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There was little change from the preceding month in June’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). There were 7.348 million job openings, down by 36,000 (-0.5%) from May, and down 45,000 (-0.6%) from June 2018, but job openings still outnumbered the number of unemployed. The number of hires declined to 5.702 million, down 58,000 (-1.0%) from May and down 131,000 (-2.2%) from a year before, with unfilled openings growing to 22.4% of total job openings compared to 21.1% a year previously. Over the 12 months ending in June there were 69.4 million hires and 66.9 million separations, resulting in a gain of 2.5 million jobs.
Crude oil inventories rebounded by 2.4 million barrels in the week of August 2nd after a drop of -8.5 billion barrels the previous week, as did inventories for both gasoline (up 4.4 million barrels vs down -1.8 million barrels) and distillates (up +1.5 million barrels vs down -0.9 million barrels previously). Gasoline demand dropped slightly to 9.524 million barrels/day (-0.3%) and was down -1.7% from a year previously, with average weekly prices down -$0.027 to $2.688, and down -$0.164 over the year. The U.S. EIA (Energy Information Agency) forecast that OPEC production cuts would balance production increases in the United States and that the market had already incorporated some geopolitical disruptions into crude prices, but noted that additional disruptions could cause prices to increase. The report also outlined the effect of international trade tensions leading to lowered demand, contributing to a downward revision of their global demand forecast for 2019 by 100,000 barrels/day to 10.9 million barrels/day.
A 5.2% increase in gasoline prices helped push wholesale goods inflation up +0.4% in July, but after five consecutive monthly increases, services prices declined by -0.1, which limited the overall price increase to +0.2% for the month and +1.7% for the year. Removing the effects of food and energy price changes brought prices down -0.1% for the month but up 2.1% for the year. Trade services, which measure the change in margins received by wholesalers and retailers, were up +0.1% for the month, and +3.3% for the year, and removing trade services dropped yearly wholesale inflation to +1.7%.
Thursday August 15 – Retail Sales
Friday August 16 – Housing Starts