From Ben Leubsdorf at the WSJ: Services-Spending Report Gains Wider Attention
A quarterly reading from the Commerce Department has quietly emerged as one of the most consequential government reports, with the power to roil estimates for U.S. economic growth and the impact of the Affordable Care Act.
The Quarterly Services Survey, or QSS, measures revenue at service-providing companies including hospitals, day-care centers and law offices. … Federal Reserve policy makers and private economists are taking a much closer look at the gauge. …
Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic output, but measuring spending on services is tricky. The government often relies on indirect clues, like payroll growth in certain industries. The QSS offers the best—that is, only—source of timely hard data. It is the basis for roughly one-fifth of the Commerce Department’s quarterly calculation of gross domestic product.
June’s report led to a steep downgrade for first-quarter GDP.
The Q2 Quarterly Services Report will be released on Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 10AM ET.
• Schedule for Week of September 7th
• Update: Prime Working-Age Population Growing Again
• Research: Much of Recent Decline in Labor Force Participation Rate due to “ongoing structural influences”
Oil prices were down slightly over the last week with WTI futures at $93.48 per barrel and Brent at $100.80 per barrel. A year ago, WTI was at $109, and Brent was at $116 – so prices are down solidly year-over-year.
Below is a graph from Gasbuddy.com for nationwide gasoline prices. Nationally prices are around $3.44 per gallon (down almost 15 cents from a year ago). If you click on “show crude oil prices”, the graph displays oil prices for WTI, not Brent; gasoline prices in most of the U.S. are impacted more by Brent prices.
|Orange County Historical Gas Price Charts Provided by GasBuddy.com|