After declining the previous two quarters, the U.S. economy expanded in Q3. The second estimate of Q3 2022 GDP showed a 2.9% annual growth rate, up from the initial estimate of 2.6% growth. Overall in Q3, GDP reflected increases in exports, consumer spending, nonresidential investment, state and local government spending, and federal spending.
After a flat reading in September, retail sales increased at its highest rate since March in October. October sales came in at a $694.5 billion rate, up 1.3% from September and up 8.3% from a $641.5 billion rate in October 2021. This is a new all-time high for adjusted monthly retail sales.The largest increases in sales compared to September, came from gasoline stations, bars and restaurants, building material stores, and online retailers.
Shipments of tractors and combines in Canada and the U.S. increased in October and are now up for the second consecutive month. Shipments totaled 32,604 units, up 26.1% from September. While shipments of combines were up year-over-year, the decline in tractor shipments was enough to push the total lower. Year-to-date tractor and combine shipments are now down 12.3% compared to the same timeframe last year.
After sliding for the first time in nearly a year in August, total construction spending increased slightly in September. Total construction spending came in at a $1.811 trillion rate, up 0.2% from August and up 10.9% on a year-over-year basis. While residential construction spending was virtually flat from August, non-residential spending saw an increase.
New orders for manufactured durable goods increased slightly in September, now up for the sixth time in the last seven months. They increased 0.4% to a $274.7 billion rate; this increase followed a 0.2% increase in August. New orders for primary metals were down 1.7% in September after a 0.1% increase in August.
Activity at the architectural level continued to show growth in September. The September Architecture Billings Index came in at 51.7 and has remained above 50 for twenty consecutive months. Regionally, all four regions showed growth in September, with the Northeast (54.6) being the strongest.
After a sharp decline in July, shipments of HVAC equipment increased for the third time in the last four months in August. Equipment shipments totaled 1.974 million units, up 11.6% from July but down 2.7% from August 2021. Year-to-date shipments are now down 2.6% compared to the same timeframe last year.
U.S. light vehicle inventory continue to recover in September, now up for the second consecutive month. Inventories of both cars and light trucks increased in September, climbing 13.6% and 14.6% respectively. The current inventory, when combined with September's sales rate, equates to 32 days of supply.
After sliding the previous two months, new home sales increased sharply in August. August new home sales came in at a 685,000 unit rate, up 28.8% from July. Year-to-date actual new home sales are still down 14.3% however, compared to the same timeframe last year.
Activity at the architecture firm level expanded at a faster rate in August. The August Architecture Billings Index came in at 53.3, up from 51.0 in July. The ABI has been in expansion for nineteen consecutive months. The new projects inquiry index increased as well, climbing to 57.9 from 56.1 previously. Regionally, three of the four regions showed expansion, with only the Northeast seeing a slight decline.