Key Economic Data

Written by John Packard

The Institute for Supply Management Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) registered 55.4 percent in July which was an increase of 4.5 percentage points above the June reading of 50.9. The 3 month moving average (3MMA) rose from 50.2 to 51.43. Any reading above 50.0 percent means manufacturing is expanding.

JP Morgan Global Manufacturing & Services PMI
rose to 54.1 in July, up from 51.2 in June. Stronger growth was reported in the United States and the UK, while the eurozone stabilized. There were weaker performances reported out of Asia and a number of emerging markets.

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) saw a jump of more than a point to 52.7 for the month of July, up from the 51.6 recorded in June. The new projects inquiry index was measured at 66.7, up from a reading of 62.6 the prior month.

Housing construction
– The National Association of Home Builders index reached its highest level in almost eight years in July but the Census Bureau construction starts data is not so encouraging. On a year over year basis the 3-month moving average (3MMA) of both permits and starts are still growing strongly at 17.1 percent and 20.5 percent respectively but growth has slowed compared to last year and on a monthly basis the growth of total starts has been negative for three of the last four months.

Building Permits – Privately owned housing unit building permits in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 943,000 units. This represents an increase of 2.7 percent above the June revised rate of 918,000 units.

U.S. Auto Sales rose 14 percent in July and were slightly below forecast at 15.7 million units (SAAR). The July sales rate was the second highest since late 2007 behind June’s 15.98 million rate.

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