Weekly Economic Review:  Retail Sales Surge, Consumer Sentiment at 13-Year High

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/15/17 3:23 PM

Topics: Economy

In this week’s economic review, job openings declined and consumer prices climbed while retail sales and consumer sentiment soared. Mortgage rates ended the week slightly higher.



After reaching a record high of 6.14 million in July, job openings dipped slightly in August, totaling 6.082 million. The pace of hiring saw little change from 3.7 percent to 3.8 percent with 5.4 million hires for the month.

Consumer Price Index

For September, U.S. consumer prices posted their biggest gain in eight months. The 0.5 percent increase is mostly due to soaring gasoline prices in hurricane-effected areas, but the gain pushed year-over-year CPI to +2.2 percent from +1.9 percent in August.

CPI minus food and energy components was up just 0.1 percent with the core CPI rising 0.2 percent in the month. Core CPI is up 1.7 percent year-over-year.

Retail Sales

U.S. retail sales recorded their largest increase in over 2 years in September with a 1.7 percent gain. By sector, gardening and building material stores and auto dealerships reported 2.1 percent and 3.6 percent gains, likely due to rebuilding and repurchases from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Consumer Sentiment

Likely driven by the 16-year low in unemployment and hurricane recovery efforts stimulating economic growth, consumer sentiment surpassed economists’ predictions and reached a 13-year high. The index rose to 101.1 in October after falling to 95.3 in September.

This week in the economy:

  • Mortgage rates saw another increase as of October 12th. The 30-year average fixed rate was 3.91 percent with 0.5 points, according to Freddie Mac.
  • Purchase applications fell in the week of October 6th with a seasonally-adjusted 0.1 percent decrease. Refinancing applications, though, fell for a fourth consecutive week, down 4 percent from the previous week.
  • In the week of October 7, initial jobless claims decreased by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 243,000, the lowest level since August.  
  • After experiencing its largest drop of the year, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort posted another decline in the week of October 12. The index fell to 49.5 from a level of 49.9.

The economic calendar for the week of October 16th, 2017:

  • Tuesday – Home Builders Index
  • Wednesday – MBA Mortgage Applications, Housing Starts
  • Thursday – Jobless Claims, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
  • Friday – Existing Home Sales

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