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Job openings fell to 7.218 million in July, the lowest level in five months and June’s job openings were revised downward by -100,000 to 7.248 million. Job openings increased for information (+42,000) and mining and logging (+11,000), but fell for wholesale trade (-55,000) and federal government (-11,000). Hires increased by +237,000 to 6.0 million, but that increase was less than the +246,000 increase in separations, which totaled 5.8 million for the month. The largest change in separations was a +130,000 increase in voluntary quits to series high of 3.6 million. Over the past 12 months there have been 69.6 million hires and 67.0 million separations yielding a net gain of 2.6 million jobs.
Prices paid by producers for services grew +0.3% in August but goods prices fell -0.5% to limit overall final demand producer prices to a +0.1% gain for the month, ticking the yearly rate up by +0.1% to 1.8%. A +6.4% increase in guest room rental prices was noted as a major factor in service price increases, while machinery and vehicle wholesaling fell -4.2%. Although food prices dropped for the month, over 80% of the drop in goods prices was attributable to a -2.5% drop in energy prices, which was itself due to a -6.6% drop in gasoline prices. Excluding food and energy prices, producer prices were up +0.3% for the month and +2.3% for the year. Excluding trade services, which measure retail and wholesale prices, in addition to food and energy, prices were up +0.4% for the month and +1.9% for the year.
Retail sales rose +0.4% in August (+4.1% Y/Y), and July’s sales were revised upwards +0.1% to +0.8%. Auto sales showed the strongest monthly gain at +1.8%, followed by nonstore (i.e. internet) retailers at +1.6%, building material/garden supply dealers at +1.4%, and sporting goods/hobby stores at +0.9%. Sales dropped sharply for restaurants (-1.2%), clothing stores (-0.9%), and gasoline stations (-0.9%), which were affected by a drop in the price of gasoline. Sales dropped -1.1% at department stores, which dragged down overall general merchandise sales to a -0.3% drop for the month. On a yearly basis, nonstore retailers gained the most at +16.0%, followed by automobile sales (+6.8%), “miscellaneous” stores (+4.7%), and food and beverage stores (+4.3%). Sales dropped for the year for department stores (-5.4%), electronics & appliance stores (-3.5%), and gasoline stations (-2.3%).
Tuesday September 17 – Industrial Production
Wednesday September 18 – FOMC Meeting Announcement