In the News

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending September 28 rose 16.6%. Refinancing applications increased 20%. Purchase volume rose 4%.

Manufacturing activity rose to 51.5 in September after a reading of 49.6 in August. A reading above 50 signals expansion. The uptick in manufacturing follows three consecutive months of slight contraction.

Total construction spending fell 0.6% to $837.1 billion in August, following a revised 0.4% decrease in July. Compared to August 2011, construction spending has risen 6.5%.

Retail sales fell 0.3% for the week ending September 29, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 2.4%.

Motor vehicle sales rose 4% in September to an annualized sales rate of 14.9 million cars and light trucks. It was the highest annual rate since March 2008. Compared to September 2011, motor vehicle sales have increased 13%.

Non-manufacturing activity rose to 55.1 in September from 53.7 in August. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 33rd straight month of expansion in the services sector.

Factory orders fell 5.2% in August to a seasonally adjusted $452.8 billion, following a 2.6% increase in July. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders increased 0.7% in August.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending September 29 rose by 4,000 to 367,000. Continuing claims for the week ending September 22 remained unchanged at 3.28 million. The unemployment rate fell to 7.8% in September from 8.1% in August. Employers added 114,000 jobs in September.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on wholesale trade on October 10 and the producer price index on October 12.

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