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Both the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Report and the IHS Markit US Manufacturing PMI showed slowing growth in May, albeit at different levels. The ISM report noted that business expansion had softened to the levels seen in early 2016, with exports growing, imports contracting, and customer inventories too low, while the PMI report noted that new orders fell for the first time since August 2009 and that an increasing number of firms were cutting production and employment. The reports differed on employment, with ISM reporting marginally higher employment compared to PMI characterizing employment as rising at the slowest rate since March 2017. Tariffs were cited as having a significant impact on costs in both reports, resulting in growing uncertainty for the future and narrowing profit margins.
Public construction spending rose by 4.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $345 billion in April, balancing a -6.0% drop in private construction spending which fell to $954 billion and leaving overall construction spending unchanged from March. Private spending increased for multifamily homes (+$1.5 billion to $64.8 billion) and transportation (+$526 million to $18.4 billion), but it was not enough to offset drops in manufacturing (-$5.3 billion to $68.3 billion) and commercial structures (-$3.8 billion to $80.7 billion). Public construction spending rose in all categories with the largest increases in highway and street construction (+$7.3 billion to $114.3 billion), educational structures (+$1.6 billion to $80.0 billion), and transportation (+$1.6 billion to $37.0 billion). On a yearly basis, public construction spending was up +15.1%, but a -11.4% drop in private residential construction dragged private construction spending down -6.0% and overall construction spending down -1.2%.
The unemployment rate remained at 3.6% in May as a much smaller than forecast 75,000 nonfarm jobs were created in May and the number of jobs created in March and April were revised downward by -26,000 to 153,000 and by -39,000 to 224,000, respectively. The U-6 unemployment rate, which also includes underemployed and discouraged workers dropped -0.2% to 7.1%. The most jobs were created in professional/business services (+33,000), health care/education (+27,000) and leisure/hospitality (+26,000), while the most jobs were lost in government (-15,000), retail (-7,600), and information (-5,000). The workforce participation rate (62.8%), average workweek (34.4 hours), and monthly wage increase (+0.2%) all remained unchanged in May, but the yearly gain in wages ticked down -0.1% to a +3.1% yearly gain.
Friday June 14 – Retail Sales
Friday June 14 – Industrial Production