 billion to $1.0 billion).
Wednesday October 10 – Producer Price Index – Final Demand (PPI-FD)
Thursday October 11 – Consumer Price Index (CPI)