U.S. Economic News

October 17, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Industrial production declined 0.4% in September (down 0.1% year-over-year) after rising 0.8% (revised) in August. Capacity utilization declined 0.4 point to 77.5 in September. Fed Report

Privately-owned housing starts fell 9.4% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.26 million (up 1.6% year-over-year). Housing permits fell 2.7% to a 1.39 million annual pace in September but are up 7.7% from last year. Census Bureau Report

Initial jobless claims rose 4,000 to 214,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 1,000 to 214,750. DOL Report

U.S. News

Bloomberg reports that Chinese officials are working on the text of a trade accord following last week’s announcement of a verbal agreement between the U.S. and China. The written agreement will include a commitment from China to increase U.S. agricultural purchases in exchange for a limited reprieve on tariffs. Bloomberg

Andrew Van Dam reports for the Washington Post that consolidation among home builders following the Great Recession has exacerbated the affordable housing crisis, costing the country approximately 150,000 additional homes per year and causing prices to rise more than twice as fast as they otherwise would have. Industry experts note, however, that the rise in builder oligopolies may be symptomatic of deeper problems such as land scarcity and labor costs. WaPo