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Personal income gains in August were revised upward to +0.4%, but fell back to a +0.2% increase in September, and inflation and tax adjusted real disposable personal income slowed to a +0.1% monthly gain from +0.2% in August. The personal savings rate continued to slow from a nearly three year high of 7.4% in February to 6.2% with the difference in savings contributing to monthly increases in spending for services (+0.2%) and nondurable goods (+0.1%), but not helping prevent a drop in spending for durable goods (-0.4%). On a yearly basis and adjusted for inflation and taxes, personal income was up +2.9%, and consumer spending increased +3.0%, with increases in spending for durable goods (+6.4%), nondurable goods (+3.3%), and services (+2.4%). Consumer prices increased +2.7% Y/Y for services and +1.4% Y/Y for nondurable goods, but dropped -1.6% Y/Y for durable goods, with yearly core inflation remaining steady at +2.0%.
The unemployment rate remained at 3.7% in October with an increase in the labor force participation rate of +0.2% to 62.9% increasing the number of workers available for the 250,000 new jobs created during the month. Average hourly earnings increased +0.2% to $27.30/hour, and the average number of hours worked ticked up +0.1 hours to 34.5 hours/week. Jobs were created in health care (+36,000), manufacturing (+32,000), and business services (+35,000). While there were +42,000 leisure and hospitality jobs created in October, it is likely that Hurricane Florence lowered the number jobs created in this industry in September, and the two month average of +21,000 jobs is close to the average monthly gain over the previous 12 months. The more comprehensive U-6 unemployment rate, which includes discouraged and underemployed workers, dropped -0.1% to 7.4%, its lowest rate since April 2001.
A +1.5% ($3.8 billion) increase in imports in September more than offset the effects of a +1.3% ($3.1 billion) gain in exports, widening the trade deficit by +1.3% ($0.7 billion) to $54.0 billion. Food exports dropped -$958 million, led by a -$744 million drop in soybeans, but increases of +$1.06 billion for petroleum products and +1.01 billion for nonmonetary gold pushed industrial supply exports up +$2.77 billion, and a +$1.18 billion in civilian aircraft exports helped push capital goods exports up +$1.08 billion. Imports increases were distributed across capital goods and consumer goods categories, with drops in automotive, industrial supply and food imports. Per country, the largest trade deficit was with China (+$3 billion to $47.7 billion), followed by the European Union (+$14.2 billion), and Mexico (+$7.6 billion), and the largest surpluses were with South and Central America (+$3.2 billion), Hong Kong (+$2.4 billion), and Brazil (+$0.6 billion).
Thursday November 8 – FOMC Meeting Announcement
Friday November 9 – Producer Price Index – Final Demand (PPI-FD)
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