By the numbers: The economy this week

Update for September 21, 2020   |   Download PDF

Highlights of key economic statistics from last week compiled by Putnam Investments.


  • Housing starts dropped 5.1% in August compared with July, according to the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • In an advance estimate, the Census Bureau found that retail sales grew 0.6% in August.
  • Industrial production increased 0.4% in August, the Federal Reserve noted.


  • Initial jobless claims reached 860,000 in the week ended September 12, 2020, the Department of Labor announced.


  • As of September 10, 2020, of the 501 S&P 500 Index companies reporting second-quarter earnings, 412 beat analysts’ estimates, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.


  • The University of Michigan’s preliminary index of consumer sentiment rose to 78.9 in September from 74.1 in August.


  • Eurostat reported that euro area annual inflation fell to -0.2% in August from 0.4% in July.
  • Eurostat stated that euro area industrial production increased 4.1% in July compared with June.
  • Euro area construction output grew 0.2% in July, Eurostat found.


  • The yield on the 10-year Treasury note traded in a narrow range.
  • The Federal Reserve held rates steady.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell presented an improved economic outlook.


  • A slowdown in the pace of mobility gains globally due to regional virus case spikes will continue to act as a drag on economic recovery.
  • The liquidity-fueled recovery in risk assets will at some point need to resolve with the pace of recovery in fundamentals, and the latter may happen over a longer horizon than hoped.
  • The possibility of a "blue wave" in the U.S. November election, with Democrats winning control of the House, Senate, and Presidency, could mean a future rollback of corporate tax cuts.

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All economic and performance information is historical and does not guarantee future results. The views and opinions expressed are those of Putnam Investments, are subject to change with market conditions, and are not meant as investment advice.