Economy | timiacono.com - Part 5

Retail Sales Post Modest Gain

The Commerce Department reported(.pdf) that retail sales rose less than expected last month, up only 0.2 percent in June following an upwardly revised gain of 0.5 percent in May.

The consensus estimate for June was a gain of 0.6 percent and the miss was largely due to a surprise decline of 0.3 percent in auto sales last month. Retail sales less autos rose 0.4 percent and when both autos and gasoline are excluded, sales also rose 0.4 percent.

Sales increased for nine of the thirteen major categories, paced by a gain of 1.1 percent at general merchandise stores (e.g., department stores) and an increase of 0.9 percent at nonstore retailers (e.g., internet sales) and health & personal care stores.

Declining categories were led by home improvement stores where sales fell 1.0 percent and food service where receipts were 0.3 percent lower.

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The Labor Department reported that U.S. employers added a better-than-expected 288,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent, a six year low.

Payrolls for April and May were revised upward by a combined 29,000 and April’s revised gain of 304,000 marked the biggest increase in jobs in two and a half years. After a dismal winter when payrolls increased by an average of just 150,000, the last three months have seen average gains of 272,000.

The household survey also showed marked improvement as the jobless rate fell for all the right reasons, though the labor force participation rate was unchanged near multi-decade lows at 62.8 percent. Some 407,000 people were newly counted as employed and the official count of “unemployed” Americans fell by 325,000.

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Now that the U.S. team has been eliminated from the World Cup, we ‘Mericans can focus on what we really do best – inflating asset bubbles – and that effort should be bolstered by what is shaping up to be a big number in the nonfarm payrolls data due out from the Labor Department on Thursday, just prior to the nation celebrating its 238th birthday on Friday.

From these two reports at Gallup come the charts below indicating all systems are go.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that payroll processor ADP reported earlier today that the private sector added 281,000 jobs last month, the biggest job creation total since November 2012.

This should be much more fun than watching soccer…

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The Institute for Supply Management reported that the U.S. manufacturing sector continued to expand at a healthy pace last month as their purchasing managers index was little changed, down slightly from 55.4 in May to 55.3 in June. Recall that, in this index, readings above and below 50 indicate expansion and contraction, respectively.

The key new orders component improved from 56.9 in May to 58.9 in June, production fell from 61.0 to 60.0 (still indicating robust growth), and employment was unchanged at 52.8. A full 15 of the 18 industries tracked by ISM reported growth last month.

Pricing pressure eased somewhat as this component fell from 60.0 to 58.0, backlog orders fell from 52.5 to 48.0 (indicating contraction), and inventories were unchanged at 53.0.

Obviously, the stock market likes this news quite a bit.

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