Thursday, November 23, 2017

USA Economy - PCE remained below 2% in September and was lower than early in the year - Real PCE growth slowed in the third quarter.. - FED

Press Release - November 22, 2017 - Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, October 31-November 1, 2017

Staff Review of the Economic Situation 

The information reviewed for the October 31– November 1 meeting indicated that labor market conditions generally continued to strengthen and that real gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at a solid pace in the third quarter despite hurricane-related disruptions. Although the effects of the recent hurricanes led to a reported decline in payroll employment in September, the unemployment rate decreased further. 

Retail gasoline prices jumped in the aftermath of the hurricanes, but total consumer price inflation, as measured by the 12-month percentage change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE), remained below 2 percent in September and was lower than early in the year. Survey-based measures of longer-run inflation expectations were little changed on balance.

 Total nonfarm payroll employment was reported to have decreased in September, consistent with a substantial increase in the number of people who reported themselves as being absent from work due to bad weather and with payroll declines in the hurricane-affected states of Texas Page 2 Federal Open Market Committee _ and Florida. However, the national unemployment rate moved down to 4.2 percent in September, and the labor force participation rate rose. The unemployment rates for African Americans, for Hispanics, and for whites were lower in September than around the start of the year, while the rate for Asians was roughly flat this year; the unemployment rates for each of these groups were close to the levels seen just before the most recent recession. The overall share of workers employed part time for economic reasons edged down in September, and the rates of private-sector job openings and quits were unchanged in August. The four-week moving average of initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits moved back down to a low level by late October after rising in September following the hurricanes. Recent readings showed a modest pickup in growth of labor compensation. The employment cost index for private workers increased 2½ percent over the 12 months ending in September, a little faster than in the 12-month period ending a year earlier. Increases in average hourly earnings for all employees stepped up to a rate of almost 3 percent over the 12 months ending in September; however, a portion of that acceleration possibly reflected a hurricane-related reduction in the number of lowerwage workers reported as having been paid during the reference week in September.

 Total industrial production (IP) increased somewhat in September, reflecting output gains in manufacturing, in mining, and in utilities; the effects of the hurricanes appeared to hold IP down less in September than in August. Automakers’ schedules indicated that light motor vehicle assemblies would increase in the fourth quarter. Broader indicators of manufacturing production, such as the new orders indexes from national and regional manufacturing surveys, pointed to an expansion in factory output in the near term. 

Real PCE growth slowed in the third quarter, likely reflecting in part temporary effects of the hurricanes. Recent readings on key factors that influence consumer spending—including gains in real disposable personal income and households’ net worth—remained supportive of solid increases in real PCE in the near term. Consumer sentiment in October, as measured by the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, was at its highest level since before the most recent recession. 

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