Manufacturing production rebounded for the third straight month, rising by 3.4% in July. Despite progress over the past few months, output in the sector has fallen 7.7% year-over-year, with durable and nondurable goods output down 9.3% and 5.4%, respectively. Manufacturing capacity utilization rose 69.2% in July, although that is still down from 75.2% in February.

* There were 336,000 manufacturing job openings in June, up from 306,000 in May, which had been the slowest pace since October 2016. Overall, job postings have drifted significantly lower over the past year—a trend that began before the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, there were 486,000 and 360,000 job openings in the sector in June 2019 and December 2019, respectively.

* Consumer spending at retailers rose 1.2% in July, slowing from 18.3% and 8.4% gains seen in May and June, respectively. More importantly, it was the third straight monthly increase in consumer purchasing after stay-at-home orders sent sales plummeting in the spring. Excluding automobiles, retail sales rose 1.9% in July. Retail spending has risen by a modest 2.7% since July 2019.


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