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The initial estimate for GDP in Q3 2019 showed a slight deceleration to +1.9% compared to +2.0% in Q2, although inflation adjusted after tax disposable income was up +2.9% vs a +2.4% increase in Q2. Consumer spending slowed from a +4.6% increase in Q2 to +2.9% in Q3, with a notable slowing in consumer durable goods spending from +13.0% to +7.5%. Fixed investment spending continued to drop at a relatively steady -1.3% rate, with a gain in residential investment (+5.1%) offsetting a -3.0% drop in nonresidential investment. Trade was also a negative contribution to GDP as a +0.7% increase in exports was offset by a +1.2% increase in imports. A -3.1% drop in energy costs helped drag down consumer inflation to a +1.5% gain and excluding food and energy brought core inflation up to +2.2% for the quarter.
The Federal Reserve announced that it would lower the federal funds target rate by .25% to a range of 1.5% – 1.75%. In its announcement the Committee noted that household spending had been rising at a strong pace but that business fixed investment and exports remained weak. The announcement also removed language saying that it “will act as appropriate” regarding the future path of the federal funds rate, and replaced it with language saying that it would assess the “appropriate path of the target rate”. In a separate implementation note the Committee announced that it had directed the Open Market Desk and the New York Federal Reserve to purchase Treasury bills at least into 2020 Q2 in order to ensure that reserve balances remained at or above the level they were at in early September 2019.
The unemployment rate ticked up from 3.5% to 3.6% in October, with September’s job gains revised substantially higher to 180,000 (+44,000) and October adding a higher than expected 128,000 jobs. Primarily due to the GM strike, automotive manufacturing jobs were down -42,000 for the month, which dragged down overall manufacturing job losses to -36,000, and federal employment was down -17,000 due largely to a -20,000 drop in temporary census workers who had completed their work. The largest job gains were in restaurants (+48,000), professional services (+22,000), and social assistance (+20,000). Average hourly wages were up $0.06/hour to $28.18, remaining at a +3.0% yearly gain which is a 12-month low. The U-6 unemployment rate, which includes underemployed and discouraged workers edged upward from 6.9% to 7.0%, but is down from 7.5% a year previously.
Tuesday November 5 – International Trade
Tuesday November 5 – JOLTS