Each week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead.
Reports for the Week of August 14
Retail sales, July (Tuesday)
- Expected/prior month retail sales monthly change: +0.4%/+0.3%
- Actual retail sales monthly change: +0.7%
Retail sales increased more than expected in July, with both headline and core sales growth accelerating to start the second half of the year.
National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, August (Tuesday)
- Expected/prior month sentiment: 56/56
- Actual sentiment: 50
Home builder sentiment unexpectedly declined in August, marking the first drop for the index since December 2022. Home builders cited high mortgage rates and construction costs as headwinds during the month.
Housing starts and building permits, July (Wednesday)
- Expected/prior month housing starts monthly change: +1.1%/–11.7%
- Actual housing starts monthly change: +3.9%
- Expected/prior month building permits monthly change: +1.5%/–3.7%
- Actual building permits monthly change: +0.1%
Both housing starts and building permits increased in July after falling more than expected in June. These volatile measures of new home construction remained well below the recent highs we saw in 2021 and early 2022 and indicated continued home builder caution.
Industrial production, July (Wednesday)
- Expected/prior month production change: +0.3%/–0.8%
- Actual production change: +1.0%
Industrial production improved more than expected in July, supported by increased capacity utilization and a 0.5 percent rise in manufacturing production.
FOMC meeting minutes, July (Wednesday)
The July FOMC meeting minutes showed that central bankers did not rule out additional rate hikes if inflationary pressures rise in the future. This reinforced comments from the Fed chair following the meeting that the Fed is prepared to keep rates at restrictive levels until it’s confident that inflation is sustainably approaching its 2 percent target.
Upcoming Reports for the Week of August 21
Existing home sales, July (Tuesday)
Existing home sales are set to fall modestly in July, as high prices, rising mortgage rates, and a limited supply of homes for sale are all expected to weigh on sales.
Durable goods orders, July, preliminary (Thursday)
Headline orders are set to fall in July due to a drop in volatile transportation orders. Core orders, which strip out the impact of transport and are viewed as a proxy for business investment, are set to increase for the third consecutive month in July.