Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics

Economy in Brief

  • Moderate October jobs gain is unrevised; September strength lessened.
  • Earnings growth edges up, exceeding expectations.
  • Lower jobless rate accompanies strong employment & labor force gains.

More Commentaries

    • Small increase in initial claims very close to expected amount.
    • Continuing claims come back down after prior week’s jump.
    • Insured unemployment rate eases back to 1.2%.
  • Germany
    | Dec 07 2023

    German IP Struggles

    IP in Germany remains pressured- Industrial production in Germany is under pressure. Production declined in each of the last FIVE months, three of them presented in this table. Consumer goods production is down in two of the last three months. Capital goods production is down in two of last three months and intermediate goods production is down in two of the last three months as well. Do you see a pattern here?

    Trends show continued weakness and some step up in the pace of deterioration- In addition, sequential growth rates show that the growth rates over three months and six months have weakened compared to 12 months. Overall 12-month growth is at -3.4% with industrial output growth over six months at -7.4% annualized and at -6.9% annualized over three months. The numbers stop short of signaling a clear ongoing deceleration but do not miss it by much. For consumer goods, sequential growth rates progress from bad to even worse. For capital goods, the trend is a little more erratic with a decline of 0.8% over 12 months, a bigger decline at a 6.6% annual rate over six months and then flat performance over the last three months. Intermediate goods show sequential deterioration with annualized growth rates running from -4.5% over 12 months, to -6% over six months, to -7% over three months.

    Other industrial gauges weaken- These IP trends dove-tail with the weakness we have seen in some of the earlier releases on real manufacturing orders and real sales in manufacturing.

    Surveys weaken- Manufacturing surveys have weakened as well with the ZEW current index showing sequential deterioration, along with the IFO manufacturing index, IFO manufacturing expectations, as well as the EU Commission industrial survey. Any way you seem to slice the statistics, they seem to be weak and getting weaker.

    Other Europe is mixed- Early manufacturing results for a few other European countries (at the bottom of the table) show trends for Portugal, Spain, France, and Norway. These reveal production increases in October after widespread declines in September and mixed declines in August. Sequential growth rates for other Europe tell a mixed story as Spain and Norway show clear accelerations in train, France shows a clear deceleration in train, and Portugal shows a mixed trend anchored by declines in output over 12 months and three months.

    • Job growth is sharply below Q3.
    • Factory & construction jobs decline; service gain is modest.
    • Pay gains slow.
    • Deficit widens as expected in Oct. for the third time in four months.
    • Exports down for the first time since June, but imports up for the third month in four.
    • Real goods trade deficit widens to $87.04 billion, the largest since July.
    • Goods trade deficits w/ China and Japan narrow, while trade shortfall w/ EU rises to a one-year high.
    • Increase in productivity is largest in three years; compensation growth slows.
    • Unit labor costs decline following two quarters of increase.
    • Decline in factory sector productivity bolsters unit labor costs.
    • Applications for loans refinancing provided support for overall mortgage applications in the December 1 week.
    • Effective interest rates fell in the latest week, with the 30-year fixed rate dropping 20bps.
    • The average size of mortgage loans declined in the latest week.
  • German manufacturing orders and sales both fell in October. Total orders fell by 3.7% month-to-month after climbing by 0.7% in September. Foreign orders fell by 7.6% in October after rising 5% in September. Domestic orders rose 2.4% month-to-month after falling 5.7% in September. The sector results between foreign and domestic trends, therefore, are not completely in-sync, but they're not completely different either since over two months, both series show net declines.

    Recalibrating to look at order-trends sequentially, over 12 months, six months, and three months, declines persist but are not the case for every single one of the sub-periods. • Total orders fall 7.2% over 12 months, then go flat over six months, and then fall again over three months at a 4.9% annual rate. • Foreign orders fall 7.1% over 12 months, but then rebound to rise at a 5.8% pace over three months, and then continue to drop at a 5.4% annual rate pace over three months. • Domestic orders fall 7.3% over 12 months, fall at a faster 8% pace over six months, and then trim their rate of descent to -4.8% annualized over three months. • Domestic orders clearly have the worse profile in comparison with foreign orders; however, neither domestic nor foreign orders show clear ongoing decelerating patterns although they both show patterns revealing persistent declines.

    Real sales trends show all manufacturing sales declined by 0.5% in October, by 1.4% in September, and by 0.5% in August. German sales have a clear losing streak. The sequential trends for manufacturing sales show the following: • A 2.2% drop over 12 months, a faster 2.6% pace of decline over six months, and a much faster 9.2% pace of decline over three months. Unlike orders, sales are showing a truly clear decelerating pace. Looking at sectors... • Consumer goods overall show declines in sales over three months, six months, and 12 months and there is a tendency for the pace of decline to worsen over this profile although it's only a tendency not an ironclad rule. • Consumer durables are a subset of total consumer spending. Sales fall 9.3% over 12 months, but then the six-month pace goes to -21% annualized, and the three-month pace is -19.6% annualized; it’s not precisely a deceleration but close enough for me with enough weakness over six and three months and worse weakness that over 12 months to look a lot like deceleration in progress. • Sales of consumer nondurable goods fall by 2.7% over 12 months, make a small gain of 0.6% at an annual rate over six months and then continue declining at an accelerated 5.2% annual rate. • Capital goods sales rise 1.4% over 12 months, worsen to a -0.4% annualized pace over six months, and then worsen further to a -12.2% annual rate over 3 months, a clear deceleration. • Intermediate goods essentially show deterioration as well: sales fall at a 5.8% annual rate over 12 months, show a very slight improvement at -5.3% annualized over six months, and then accelerate the decline to -6% over three months. Clearly, sales show a preponderance of weakness, a preponderance of declines, and a clear tendency for the rate of decline to worsen over shorter periods.

    Emerging sales and order trends in the fourth quarter The most up-to-date data are for October, which means we have data through the first month of the fourth-quarter; we can annualize this behavior by looking at the annual rate gain of orders or sales in October compared to the third quarter average. Doing this, we find that orders are falling at a 15.1% annual rate, led by a 21.9% annual rate fall in foreign orders and joined by a 4.8% annual rate decline in domestic orders. Real sector sales show a decline in manufacturing sales at a 9.2% annual rate; consumer durable goods sales fall at a 29.9% annual rate; consumer nondurables sales fall at a 4.1% annual rate; capital goods sales fall at a 7.8% annual rate; intermediate goods sales fall at a 12% annual rate. Both orders and sales fall on a quarter-to-date basis across all these categories and fall at relatively high rates of decline.

    The bottom of the table presents readings from the European Commission on industrial confidence for Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, the four largest economies in the European Monetary Union (EMU). • The month-by-month industrial confidence figures for Germany show a slight tendency toward improvement from August to September to October. France also shows a small improvement in train, while Italy and Spain show a tendency toward slippage across this three-month horizon. • Turning to the broader picture of trends over 12 months, to six months, to three months, we find the German trends show clear slippage worsening from a -5.1 survey value over 12 months to a -14.8 survey value over three months; France also worsens on this horizon; Italy steadily worsens on this horizon; so does Spain. • The upshot is that over the last few months, there have been mixed trends, but the broader trend for the year favors the conclusion that there is weakening all around in the European Monetary Union at least based on the four largest economies. The queue or ranked standings for the EU Commission readings in October compare these up-to-date readings to their historic values, revealing consistent readings across these four countries. Germany has a 23-percentile standing, like Italy's 24-percentile standing, while both France and Spain have 34-percentile standings. • The standing data read 100% when the EU Commission indexes are at their highest values and they're at 0% when it's at their lowest values. The median for the EU survey occurs at a rank standing of 50%; all these readings are below the 50th percentile, placing them below their medians significantly below their medians over this timeline.

    • Job openings post largest decline in five months; revisions indicate weakness.
    • Hiring declines after two months of increase.
    • Total separations rise as layoffs increase.