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The Commerce Department reported advance U.S. retail and food services sales increased 1.7% to a record $638.2B in October, following an upwardly revised 0.8% in September. Retail sales are running 16.3% higher than a year ago. Total sales for August 2021 through October 2021 were up 15.4% year over year. Sales at nonstore retailers climbed 4% while sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 3.8%. Gains were also reported by hardware stores (+2.8%), department stores (+2.2%), sporting goods (+1.5%), and grocery stores (+1.1%). Gas stations increased (+3.9%) and auto dealerships (+1.8%). While sales at food services and drinking places were unchanged, pharmacies (-0.6%) and clothing stores (-0.7%) both posted modest declines. Core retail sales, a measurement that excludes spending on autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services, reported up 1.6%.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported new residential building permits were up 4.0% in October to a seasonally adjusted 1.650M. New residential building permits are running 3.4% above the October 2020 level. Single-family permits were up 2.7% from a revised September figure of 1.041M, multifamily permits increased 6.5% to 528K. All regions saw an increase in permitting activity led by the Midwest (+8.3%), followed by West (+8.1%), Northeast (+4.8%), and South (+0.9%). Privately-owned housing completions reported at 1.242M, unchanged from September’s revised estimate, but down 8.4% from October 2020. Single-family housing completions came in at 929K, 1.7% below September’s revised rate. Housing starts posted a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.520M, a 0.7% decrease over September’s revised 1.530M, but up 7.4% over October 2020. A major contributor to the drop in housing starts was a 3.9% decline in new construction for single-family homes. Multifamily starts posted a 6.8% increase. Regionally, only the Midwest (+5.6%) saw an increase in housing starts.
The Labor Department reported a slight decrease in initial jobless claims for the week ending November 13. The seasonally adjusted initial claims came in at 268,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised level. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility was 272,750 a decrease of 5,750 from the previous week’s revised average, this is the lowest average since March 2020’s 225,500 reading. For the week ending November 6, continuing claims also known as insured unemployment dropped to 1.5%, down 0.1% from the previous week. Continuing claims for the week ending November 6th reported in at 2.08M down 129,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised level. The continuing claims 4-week moving average was 2,157,250, a decrease of 110,000 from the previous week, this is the lowest average since March 2020’s 2,071,750 reading. Unadjusted claims dropped 18,183 to 238,850 for the week ending November 13. The decrease was led by Kentucky (-8,728), followed by Tennessee (-4,148), Michigan (-3,313), and Ohio (-3,535). The decreases helped offset California’s surge of (+6,431). For the week ending October 30, 3.184M people were receiving jobless benefits through state or federal programs, an increase of 618,000 from the previous week’s level. There were some 20.8M weekly claims filed for the comparable week in 2020.
Monday November 22 – Existing Home Sales (October)
Wednesday November 24 – GDP (QoQ) (Q3)
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