October 2014 Economic Indicators

Melanie Garza - Director of Operations


Consumer Confidence Plummets 

Consumer Confidence in the U.S. suffered a big blow in September, surprising economists.  The Conference Board’s index fell to 86 in September, a four month low. This is down from an August reading of 93.4.  The July index was the highest it’s been since October 2007 before the recession.  The index dropped 7.4 points in September signaling the biggest drop since October 2013, with the impending government shutdown.

Economists had estimated the September figure to be above 88.7, with upward trends of rising home values and lower gas prices.  A softening job market and the unrest in the Middle East may be to blame.

“Consumers were less confident about the short-term outlook for the economy and labor market, and somewhat mixed regarding their future earnings potential,” explained Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

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Construction Spending Slips

Construction spending in the U.S. fell in August after a spike in July. The U.S. Census Bureau announced that construction spending dropped 0.8% in August, to $968.8 billion.  The figure is up 5% over August 2013.  Private construction, as well as residential and non-residential construction dropped slightly, along with public construction, although none fell more than 1%.

Despite the slip in August, office, power and manufacturing construction projects have risen significantly, since 2013.  In private construction, investments in manufacturing construction grew 1.8% and are 14.5% higher than a year ago.  New office construction also rose 1.1% in August and is up 18.9%, over 2013.  Building in the power industry has grown 16.3%, in 2014; even with a -3.4% drop in August.

The public sector has also spent more in 2014 compared to spending in 2013.  Government investment in manufacturing construction grew 1.5% in August and is now 14.9% higher than the previous year.  New construction for offices fell 3.5% in August, and is 18.6% above the figures for 2013.

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Questions or comments? Please contact Melanie Garza at mgarza@teamCOACT.com.