Economic News in Review Greenville SC - Oct 20, 2015

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Economic News in Review Greenville SC

Here is last week’s Economic News in Review Greenville SC.


Retail sales were last week’s big newsmaker as cash register receipts grew, but not as much as economists had wanted. Meanwhile, energy pushed consumer prices down, and lay offs encouragingly dropped to a 42-year low.


Retail Sales


Retail sales grew, but not as large as analysts had expected. Retail and food services sales grew 0.1 percent in September to hit $447.7 billion, the Census Bureau reported last week. Economists had expected a 0.2 percent increase. Compared annually, last month’s performance was 2.4 percent higher than September 2014’s retail sales.


The big driver for September’s sales growth was motor vehicle sales, which were up 1.8 percent. Other retail segments experiencing growth were clothing stores, which enjoyed a 0.9 percent gain; sporting goods and hobby stores, which also grew 0.9 percent; and food and drinking establishments, which increased 0.7 percent. A considerable loss for retail sales were gas stations, which saw a significant 3.2 percent drop.


There was debate among retail marketplace watchers as to whether the slowdown in growth was a point for concern, or a small setback on an otherwise upward trend.


“The overall message is that consumer spending has remained extremely strong,” UniCredit Research Chief Economist Harm Bandholz told the Reuters news service. “If sentiment had indeed shifted, it would be hard to explain why sales of cars, certainly among the more expensive items, jumped in September to their highest level since July 2005.”


Consumer Prices


In related news, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) dropped 0.2 percent in September, according to last week’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The big mover for the decline, not surprisingly, was energy prices, with the Bureau’s energy index falling a whopping 4.7 percent. A major contributor to that contraction was the gasoline index, which fell a whopping 9 percent — clearly a cause of the 3.2 percent drop in gasoline station receipts in the retail sales report. Another major drop was fuel oil, which was down 2.4 percent.


Meanwhile, the index for food and the index for all items less food and energy both grew in September. The food index rose 0.4 percent, marketing its biggest gain since May 2014. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in September.


Initial Jobless Claims


New claims for unemployment insurance filed by the recently unemployed during the week ending October 10 fell to 255,000, a decline of 7,000 from the preceding week’s total of 262,000, the Employment and Training Administration reported last week.


Similarly, the four-week moving average — considered a more stable and reliable measure of lay-off activity — dropped to 265,000, a fall of 2,250 claims from the prior week’s average of 267,250. This marked the lowest total for this average since December 15, 1973 when it was 256,750.


“These numbers are pretty impressive,” Senior U.S. economist for Societe Generale Brian Jones told Bloomberg. “Both the initial and continuing claims numbers are consistent with the fact that we have a labor market that’s fairly tight and continues to improve.”


Economic News in Review Greenville SC


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Movement Mortgage, LLC is an Equal Housing Lender. NMLS # 39179 | 877-314- 1499. Movement Mortgage, LLC is licensed by the "South Carolina Board of Financial Institutions" Lic # MLS-39179. Interest rates and products are subject to change without notice and may or may not be available at the time of loan commitment or lock-in.  Borrowers must qualify  at  closing  for  all  benefits. “Movement Mortgage” is a registered trademark of the Movement Mortgage, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company.


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