MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Initial unemployment claims dip again to lowest level since mid-March 2020
In the week ending August 28, initial claims were 340,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. Continued claims during the week ending August 21 were 2,748,000, a decrease of 160,000 from the previous week’s revised level. However, the total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending August 14 was 12,186,158, an increase of 178,526 from the previous week.
Manufacturing sector index edges up to 59.9 percent in August, but challenges remain
The August Manufacturing PMI® registered 59.9 percent, an increase of 0.4 percentage point from the July reading of 59.5 percent. This figure indicates expansion in the overall economy for the 15th month in a row after contraction in April 2020. All segments of the manufacturing economy are impacted by record-long raw-materials lead times, continued shortages of critical basic materials, rising commodities prices and difficulties in transporting products.
Construction spending rises 0.3 percent in July and 9.0 percent year-on-year
Construction spending during July 2021 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,568.8 billion, 0.3 percent above the revised June estimate, and up 9.0 percent year-on-year. During the first seven months of this year, construction spending amounted to $883.2 billion, 6.2 percent higher than the same period of 2020. Private residential construction led the way, rising 47.1 percent for single-family homes and 14.9 percent year-on-year.