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The number of job openings has exceeded the number of unemployed workers since March, with September having 7.11 million job openings and 5.964 million unemployed workers for a gap of 1.265 million, down from August’s gap of 1.386 million. The number of job openings decreased by 284,000 in September from an upwardly revised high of 7.3 million jobs in August, with fewer openings for business services (-118,000), finance (-82,000), and state and local government (-67,000). The quits rate, which tracks workers who voluntarily leave a job, remained at a 17-year high of 2.4% (3.6 million), layoffs and discharges were relatively constant at 1.1% (1.7 million), and “other” separations (e.g. retirement, disability) were steady at 365,000.
In their November meeting the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) decided by a unanimous vote to leave the federal funds rate at 2 – 2.25%. They maintained their economic assessment that the labor market continued to strengthen, that economic activity rose at a strong rate, and that household spending grew strongly, but they noted that business fixed investment growth had moderated. The next Beige Book containing collected commentary from all federal reserve districts on current economic conditions will be issued on December 5th, two weeks before the next FOMC meeting on December 18th and 19th. Based on previous assessments, the FOMC is expected to raise rates by 0.25% in December.
Increases of +0.7% and +0.6% for final demand services and goods, respectively, pushed wholesale inflation up +0.6% (+2.8% Y/Y) in October compared to a +0.2% (+2.6% Y/Y) increase in September. Removing the effects of the more volatile food, energy and trade sectors brings October’s price index to a +0.2% (+2.8% Y/Y) gain compared to a +0.4% (+2.9% Y/Y) gain in September. On a yearly basis, goods prices fell for foods (-0.7%) but rose for energy (+12.5%). The trade margins received by wholesalers and retailers rose +1.5% overall for the year, with rising margins for building materials (+9.1%), food and alcohol (+8.3%), and garden and farm equipment (+6.4%), and falling margins for gas stations (-9.8%), TV and video (-8.9%), and floor coverings (-6.0%).
Wednesday November 14 – Consumer Price Index
Thursday November 15 – Retail Sales