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Last Build Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2018 16:38:39 +0000


4Q 2017 services revenue grew 2.4 percent from previous quarter and 5.2 percent year-on-year

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 21:33:00 +0000

Advance U.S. selected services total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2017 rose 2.4 from the third quarter of 2017 and was up 5.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016.


4Q 2017 e-commerce sales grew 3.2 percent from previous quarter and 16.9 percent year-on-year

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 21:32:00 +0000

U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the fourth quarter of 2017 were $119.0 billion, up 3.2 percent from the third quarter of 2017, and up 16.9 percent year-on-year. Total e-commerce sales for 2017 were estimated at $453.5 billion, up 16.0 percent from 2016.


January building permits rose to 10.5-year high, up 7.4 percent year-on-year

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 21:30:00 +0000

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in January rose to a 10.5-year high of 1,396,000. This is 7.4 percent above both the revised December 2017 rate and the January 2017 rate.


January housing starts rebounded 9.7 percent from December to second-highest rate since Great Recession

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 21:29:00 +0000

Privately-owned housing starts in January rebounded sharply from weather-related dips in December to  1,326,000. This is 9.7 percent above the revised December estimate, 7.3 percent above the January 2017 level, and is the second-highest annual rate since the Great Recession.


Gallup: 2017 Economic Confidence Index varied greatly by state, but average rating rose by 20 points

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 02:09:00 +0000

Residents in three states -- Wyoming, North Dakota and Utah -- essentially tie as the most confident in the U.S. economy, based on their scores on Gallup's Economic Confidence Index throughout 2017. In contrast, Vermont residents were least confident.

Several bottom-ranking states this past year -- including California, Hawaii, Maryland and Rhode Island -- ranked among the top states in 2016 but were surpassed by most other states because their confidence scores did not improve in 2017.

Massachusetts was the only other state that did not show gains in economic confidence last year, and it finished just outside the bottom 10 after ranking first overall in 2016 with an identical score of +2. 

On average, economic confidence improved by 20 points in each state.

Gallup: Half of U.S. states saw well-being scores decline in 2017

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 01:49:00 +0000

Nearly half of U.S. states saw their well-being scores decline by a statistically significant margin in 2017, according to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. And, for the first time in nine years of tracking changes in state well-being, no state saw statistically significant improvement from the year before.

The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index score for the nation and for each state is based on metrics that make up five essential elements of well-being:

1.  Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
2.  Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
3.  Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
4.  Community: liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
5.  Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

For the nation as a whole, the Well-Being Index score for the U.S. in 2017 was 61.5, a decline from 62.1 in 2016 and the largest year-over-year decline since the index began in 2008.

Gallup: U.S. leadership ratings fall during first year of Trump's presidency to record-low 30 percent

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 01:41:00 +0000

Ratings of U.S. leadership fell in nearly every part of the world in the first year of Donald Trump's presidency, dragging median approval to a record-low 30%.

Approval of U.S. leadership dropped across all demographic groups during Trump's first year, but groups that typically give U.S. leadership higher approval ratings -- those with more education, those earning higher incomes and those who live in urban areas -- registered the largest declines.


Initial unemployment claims rose 7,000 in weekly report

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 01:20:00 +0000

In the week ending February 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 230,000, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week's revised level. The 4-week moving average was 228,500, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week's revised average.


Mortgage applications dip 4.1 percent as rates right to highest level since January 2014

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 01:18:00 +0000

The Market Composite Index decreased 4.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans down 6.0 percent and refinances falling 2.0 percent.  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to its highest rate since January 2014, 4.57 percent, from 4.50 percent.


Bloomberg: Consumer comfort index shakes off stock market turmoil to highest level since February 2001

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 01:17:00 +0000

U.S. consumer sentiment jumped 2.6 points last week to 57, or the highest level since February 2001, indicating Americans were shaking off turbulence in the stock market.  This weekly gain was the highest since 2009.


December business inventories up 0.4 percent, sales rose 0.6 percent

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 01:16:00 +0000

Business inventories in the U.S. rose 0.4% in December after a similar gain in the prior month. Sales rose 0.6% in December. The ratio of inventories to sales held steady at 1.33.


Builder confidence remains at 72 in February

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 01:15:00 +0000

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained unchanged at a healthy 72 level in February. The HMI component charting sales expectations in the next six months rose two points to 80, the index measuring buyer traffic held steady at 54, and the component gauging current sales conditions dropped one point to 78.


January Producer Price Index rose 0.4 percent and 2.7 percent year-on-year

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 01:14:00 +0000

The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.4 percent in January. Final demand prices were unchanged in December and moved up 0.4 percent in November.  The final demand index rose 2.7 percent for the 12 months ended in January.


February Business Inflation Expectations steady at 2.0 percent in the year ahead

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 23:01:00 +0000

According to the Atlanta Federal Reserve monthly survey, firms' inflation expectations were unchanged at 2.0 percent over the year ahead.


January retail sales fell 0.3 percent, largest decline in 11 months

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 22:59:00 +0000

Americans cut back on purchases of cars, furniture and a variety of other products in January, pushing retail sales down by 0.3%, the biggest decline in 11 months. The January decline, following no change in December, was the largest setback since a 0.5% fall in February of last year.


CPI up 0.5 percent in January and 2.1 percent year-on-year

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 22:49:00 +0000

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.5 percent in January, and was up 2.1 percent year-on-year. The index for all items less food and energy (i.e., core inflation) increased 0.3 percent in January, and was up 1.8 percent year-on-year.


November foreclosure rate down 0.1 percent year-on-year to 5.1 percent

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 20:32:00 +0000

Nationally, 5.1 percent of mortgages were in some stage of delinquency (30 days or more past due including those in foreclosure) in November 2017. This represents a 0.1 percentage point year-over-year decline in the overall delinquency rate compared with November 2016 when it was 5.2 percent.

As of November 2017, the foreclosure inventory rate, which measures the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process, was 0.6 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from 0.8 percent in November 2016. The foreclosure inventory rate has held steady at 0.6 percent since August 2017, the lowest level since June 2007 when it was also at 0.6 percent.

This past November's foreclosure inventory rate was the lowest for the month of November in 11 years, since it was also 0.6 percent in November 2006.


January Small Business Optimism Index jumped two points to 106.9

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 20:27:00 +0000

The Small Business Optimism Index jumped two points to 106.9 in January and set a record with the number of small business owners saying Now Is a Good Time to Expand.


The Future of Architecture in a High-Tech World

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 19:35:00 +0000

When “The Jetsons” first premiered in the fall of 1962, it was the first show ever broadcast in color on ABC. Promising a high-tech future originally set 100 years ahead in 2062, the fictional Orbit City’s architecture borrowed heavily from the ‘googie’ style of modern architecture first popularized in the 1940s.By the early 1960s, the Space Age was in full swing, giving us not just Orbit City’s flying cars and maid robots, but also the famous Theme Building at LAX, still recognized today as a uniquely Los Angeles landmark.Peering ahead from 2018, a variety of practical improvements in technology and design will similarly foster ongoing changes in today’s architecture, in the process expanding not just the look of buildings, but also how they get built and funded.That will be important in a rapidly expanding world in which the population is expected to hit 10 billion by 2056, with over 70 percent of us living in cities.  Moreover, since an estimated three billion people will require new housing by 2030, sustainable solutions less reliant on energy-intensive steel and concrete will need to take center stage.Some futurists are looking to wood, which not only creates oxygen while growing, but traps carbon dioxide even when used as a building material.  While the idea of wooden skyscrapers seems implausible, it’s not a new idea, as multi-story pagodas up to 450 feet were already being built in Asia over 1,500 years ago.Today, the world’s first residential building built exclusively from pre-fabricated timber pieces rises nine stories in the Hackney neighborhood of London, England, while the Bali-based company Ibuku uses fast-growing, specially treated bamboo to build custom homes, resorts, restaurants and other public spaces throughout Indonesia.Notably, wood is better for regulating indoor temperatures, can be exposed openly, and, with its water content of 15 percent, can surprisingly be more fire-resistant than concrete or steel.The advent of 3D modeling will also help designers further unleash their creativity, whether it’s a curving bamboo roof to act as a natural air conditioner, the twisted stainless steel of Los Angeles’ Disney Hall or a new stadium in England which can be used for both soccer and football due to the ingenious use of a mechanism to slide one entire field under the surrounding seats.Another huge change will occur to the staid and reliable elevator. If you look at today’s skyscrapers, they’re built vertically to surround elevator shafts, with their elaborate systems of pulleys and pistons.Tomorrow, however, the same type of mag-lev propulsion systems used in bullet trains in Europe and Asia will be able to move elevator cars not just up and down, but also side to side. Unconstrained from the need to build up, buildings will be able to extend out in as many directions as seems commercially feasible.Helping to build these odd new structures could be the infamous drone, used not just for warfare or delivering Amazon packages, but also eventually capable of building high-rises with greater precision and safety than current methods. During 2011 in France, the first Flight Assembled Architecture installation tapped several ‘quadcopter’ drones to install 1,500 different pieces into a 60-meter model. Built at a 1:100 scale, this design could one day soar up to 600 feet and house up to 30,000 people.Working alongside the new drones could be industrial-scale 3D printers.  In 2014, a Chinese company unveiled such a printer which is capable of producing ten homes per day for a fraction of[...]

Initial unemployment claims dip to lowest 4-week average since March 1973

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 21:52:00 +0000

In the week ending February 3, initial unemployment claims were 221,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 230,000. The 4-week moving average was 224,500, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 234,500. This is the lowest level for this average since March 10, 1973 when it was 222,000.


Mortgage applications rise 0.7 percent even as average rates rise to highest level in nearly 4 years

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 21:48:00 +0000

The Market Composite Index increased 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans flat and refinances up 1.0 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to its highest level since April 2014, 4.50 percent.


Bloomberg: Consumer Comfort Index holds near recent highs even with stock market volatility

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 21:47:00 +0000

U.S. consumer comfort last week held near the highest level since 2001, falling from 54.6 to 54.4, even as stocks fell on concerns about higher interest rates.


Consumed credit growth rate dipped in December as savings rate fell to lowest level since 2005

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 22:30:00 +0000

Consumer borrowing increased $18.4 billion in December to a record seasonally adjusted $3.84 trillion, for an annual growth rate of 5.8%. This was down from a revised $31 billion rate in the prior month. For all of 2017, consumer credit rose at a 5.4% rate, down from a 6.7% rate in the prior year. Most of this slowdown was for nonrevolving credit.  Still, the U.S. savings rate fell to 2.4% in December, the lowest level since 2005, indicating that households are racking up more debt due to high consumer confidence, out of necessity, or some combination of the two.


Markit Services Business Activity Index slipped slightly in January but still in expansion mode

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 05:31:00 +0000

The seasonally adjusted final IHS Markit U.S.Services Business Activity Index registered 53.3 in January, down from 53.7 in December. The latest index reading signalled a solid expansion in business activity among service providers, albeit the slowest since April 2017. Anecdotal evidence linked the latest upturn to more favourable economic conditions.


January Non-Manufacturing Index rose 3.9 points to 59.9

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 05:28:00 +0000

The January NMI® registered 59.9 percent, which is 3.9 percentage points higher than the seasonally adjusted December reading of 56 percent. Overall, the majority of respondents’ comments are positive about business conditions and the economy. They also indicated that recent tax changes have had a positive impact on their respective businesses.