In July, the unemployment rate decreased in 24 U.S. states, increased in 14 states, and was unchanged in 12 states.
The unemployment rate is higher than a year ago in 6 states: West Virginia (7.5% vs 6.5%), Kansas (4.6% vs 4.4%), Oklahoma (4.5% vs 4.4%), Minnesota (4.0% vs 3.8%), South Dakota (3.8% vs 3.3%), and North Dakota (3.0% vs 2.7%).
Recall that the national jobless rate in July was 5.3%.
The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index (CFNAI) was a reading of +0.34 in July, up from June’s revised reading of -0.07. The positive figure indicates that the index is above its historical trend. The index’s 3-month moving average is at 0.00.
50 of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in July, while 35 made negative contributions. 44 indicators improved from June to July, while 40 indicators deteriorated and 1 was unchanged. Of the indicators that improved, 12 made negative contributions.
The Production and Income index component registered +0.28 from -0.14 last month. Employment and Hours was at +0.11 from +0.11, Personal Consumption and Housing was at -0.06 from -0.10, and Sales, Orders, and Inventories was +0.01 from +0.06.
The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity drawn from four broad categories of data: 1) production and income; 2) employment, unemployment, and hours; 3) personal consumption and housing; and 4) sales, orders, and inventories. Each of these data series measures some aspect of overall macroeconomic activity.
It is constructed to have an average value of zero and a standard deviation of one. Since economic activity tends toward trend growth rate over time, a positive index reading corresponds to growth above trend and a negative index reading corresponds to growth below trend.
Total distance traveled by vehicles on all U.S. roads and streets were an estimated 275.1 billion miles in June, the Department of Transportation reports. This is a 3.8% increase from the 264.9 billion miles traveled in June 2014.
The rolling 12 month total of vehicle miles driven was 3.093 trillion miles. As noted previously, January was a milestone as it was the first month that the figure was greater than the prior peak of 3.039 trillion miles driven in November of 2007.
The rolling 12 month total of vehicle miles driven per capita was 12.34k. That is down 6.7% from the June 2005 high of 13.22 thousand miles per capita.
The map from the release shows that, year over year, travel increased in all 5 U.S. regions in June.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 2.0% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.59 million. This annual rate is 10.3% higher than the 5.07 million-unit level in July 2014.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the increase in sales in July solidifies what has been an impressive growth in activity during this year’s peak buying season. “The creation of jobs added at a steady clip and the prospect of higher mortgage rates and home prices down the road is encouraging more households to buy now,” he said. “As a result, current homeowners are using their increasing housing equity towards the down payment on their next purchase.”
“Despite the strong growth in sales since this spring, declining affordability could begin to slowly dampen demand,” adds Yun. “Realtors® in some markets reported slower foot traffic in July in part because of low inventory and concerns about the continued rise in home prices without commensurate income gains.”
The existing home sales rate increased in 2 of the 4 U.S. regions in July:
- Northeast: 0.70 million from 0.72 million month prior.
- Midwest: 1.32 million from 1.32 million month prior.
- South: 2.29 million from 2.20 million month prior.
- West: 1.28 million from 1.24 million month prior.
Total housing inventory at the end of July decreased 0.4% to 2.24 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 4.8 month supply at the current sales pace.
The median time on market for all homes was 34 days in June. That is down from 40 days in May. Short sales were on the market for a median of 129 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 39 days, and non-distressed homes took 33 days. 47% of homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month.
The national median existing home price for all housing types was $236,400, up 6.5% from a year ago.
U.S. initial jobless claims for the week ending August 15 were a seasonally adjusted 277k, up from the prior week’s revised reading of 273k. Not seasonally adjusted, jobless claims for the week were 230k.
The 4-week moving average of initial jobless claims was 270k.
The number of unemployment insurance recipients, or continuing claims, for regular state programs was 2.254 million, down from the previous week’s revised reading of 2.278 million.
The insured unemployment rate, which is the number of unemployment insurance recipients as a share of covered employment, was 1.67%, down from 1.69% the week prior.
90.57% of all U.S. jobs are covered by state unemployment insurance programs.
Of the 8.266 million Americans currently unemployed, 27.27% receive unemployment insurance.
Here jobless claims are placed in the context of the U.S. civilian noninstitutional population.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1% in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all items index has increased 0.2%
The core CPI, which excludes food and energy, was up 0.2% in July and is up 1.8% year over year.
The All Food index grew 0.2% in July and is up 1.6% from a year ago. The All Energy index increased 0.1% and is down 14.8% from a year ago.
The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.2% in July, seasonally adjusted. The index for final demand decreased 0.8% for the 12 months ended in July.
The core PPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.3% and is up 0.6% from a year ago.
U.S. privately-owned housing starts in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.206 million. This is 0.2% above the revised June estimate of 1.204 million, and is 10.1% above the July 2014 rate of 1.095 million.
Single-family starts in July increased to an annual rate of 0.782 million from 0.693 million and multi-unit starts decreased to 0.424 million from 0.511 million.