15,000 Manufacturing Workers Added in July
At the fastest pace since January, manufacturers added 15,000 net new workers in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This encouraging figure is closer to the monthly average of last year, when manufacturing activity was more robust. Overall, total manufacturing employment rose to 12.35 million and average weekly earnings increased from $1,018.65 in June to $1,025.23 in July. The Federal Reserve will likely look at this report favorably, and while it may acknowledge that hiring strength needs to be stronger (especially in the manufacturing sector), they likely could begin to raise short-term interest rates in September. To learn more, visit here.
Manufacturing Labor Productivity On the Rebound in Q2
Manufacturing labor productivity increased 2.5 percent in the second quarter of this year, rebounding modestly from the 0.6 percent decline seen in the first quarter, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Breaking the second quarter data down, output rose 1.5 percent, with hours worked decreasing 1.0 percent, resulting in unit labor costs falling by 2.3 percent. Nondurable goods firms experienced gains of 1.2 percent, but was greatly outpaced by a 3.4 percent growth in productivity for durable goods manufacturers. To learn more, visit here.
Retail Sales Bounce Back in July
After an unchanging June, retail sales increased 0.6 percent in July, according to the Census Bureau. June’s prior softness had been unexpected, making July’s rebound more welcome, but the modest rate of growth suggests that the public continues to remain somewhat cautious. A dive into the data shows that nonstore retailers, motor vehicles, sporting goods and hobby stores, furniture, building materials and foods services retailers were up, while electronics and general merchandise stores were down. To learn more, visit here.
Small Business Optimism Increased Some in July
After a slight decline in June, small business optimism increased from 94.1 last month to 95.4 in July, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). While the data points to forward progress, index values under 100 usually coincide with softer economic growth for small firms and nagging anxieties about the economy. The top “single most important problem,” cited by 22 percent of small businesses in the survey, was taxes, followed by regulatory burdens (21 percent), the quality of labor (13 percent) and poor sales (10 percent). To learn more, visit here.