The Conference Board index of leading indicators climbed 0.4% in July, slightly above expectations. The increase was led by industrial production. Nonfarm payrolls added 255,000 jobs in July, which is higher than the average monthly addition of 175,000 jobs in the first half of the year. Job creation maintained the unemployment rate at 4.9%. This indicates that the U.S. economy’s near-term expansion will be slightly more robust than initially anticipated.
Construction spending dropped 0.6% in June, against expectations of a 0.5% gain, making this the third consecutive monthly drop. In private residential construction, spending on multifamily units was up 16.4% from a year earlier, compared to 4.8% for single-family units. The low rental vacancy rates and a shift to renting over buying support the strength in the multifamily category. On the nonresidential side, manufacturing was down 4.5% during the month and 10.4% year over year, hurt by the rising dollar.
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