Key Economic Indicators for Today: GDP, Jobless Claims, Leading Indicators

U.S. GDP growth slowed to a 2% pace in the third quarter, a slight downgrade from the 2.2% annual rate estimated a month ago for Q3, according to final estimates released by the Commerce Department. The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.2 percent in the third quarter.

Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.2 percent in the third quarter, compared with 2.9 percent in the second.

Final sales of computers contributed 0.07 percentage point to the third-quarter growth in real GDP after contributing 0.04 percentage point to the second-quarter growth. Motor vehicle output contributed 0.76 percentage point to the third-quarter growth in real GDP after subtracting 0.31 percentage point from the second-quarter growth.

  • Real personal consumption expenditures increased 2.8 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.6 percent in the second.
  • Real nonresidential fixed investment increased 10.0 percent, compared with an increase of 4.4 percent. 
  • Nonresidential structures increased 15.7 percent, compared with an increase of 20.3 percent. 
  • Equipment and software increased 7.7 percent, in contrast to a decrease of 1.4 percent. 
  • Real residential fixed investment decreased 18.7 percent, compared with a decrease of 11.1 percent.

Current-dollar GDP -- the market value of the nation's output of goods and services -- increased 3.8 percent, or $125.3 billion, in the third quarter to a level of $13,322.6 billion. In the second quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 5.9 percent, or $188.9 billion.

Initial Jobless Claims:

In the week ending Dec. 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims was 315,000, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 306,000, according to the Labor Department. The 4-week moving average was 325,750, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised average of 327,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9 percent for the week ending Dec. 9, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate of 1.9 percent.

Leading Economic Indicators:

The Conference Board announced today that the U.S. leading index increased 0.1%, the coincident index increased 0.2% and the lagging index increased 0.5% in November. The leading index increased for the third consecutive month in November. 

Four of the ten indicators that make up the leading index increased in November. The positive contributors — beginning with the largest positive contributor — were real money supply*, vendor performance, manufacturers' new orders for nondefense capital goods* and stock prices. The negative contributors — beginning with the largest negative contributor — were average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted), building permits, interest rate spread, average weekly manufacturing hours and index of consumer expectations. The manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods and materials* held steady in November.

Philadelphia Federal Reserve Manufacturing Index

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's December manufacturing business index fell more than expected to negative 4.3, the weakest since April 2003, compared to a positive 5.1 in November. A number less than zero means that most factories reported business was weakening. Prior to increasing in November, the measure contracted for two months.

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