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Retail Sales – Advanced Estimates – (05-18-2018)

(05-15-18)

The U.S. Census Bureau announced the following advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for April 2018:Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for April 2018, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $497.6 billion, an increase of 0.3 percent (±0.4 percent)* from the previous month, and 4.7 percent (±0.5 percent) above April 2017. Total sales for the February 2018 through April 2018 period were up 4.6 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago. The February 2018 to March 2018 percent change was revised from up 0.6 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 0.8 percent (±0.2 percent). Retail trade sales were up 0.4 percent (±0.5 percent)* from March 2018, and 4.8 percent (±0.5 percent) above last year. Gasoline Stations were up 11.7 percent (±1.6 percent) from April 2017, while Nonstore Retailers were up 9.6 percent (±1.4 percent) from last year.

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NAHB Builder Confidence – (05-15-18)

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose two points to a level of 70 in May after a downwardly revised April reading on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the fourth time the HMI has reached 70 or higher this year. “The solid May report shows that builders are buoyed by growing consumer demand for single-family homes,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “However, the record-high cost of lumber is hurting builders’ bottom lines and making it more difficult to produce competitively priced houses for newcomers to the market.” “Tight housing inventory, employment gains and demographic tailwinds should continue to boost demand for newly-built single-family homes,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “With these fundamentals in place, the housing market should improve at a steady, gradual pace in the months ahead.” Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. The HMI chart gauging current sales conditions increased two points to 76 in May while the indexes measuring buyer traffic and expectations in the next six months remained unchanged at 51 and 77, respectively. Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the West and Northeast held steady at 76 and 55, respectively. Meanwhile, the South and Midwest each edged down one point to respective levels of 72 and 65.

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

(04-24-18)

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential sales statistics for March 2018. New Home Sales: Sales of new single-family houses in March 2018 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 4.0 percent (±18.6 percent)* above the revised February rate of 667,000 and is 8.8 percent (±17.0 percent)* above the March 2017 estimate of 638,000. Sales Price: The median sales price of new houses sold in March 2018 was $337,200. The average sales price was $369,900. For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply: The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 301,000. This represents a

supply of 5.2 months at the current sales rate.

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Consumer Price Index (05-11-18)

(05-10-18)

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis after falling 0.1 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.5 percent before seasonal adjustment. The indexes for gasoline and shelter were the largest factors in the seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index, although the food index increased as well. The gasoline index increased 3.0 percent, more than offsetting declines in other energy component indexes and led to a 1.4-percent rise in the energy index. The food index rose 0.3 percent, with the food at home index rising 0.3 percent and the index for food away from home increasing 0.2 percent. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in April. The shelter index rose 0.3 percent, with other indexes mixed. The indexes for household furnishings and operations, personal care, tobacco, medical care, and apparel all increased in April, while those for used cars and trucks, new vehicles, recreation, and airline fares all declined. The all items index rose 2.5 percent for the 12 months ending April; this figure has been mostly trending upward since it was 1.6 percent for the period ending June 2017. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.1 percent for the 12 months ending April. The food index increased 1.4 percent, and the energy index rose 7.9 percent.

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Conference Board – Consumer Confidence Index – April 2018

(04-24-18)

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® increased in April, following a decline in March. The Index now stands at 128.7 (1985=100), up from 127.0 in March. The Present Situation Index increased from 158.1 to 159.6, while the Expectations Index improved from 106.2 last month to 108.1 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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The Employment Situation 05-04-18

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 164,000 in April, and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, health care, and mining. Household Survey Data: In April, the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent, following 6 months at 4.1 percent. The number of unemployed persons, at 6.3 million, also edged down over the month. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women decreased to 3.5 percent in April. The jobless rates for adult men (3.7 percent), teenagers (12.9 percent), Whites (3.6 percent), Blacks (6.6 percent), Asians (2.8 percent), and Hispanics (4.8 percent) showed little or no change over the month. Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs declined by 188,000 in April to 3.0 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.3 million in April and accounted for 20.0 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 340,000. Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, and the employment- population ratio, at 60.3 percent, changed little in April. The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 5.0 million in April. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or because they were unable to find full-time jobs. In April, 1.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 172,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, there were 408,000 discouraged workers in April, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.0 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in April had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

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Housing Starts and Permitting 04-17-18

(04-17-18)

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for March 2018. Building Permits: Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,354,000. This is 2.5 percent (±1.4 percent) above the revised February rate of 1,321,000 and is 7.5 percent (±1.4 percent) above the March 2017 rate of 1,260,000. Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 840,000; this is 5.5 percent (±1.5 percent) below the revised February figure of 889,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 473,000 in March. Housing Starts: Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,319,000. This is 1.9 percent (±12.4 percent)* above the revised February estimate of 1,295,000 and is 10.9 percent (±10.0 percent) above the March 2017 rate of 1,189,000. Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 867,000; this is 3.7 percent (±11.8 percent)* below the revised February figure of 900,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 439,000. Housing Completions: Privately-owned housing completions in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,217,000. This is 5.1 percent (±16.0 percent)* below the revised February estimate of 1,282,000, but is 1.9 percent (±13.4 percent)* above the March 2017 rate of 1,194,000. Single-family housing completions in March were at a rate of 840,000; this is 4.7 percent (±12.3 percent)* below the revised February rate of 881,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 371,000.

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Gross Domestic Product – 1st quarter (Advance Estimate) 04-27-18

(04-27-18)

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2018, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 2.9 percent. The Bureau emphasized that the first-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see “Source Data for the Advance Estimate” on page 2). The “second” estimate for the first quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on May 30, 2018. The increase in real GDP in the first quarter reflected positive contributions from nonresidential fixed investment, personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, private inventory investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending.  Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased. The deceleration in real GDP growth in the first quarter reflected decelerations in PCE, residential fixed investment, exports, and state and local government spending. These movements were partly offset by an upturn in private inventory investment.  Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decelerated. Current-dollar GDP increased 4.3 percent, or $211.2 billion, in the first quarter to a level of $19.97 trillion. In the fourth quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 5.3 percent, or $253.5 billion. The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.8 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 2.7 percent, the same increase as in the fourth quarter. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 2.5 percent, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent. Personal Income: Current-dollar personal income increased $182.1 billion in the first quarter, compared with an increase of $186.4 billion in the fourth quarter. Decelerations in personal interest income, rental income, and nonfarm proprietors’ income were largely offset by accelerations in wages and salaries and in government social benefits. Personal current taxes decreased $40.1 billion in the first quarter compared with an increase of $50.1 billion in the fourth quarter. Disposable personal income increased $222.1 billion, or 6.2 percent, in the first quarter, compared with an increase of $136.3 billion, or 3.8 percent, in the fourth quarter. Real disposable personal income increased 3.4 percent, compared with an increase of 1.1 percent. Personal saving was $462.1 billion in the first quarter, compared with $379.8 billion in the fourth quarter. The personal saving rate — personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income was 3.1 percent in the first quarter, compared with 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes provisions that impact the personal income statistics in the National Income and Product Accounts. For more information, see the Technical Note.

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Durable Goods – Shipments and New Orders 04-26-18

(04-26-18)

The U.S. Census Bureau announces the March advance report on manufacturers’ shipments, inventories and orders: New Orders: New orders for manufactured durable goods in March increased $6.4 billion or 2.6 percent to $254.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This increase, up four of the last five months, followed a 3.5 percent February increase. Excluding transportation, new orders were virtually unchanged. Excluding defense, new orders increased 2.8 percent. Transportation equipment, also up four of the last five months, drove the increase, $6.4 billion or 7.6 percent to $91.4 billion. Shipments: Shipments of manufactured durable goods in March, up ten of the last eleven months, increased $0.7 billion or 0.3 percent to $250.0 billion. This followed a 0.7 percent February increase. Transportation equipment, up four of the last five months, drove the increase, $1.5 billion or 1.8 percent to $83.4 billion. Unfilled Orders: Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in March, up six of the last seven months, increased $9.3 billion or 0.8 percent to $1,154.0 billion. This followed a 0.3 percent February increase. Transportation equipment, up three of the last four months, led the increase, $8.0 billion or 1.0 percent to $782.8 billion. Inventories: Inventories of manufactured durable goods in March, up twenty of the last twenty-one months, increased $0.3 billion or 0.1 percent to $411.0 billion. This followed a 0.4 percent February increase. Both Fabricated metal products and Machinery led the increase. Fabricated metal products, up fifteen consecutive months, increased $0.3 billion or 0.6 percent to $52.0 billion. Machinery, up four of the last five months, increased $0.3 billion or 0.4 percent to $70.8 billion. Capital Goods: Nondefense new orders for capital goods in March increased $4.7 billion or 6.0 percent to $83.1 billion. Shipments increased $1.7 billion or 2.2 percent to $76.9 billion. Unfilled orders increased $6.3 billion or 0.9 percent to $716.1 billion. Inventories decreased $0.5 billion or 0.3 percent to $182.5 billion. Defense

new orders for capital goods in March increased $0.1 billion or 0.9 percent to $10.6 billion. Shipments decreased $0.3 billion or 2.7 percent to $10.6 billion. Unfilled orders increased less than $0.1 billion or virtually unchanged to $140.7 billion. Inventories also increased less than $0.1 billion or 0.2 percent to $23.3 billion. Revised February Data:

Revised seasonally adjusted February figures for all manufacturing industries were: new orders, $499.3 billion (revised from $498.0 billion); shipments, $500.0 billion (revised from $500.5 billion); unfilled orders, $1,144.7 billion (revised from $1,142.8 billion) and total inventories, $675.1 billion (revised from $675.2 billion).

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Conference Board – Leading Economic Index 04-19-18

(04-19-18)

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3 percent in March to 109.0 (2016 = 100), following a 0.7 percent increase in February, and a 0.8 percent increase in January. “The U.S. LEI increased in March, and while the monthly gain is slower than in previous months, its six-month growth rate increased further and points to continued solid growth in the U.S. economy for the rest of the year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “The strengths among the components of the leading index have been very widespread over the last six months. However, labor market components made negative contributions in March and bear watching in the near future.” The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in March to 103.4 (2016 = 100), following a 0.4 percent increase in February, and a 0.1 percent decline in January. The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index (LAG) for the U.S. increased 0.1 percent in March to 104.5 (2016 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in February and a 0.3 percent increase in January.