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The Employment Situation – JANUARY 2018

(02-02-18)

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 200,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment continued to trend up in construction, food services and drinking places, health care, and manufacturing. Household Survey Data: In January, the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for the fourth consecutive month. The number of unemployed persons, at 6.7 million, changed little over the month. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Blacks increased to 7.7 percent in January, and the rate for Whites edged down to 3.5 percent.

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National Association of Home Builders – New Home Sales – JANUARY 2018

(01-25-18)

New Home Sales: Sales of new single-family houses in December 2017 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 625,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 9.3 percent (±11.0 percent)* below the revised November rate of 689,000, but is 14.1 percent (±13.0 percent) above the December 2016 estimate of 548,000. An estimated 608,000 new homes were sold in 2017. This is 8.3 percent (±4.1 percent) above the 2016 figure of 561,000. Sales Price: The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2017 was $335,400. The average sales price was $398,900. For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply: The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 295,000. This represents a supply of 5.7 months at the current sales rate.

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Durable Goods – Shipments and New Orders – DECEMBER 2017

(01-26-18)

New Orders: New orders for manufactured durable goods in December increased $7.0 billion or 2.9 percent to $249.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This increase, up four of the last five months, followed a 1.7 percent November increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.6 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 2.2 percent. Transportation equipment, also up four of the last five months, led the increase, $6.0 billion or 7.4 percent to $87.2 billion. Shipments: Shipments of manufactured durable goods in December, up seven of the last eight months, increased $1.5 billion or 0.6 percent to $246.8 billion.

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Conference Board – Consumer Confidence Index – January 2018

(01-30-18)

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in January, following a decline in December. The Index now stands at 125.4 (1985=100), up from 123.1 in December. The Present Situation Index decreased slightly, from 156.5 to 155.3, while the Expectations Index increased from 100.8 last month to 105.5 this month. The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch.

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Architecture Billings Index – JANUARY 2018

(01-21-18)

Increasing firm profitability remain top business-related concern for the coming year. The year 2017 ended with architecture firms continuing to report strong firm billings. An Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 52.9 for December meant that, for 10 of the year’s 12 months, architecture firms saw increases in billings (any score over 50 indicates billings growth). Firms also continued to report strong backlogs of about six months in December—as they had throughout the year—and inquiries into new projects and the value of newly signed design contracts also remained robust, serving as additional indicators of plenty of work remaining in the pipeline for the coming months.

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Retail Sales – Advanced Estimates – DECEMBER 2017

(01-12-18)

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December 2017, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $495.4 billion, an increase of 0.4 percent (±0.5 percent)* from the previous month, and 5.4 percent (±0.7 percent) above December 2016. Total sales for the 12 months of 2017 were up 4.2 percent (±0.4 percent) from 2016. Total sales for the October 2017 through December 2017 period were up 5.5 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago. The October 2017 to November 2017 percent change was revised from up 0.8 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 0.9 percent (±0.2 percent). Retail trade sales were up 0.3 percent (±0.5 percent)* from November 2017, and were up 5.6 percent (±0.7 percent) from last year. Nonstore Retailers were up 12.7 percent (±1.4 percent) from December 2016, while Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 9.9 percent (±2.1 percent) from last year.

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Steel Service Centers – Shipments and Inventory – DECEMBER 2017

(01-16-18)

December shipments increased again for steel and aluminum in the U.S. but declined for both metals in Canada. U.S. Service Center Activity: U.S. service center steel shipments in December 2017 increased 2.8% from December 2016. Steel product inventories increased 6.8% from December 2016. U.S. service center shipments of aluminum products in December increased by 12.5% from the same month in 2016. Inventories of aluminum products increased 1.9% from December a year ago. Canadian Service Center Activity: Canadian service center shipments of steel products in December 2017 decreased by 3.4% from December 2016. Steel product inventories decreased 3.1% from December a year ago. Canadian service center aluminum shipments in December decreased 2.4% from the same month in 2016. Inventories of aluminum products increased 4.7% from December a year ago.

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Housing Starts and Permitting – DECEMBER 2017

(01–18-18)

Building Permits – Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,302,000. This is 0.1 percent (±1.4 percent)* below the revised November rate of 1,303,000, but is 2.8 percent (±1.9 percent) above the December 2016 rate of 1,266,000. Single-family authorizations in December were at a rate of 881,000; this is 1.8 percent (±1.2 percent) above the revised November figure of 865,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 382,000 in December.

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NAHB Builder Confidence – DECEMBER 2017

(01-17-18)

Homebuilder confidence falls from 18-year high, but it’s still strong. The nation’s homebuilders are taking a step back from their tax cut euphoria and starting the year on a slightly less sanguine note. Builder sentiment fell 2 points to 72 in January, according to a monthly survey from the National Association of Home Builders called the housing market index. The downward move comes after the measurement hit an 18-year high in December, following the passage of the Republican tax cut plan. Any reading above 50 is considered positive sentiment. The index stood at 67 in January 2017.

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Gross Domestic Product – 4th quarter (Estimate) 2017

(01-26-18)

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 (table 1), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.2 percent. The Bureau emphasized that the fourth-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency. The “second” estimate for the fourth quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on February 28, 2018. The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), nonresidential fixed investment, exports, residential fixed investment, state and local government spending, and federal government spending that were partly offset by a negative contribution from private inventory investment.

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