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Economy in Brief

Initial Claims Unemployment Insurance Stable
by Tom Moeller July 1, 2004

Initial claims for jobless insurance were about stable last week at 351,000. The prior week's level was revised up slightly. Consensus expectations had been for 344,000 claims.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims rose to 347,000 (-17.2% y/y).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 13,000 following a 61,000 increase the prior week which was revised down slightly.

The insured rate of unemployment rose slightly to 2.4% from the prior week that was revised down.

"Wage and Employer Changes Over the Life Cycle" from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 6/26/04 6/19/04 Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Initial Claims    351 350 -17.8% 403 404 406
Continuing Claims    -- 2,966 -19.6% 3,533 3,573 3,023
ISM Factory Index Eased
by Tom Moeller July 1, 2004

The Institute of Supply Management reported that the Purchasing Managers’ Composite Index (PMI) for June fell to 61.1 from 62.8 in May. The decline about matched Consensus expectations for a decline to 61.5.

During the last twenty years there has been a 71% correlation between the level of the Composite Index and the three month growth in factory sector industrial production.

Each of the component series fell m/m with the exception of inventories which broached the breakeven line of 50 for the first month since January 2000. New orders fell three points to the lowest level in nearly a year. New export orders similarly fell to the lowest level since February. Employment eased just moderately, down 2.2 points to 59.7.

The separate index of prices paid fell for the second month from an April high.

ISM Manufacturing Survey June May June '03 2003 2002 2001
Composite Index 61.1 62.8 50.4 53.3 52.4 43.9
  New Orders Index 60.0 62.8 52.9 58.1 56.6 46.1
Prices Paid Index (NSA) 81.0 86.0 56.5 59.6 57.6 42.9
U.S. Construction Spending Up
by Tom Moeller July 1, 2004

The total value of construction put in place rose 0.3% in May following a little revised 1.2% surge in April. Past figures were revised, mostly due to additional gains last year in residential construction. A 0.7% rise in May had been the Consensus expectation.

Private residential building activity rose another 0.8% following a 1.2% jump in April and a 1.1% March gain. Single family building surged 1.3% (23.7% y/y) following 1.9% and 1.6% gains the prior two months.

Nonresidential building slipped 0.4% following three months of gain. Spending on health care facilities rose 0.5% (9.9% y/y) following huge gains during the prior three months.

Public construction fell 0.2% led by a second monthly decline in the power category (+36.5% y/y). Spending on highways & streets (nearly one third of the value of public construction spending) edged up 0.1% (15.2% y/y).

These more detailed categories represent the Census Bureau’s reclassification of construction activity into end-use groups. Finer detail is available for many of the categories; for instance, commercial construction is shown for Automotive sales and parking facilities, drugstores, building supply stores, and both commercial warehouses and mini-storage facilities. Note that start dates vary for some seasonally adjusted line items in 2000 and 2002 and that constant-dollar data are no longer computed.

Construction Put-in-place May April Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Total 0.3% 1.2% 9.7% 5.1% 1.5% 3.2%
Private 0.4% 1.2% 10.7% 6.0% -0.2% 1.4%
  Residential 0.8% 1.2% 15.3% 13.1% 8.4% 3.3%
  Nonresidential 1.3% 0.7% 0.1% -5.5% -13.0% -1.3%
Public -0.2% 1.1% 6.6% 2.6% 7.0% 10.7%
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