__After showing no change for 2 months, the CPI-U rose 0.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in July. During the first 7 months of this year, the CPI-U has accelerated to a 2.4 percent annual rate of increase from a 1.6 percent advance for all of 1998. Most of the upturn is due to higher energy costs, which were up 3.3 percent. ... Looking at the July figures, BLS economist Patrick Jackman said that the higher energy prices accounted for nearly half of the 0.3 percent advance in the CPI-U. ... With the release of July data, the BLS ended its practice of publishing the old series of both the CPI-U and the CPI-W, as they were before revised methodology was introduced in January. Jackman said that the experience of the first 7 months of this year supports the agency's estimate that switching to the geometric mean method of calculating price change for most CPI components has trimmed the annual increase in the indexes by 0.2 percentage point. The old series of price indexes will continue to be available from the bureau, he said. ... (Daily Labor Report, page D-1).
Real earnings rose slightly in July, buffered by higher prices, BLS finds. ... (Daily Labor Report, page D-14).
Searing temperatures and stepped up manufacturing levels sent industrial production soaring in July, boosting total output at the nation's factories, mines, and utilities 0.7 percent, the Federal Reserve reports. July's gain was the largest since an identical 0.7 percent surge in March and was the sixth consecutive monthly increase. ... (Daily Labor Report, page D-22).
Construction of new private housing units rose 5.7 percent in July, nearly recovering from June's upwardly revised slump of 5.8 percent, the Commerce Department reports. In July, most regions of the country posted housing start gains compared with June, except the Midwest where 16.8 percent fewer housing construction projects were begun. ... (Daily Labor Report, page D-18)
__Higher gasoline prices and airline fares helped nudge consumer prices a modest 0.3 percent higher in July, BLS reported, in line with expectations and a further sign that inflation remains muted in a vibrant economy. The July increase in the consumer price index was the first in 3 months. The "core" index, which excludes the volatile food and energy components, rose 0.2 percent after increases of 0.1 percent in both May and June. ... Other economic reports released supported the picture of a robust economy that continues to grow despite rising interest rates. ... (Tim Smart in Washington Post, page E1). __The United States economy may be rocking and rolling, but inflation remains remarkably well behaved. That was the main message from a fresh batch of government data on consumer prices, industrial activity, and home building. The new evidence further soothed investors who have been worrying that the Federal Reserve might raise short-term interest rates more than a quarter-point next week to slow the economy. ... Most of the increase reflected another big rise in cigarette prices and higher energy costs, which were widely expected, and raised everything from gasoline prices to airline fares. ... (Sylvia Nasar in New York Times, page C1). __Inflation remained muted last month, even as new strength in manufacturing and home building suggested the economy was still growing. ... Many analysts believe that rate rise is still a threat. ... (Keith Perine in Wall Street Journal, page A2).
DUE OUT TOMORROW: Mass Layoffs in May 1999