This Week’s Top Economic Data Points: U.S. Economy Expands At Healthy Rate
- The U.S. economy grew at a three percent annualized rate in the third quarter of 2017, down just slightly from the second quarter’s 3.1 percent rate. The third quarter growth rate reflected increases in personal spending, private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, and federal government spending. In related news: the Chicago Federal Reserve’s National Activity Index increased to +0.17 in September from -0.37 in August. The positive movement indicates economic growth strengthened in September.
- The Richmond Federal Reserve announced that its manufacturing index of activity in the Central Atlantic region fell to +9 in October from +22 in November. Readings for shipments, employment, and the volume of new orders all weakened this month. The Kansas City Federal Reserve, meanwhile, announced that its manufacturing index increased to +23 in October, its highest reading since March 2011, from +17 in September. The bank said factory activity increased strongly at both durable and non-durable goods plants, particularly for food, plastics, computer and electronic products.
- The number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time rose to 233,000 for the week that ended Oct. 21, from 222,000 the week before. The four-week moving of first-time claims fell, however, as did the number of individuals who continued to receive benefits. That figure declined to 1.893 million for the week that ended Oct. 14 from 1.896 million the week before. The continuing claims average is now at its lowest level since December 1973.
- In other economic news: the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to 100.7 in October from 95.1 in September and the number of new homes sold in the United States increased 18.9 percent from August 2017 to September 2017 and 17 percent between September 2016 and September 2017.