By the numbers: The economy this week

Update for May 20, 2019   |   Download PDF

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


  • Import and export prices both increased by 0.2% in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • In an advance report, the Census Bureau noted that retail sales fell 0.2% in April.
  • Housing starts climbed 5.7% in April, the Census Bureau stated.


  • Initial jobless claims fell by 16,000 to 212,000 in the week ended May 11, 2019, according to the Labor Department.


  • As of May 15, 2019, of the 459 S&P 500 Index companies reporting first-quarter earnings, 332 — or 72.3% — beat analysts’ estimates, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.


  • The University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment jumped to 102.4 in May from 97.2 in April.
  • The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increased in April.


  • Germany’s ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment fell in May.
  • Eurostat reported that industrial production fell by 0.3% in the euro area in March.
  • Euro area GDP grew 0.4% in the first quarter, Eurostat stated.
  • Germany’s Federal Statistical Office noted that GDP grew 0.4% in the first quarter.


  • The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note traded in a narrow range.


  • No resolution to China trade war, or opening a new front with Europe on autos, risks more equity market turmoil.
  • Brexit, Italian debt dynamics, and the re-emergence of populism risk tipping Europe back into recession.
  • Weak stimulus in China thus far is showing little sign of slowing the pace of deceleration.

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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.