October 29, 2018

U.S. Economy Expands At Strong Rate


  • The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.5 percent annualized rate in the third quarter of 2018, down from 4.2 percent in the second quarter. The U.S. Commerce Department said the growth reflected “positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, state and local government spending, federal government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from exports and residential fixed investment.” In related news: the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago announced its national activity index, an indicator of future growth, was +0.17 in September, down from +0.27 in August.
  • Wholesale sales in Canada fell 0.1 percent to $63.6 billion in August. According to MarketPulse, sales were down in four of seven subsectors, including building material and supplies and the motor vehicle and parts subsectors. Readings for machinery and equipment and supplies subsectors both improved.
  • Regional manufacturing readings announced last week indicated slower activity. The Federal Reserve Board of Richmond manufacturing activity index fell from +29 in September to +15 in October, as indexes for shipments and new orders dropped. Manufacturing employment improved in the region, however. A reading for the midwestern manufacturing industry also fell. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said its manufacturing activity index fell from +13 in September due to a slower expansion at durable goods plants, especially for machinery, computer and electronic products, and transportation equipment, while activity at nondurable goods plants increased.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 215,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the week that ended Oct. 20, up from 210,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims held steady at 211,750 while the number of individuals who continued to receive benefits fell to 1.636 million during the week that ended Oct. 13. That figure was down from 1.641 million the week before and was at its lowest level since August 1973. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also declined and also was at its lowest level since August 1973.
  • In other economic news: the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell one-and-a-half points in October; the number of new homes sold in the United States fell five percent between August 2018 and September 2018 and 13.2 percent between September 2017 and September 2018.