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Consumer Confidence in the U.S. Surges in November 2016 (Dec. 2016)


After a moderate decline in October, The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® shot up in November 2016, from 100.8 to 107.1 (1985=100).  The current level of 107.1 brings the index back to pre-recession levels and is at its highest level since July 2007.  Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board, reported that:  “A more favorable assessment of current conditions coupled with a more optimistic short-term outlook helped boost confidence. And while the majority of consumers were surveyed before the presidential election, it appears from the small sample of post-election responses that consumers’ optimism was not impacted by the outcome. With the holiday season upon us, a more confident consumer should be welcome news for retailers.”  For the full statement, click the link below.


BLS Releases November 2016 Employment Situation (Dec. 2016)


The U.S. economy continued to create jobs at a steady pace in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Employers added 178,000 jobs in November.  Job growth in October was revised to 142,000, down from initially estimated 161,000.  Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 176,000 per month. 


Average hourly earnings for all employees declined by 3 cents to $25.89, following an 11-cent increase in October.  Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. 


The unemployment rate declined to 4.6 percent in November; its lowest rate in nine years.  The unemployment rate reflects mixed underlying trends; more people are finding jobs, but over 400,000 dropped out of the labor force, reflecting an aging workforce and discouraged workers.  The labor-force participation rate—those with jobs or actively seeking work, edged down to 62.7 percent in November from 62.8 percent in the prior month and continues to hover near a four-decade low. 


The full BLS press release on November 2016 employment situation can be accessed in the link below:



The next employment situation report for December 2016 will be released on Friday, January 6, 2017. 


BEA Releases Second Estimate of Third Quarter 2016 GDP - Preliminary Estimate of Corporate Profits, Third Quarter 2016 (Nov. 2016)


The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its “second” estimate of third quarter 2016 Gross Domestic Product.  The second estimate is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month.  The third and final estimate, released in December, will be based on yet more complete data.


The second estimate shows that real GDP increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent during the third quarter of 2016.  In the second quarter of 2016, real GDP increased 1.4 percent (revised). The annual rate of 3.2 percent in the third quarter is the strongest growth in two years.  Corporate profits (with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments) increased $133.8 billion in the third quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $12.5 billion during the second quarter. 


The increase in real GDP in the second quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, private inventory investment and federal government spending which were partly offset by negative contributions from residential fixed investment and state and local government spending.  Imports, which is subtracted in the GDP calculation, increased. 


The full BEA press release on the advanced estimate of second quarter GDP can be accessed in the link below:



The next release—for the third estimate of third quarter GDP 2016 and revised estimate for corporate profits, third quarter 2016 will be released on Thursday, December 22, 2016. 



Social Security Retirement Benefit Increase (Nov. 2016)


On October 18, 2016 the Social Security Administration announced that Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 65 million Americans will increase 0.3 percent in 2017.  For more information and who it affects click on the link to the press release below.





Economy expands at a 2.9% rate in Third Quarter 2016 (Oct. 2016)


The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced Friday that U.S. GDP grew at a 2.9% annual rate in the 3rd quarter of 2016.  Growth was boosted by a 10.0% surge in exports and an increase in inventories.  However, the 2.7% drop in equipment investment indicates that companies may be planning for lower future growth. 

Quarterly growth did not break 3.0%, but 3rd quarter GDP grew at the fastest rate in two years.  These results are likely to weigh on the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates for the remainder of the year.

The full BEA press release on 3rd quarter GDP can be accessed in the link below:

The First revision for 3rd quarter GDP is scheduled for November 29, 2016.  


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