September 8th, 2021
Construction spending did better than expected, while the economy continued to add jobs, and layoffs declined.
Construction spending rose to an annual rate of $1.568 trillion in July, which was 0.3 percent above June’s revised rate of $1.563 trillion, according to last week’s report from the Census Bureau.
This was better than the 0.2 percent increase that economists had forecasted for July, and, when compared to the same period a year ago, July’s construction spending was 9 percent higher than July 2020’s pace of $1.439 trillion.
Spending on private construction rose 0.3 percent over June to hit an annual rate of $1.231 trillion in July. Of that, spending on housing construction in July grew to an annual rate of $773 billion, which was 0.5 percent higher than June’s revised pace of $768.9 billion.
Outlays on the construction of new, single-family homes in July expanded to an annual rate of $416.2 billion, which was 0.5 percent higher than June’s revised rate of $412.7 billion. Spending on the construction of new multi-family housing ticked down to an annual rate of $98.7 billion in July, which was 0.1 percent below June’s revised rate of $98.8 billion.
The U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week. Job categories that contributed to last month’s employment gains included professional and business services, transportation, warehousing, private education and manufacturing.
The unemployment rate declined in August to 5.2 percent from 5.4 percent in July, and the unemployed population fell to 8.4 million in August.
The population of long-term unemployed people – those who haven’t had jobs for 27 weeks or longer – declined by 246,000 people in August to 3.2 million Americans. This represented 37.4 percent of the total unemployed population.
Initial Jobless Claims
First-time claims for unemployment benefits filed by recently unemployed Americans during the week ending August 28th fell to 340,000, which was 14,000 claims down from the preceding week’s revised total of 354,000, the Employment and Training Administration reported last week.
The four-week moving average – regarded as a more reliable measure of jobless claims – declined to 355,000 claims, which was 11,750 claims below the previous week’s revised average of 366,750.
Last week’s total claims were lower than economists’ forecasts of 345,000 claims, and it marked the lowest level for the four-week average since March 14, 2020’s average came in at 225,500 claims.
This week, we can expect:
Wednesday – Consumer credit for July from the Federal Reserve.
Thursday – Initial jobless claims for last week from the Employment and Training Administration.
Friday – Producer prices for August from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; wholesale inventories for July from the Census Bureau.
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