Economic Update, December 10, 2012
Provided Courtesy of Marie Richarz, Prospect Mortgage
Manufacturing activity fell to 49.5 in November after a reading of 51.7 in October. A reading below 50 signals contraction. This was the first contraction in manufacturing following two consecutive months of expansion.
Total construction spending rose 1.4% to $872.1 billion in October, following a revised 0.5% increase in September. Compared to October 2011, construction spending has risen 9.6%.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending November 30 rose 4.5%. Purchase volume rose 0.1%. Refinancing applications increased 6.1%.
The Labor Department reported that in the third quarter, productivity rose at an annual rate of 2.9% and labor costs decreased at an annual rate of 1.9%.
Factory orders rose 0.8% in October to a seasonally adjusted $477.6 billion, following a 4.5% increase in September. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders increased 1.3% in October.
Non-manufacturing activity rose slightly to 54.7 in November from 54.2 in October. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 35th straight month of expansion in the services sector.
The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for December’s preliminary reading fell to 74.5 from 82.7 in November. The decline was attributed to growing concerns about higher taxes.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending December 1 fell by 25,000 to 370,000. Continuing claims for the week ending November 24 fell by 100,000 to 3.205 million. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7% in November from 7.9% in October. Employers added 146,000 jobs in November.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on wholesale trade on December 11 and retail sales on December 13.