Last Week in the News


Retail sales increased 1.4% in October, following a revised 2.3% decrease in September. The gain was led largely by a 7.4% jump in auto sales. Excluding automobiles, retail sales rose 0.2%, following a 0.4% increase in September.

The Commerce Department reported that total business inventory decreased 0.4% in September, following a 1.6% drop in August. It was the 13th straight monthly decline as retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers sought to cut inventory.

The producer price index, which tracks wholesale prices, rose 0.3% in October, following a 0.6% decrease in September. It was the 11th straight monthly decline. For the year, wholesale prices are down 1.9%.

Industrial production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities rose 0.1% in October, following a revised 0.6% increase in September. The overall factory-operating rate rose to 70.7% of capacity in October.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index was unchanged at a revised 17 reading in November. An index reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market.

The Labor Department reported consumer prices rose 0.3% in October. For the year, consumer prices are down 0.2%.

The Commerce Department reported that the combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in September decreased 10.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 529,000 units. That was much less than the 600,000 economists had expected.

The index of leading economic indicators — designed to forecast economic activity in the next three to six months — rose 0.3% in October after a 1% gain in September. It was the seventh straight monthly increase.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits were unchanged at 505,000 in the week ending November 14. Continuing claims for the week ending November 7 fell by 39,000 to 5.61 million.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on existing home sales on November 23 and new home sales on November 25.

 

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Anthony J Crecco

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