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Conference Board: Employment Trends Increased in July

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) increased in July, after increasing in June. The index now stands at 109.89, up from 108.72 (a downward revision) in June. The change represents a 5.4% gain in the ETI compared to a year ago.

“The growth in the Employment Trends Index remains strong, supported by positive contributions from all of its components,” said Gad Levanon, chief economist, North America, at The Conference Board. “We expect economic activity to remain strong in the coming months, and the rapid expansion of employment should continue despite the very tight labor market.”   


U.S. Construction Spending Fell in June

Construction spending in the U.S. during June 2018 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,317.2 billion, 1.1% below the revised May estimate of $1,332.2 billion. It’s the largest drop since April 2017.

The June figure is 6.1% above the June 2017 estimate of $1,241.3 billion. During the first six months of this year, construction spending amounted to $619.9 billion, 5.1% above the $589.6 billion for the same period in 2017. 

U.S. Added 157,000 Jobs in July

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 157,000 in July, and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, in manufacturing, and in health care and social assistance.

Manufacturing added 37,000 jobs in July, with most of the gain in the durable goods component. Employment rose in transportation equipment (+13,000), machinery (+6,000), and electronic instruments (+2,000). Over the past 12 months, manufacturing has added 327,000 jobs. 

ISM: Manufacturing Grew at Slower Rate in July

Manufacturing expanded in July as the PMI registered 58.1%, a decrease of 2.1% from the June reading of 60.2%. “This indicates strong growth in manufacturing for the 23rd consecutive month, led by continued expansion in new orders, production and employment. Inventories are expanding at a faster rate as a result of supplier deliveries improving compared to the prior month,” says Timothy R. Fiore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “Respondents are again overwhelmingly concerned about how tariff-related activity, including reciprocal tariffs, will continue to affect their business.” 

Texas Manufacturing Expansion, Uncertainty Increases

The robust expansion in Texas factory activity continued in July, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose six points to 29.4, signaling an acceleration in output growth. Other indexes of manufacturing activity also indicated continued solid expansion in July. Perceptions of broader business conditions were a bit less positive this month versus June, and uncertainty increased. 

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