Data Updates

Data Updates

January 2007

  • 01.31.2007
  • December Construction Spending
  • Construction spending was below expectations, falling 5.2 percent (annualized rate) in December, more than offsetting the November increase, which followed six months of declining or no monthly construction spending growth. Private residential construction spending fell for the eighth straight month, plunging 17.9 percent (annualized rate). Private residential construction spending is now down 12.3 percent from year–ago levels. On the other hand, private nonresidential spending rose a robust 9.7 percent in December, following a 23.3 percent increase in November, and is now up a strong 12.7 percent from year–ago levels.
  • 01.31.2007
  • Fourth-Quarter GDP
  • GDP rose from an annualized growth rate of 2.0 percent in the third quarter of 2006 to 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the advance release by the Commerce Department. This is the strongest GDP report since the first quarter of 2006, and if the advance estimate holds up, it will be the largest fourth–quarter gain since 1999. As expected, there was a large drop in fixed residential investment (–19.2 percent). What was not expected was the fall in the annualized growth rate for nonresidential investment (from 10 percent in the third quarter of 2006 to -0.4 percent in the fourth quarter). This is not a significant derailment for nonresidential investment, however, as it is still up 6.8 percent on a year–over–year basis. Real personal consumption expenditures rose from 2.8 percent to 4.4 percent, with a big jump in spending on nondurables (from 1.5 percent to 6.9 percent). Real imports decreased 3.2 percent compared to an uptick of 5.6 percent last quarter, the first overall decline in imports since the first quarter of 2003. Accompanying the drop in imports was a 10 percent annualized growth in exports. Goods exports decreased slightly over last quarter, but exports of services increased from 0.8 percent to 13 percent.
  • 01.31.2007
  • Employment Cost Index for the Fourth Quarter
  • The Employment Cost Index moderated a bit in the fourth quarter of 2006, rising 0.8 percent (down from 1.0 percent growth in the third quarter). Benefit cost growth remained steady at 1 percent, while wage cost growth ticked down. On a year–over–year basis, employer costs have recently accelerated to 3.3 percent after a deceleration in employment cost growth from about 4.5 percent in early–2000, to 2.8 percent in the first quarter of 2006. This recent trend reflects steady benefit cost growth and accelerating wage growth, which now both register between 3 and 3 1/2 percent.
  • 01.26.2007
  • New Homes Sales
  • New home sales grew 4.8 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.12 million units. Sales in the Northeast and Midwest were strong, while sales in the South were virtually unchanged, and sales in the West were down a bit. Nonetheless, new home sales are up 14.4 percent from their recent trough in July 2006, yet still down 18.1 percent from their peak in July 2005. The median sales price of new homes rose 0.5 percent to $234,390 in December but is still down 1.5 percent from a year ago.
  • 01.25.2007
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Existing home sales fell at a 9 percent annual rate in December, but remained flat with September’s levels. Over the entire year, total sales are down about 8 percent, while single-family sales are down a bit over 7 percent. Median single–family home prices ticked up in December, but have been flat over the past year.
  • 01.19.2007
  • December CPI
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the CPI rose 0.5 percent (6.7 percent annualized) in December as energy prices soared. Excluding food and energy, the CPI was up an annualized 2.3 percent and the 16 percent trimmed–mean CPI increased 2.8 percent (annualized). Meanwhile, the median CPI rose 3.5 percent (annualized) last month. Over the past twelve months, the CPI, the CPI excluding food and energy, and the 16 percent trimmed mean CPI were all up about 2 1/2 percent, while the median CPI showed a 3.7 percent rise.
  • 01.19.2007
  • December Housing Starts
  • Total housing starts increased 4.5 percent in December, as multifamily–unit starts increased 30.6 percent. Single–family starts fell 4.1 percent over the month, taking back a little of November's 8.0 percent gain. On a year–over–year basis, single–family starts are down nearly 25 percent. Housing permits increased 5.5 percent in December, and single–family permits increased 1.2 percent. Both increases were the first increases seen in the series since January.
  • 01.17.2007
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index surged for the second consecutive month in December, rising 11.8 percent (annualized rate), while the PPI excluding food and energy rose a robust 2.3 percent following a 16.3 percent jump in November. Finished consumer goods excluding food prices rose a strong 12.9 percent (annualized rate) in December but are essentially flat with respect to prices at this time last year. Crude nonfood materials also rose sharply last month, pushed by higher prices of certain scrap metals and energy.
  • 01.17.2007
  • Industrial Production
  • Total industrial production significantly exceeded forecasts, rising 0.4 percent in December following three consecutive months of decline. Production in the manufacturing sector rebounded after also falling for the previous three months.Mining production was robust, while utility production fell, no doubt reflecting unseasonably warm weather in December. Durable goods manufacturing production was especially strong last month, with large gains in motor vehicles and parts, and in computer and electronic product production.
  • 01.12.2007
  • Retail Sales
  • Retail sales growth surpassed expectations and was generally broad–based, rising 0.9 percent in December. However, retail sales in November were revised down from 1 percent to 0.6 percent. Retail sales excluding auto sales rose a robust 1 percent. Year–over–year retail sales (ex. auto) growth, which has been decelerating since late last year, has improved over the past couple months, and is up 5.8 percent from December 2005.
  • 01.10.2007
  • November Trade
  • The nominal trade deficit declined by $0.6 billion to $58.2 billion in November. A fall in oil prices helped the import numbers, and capital goods exports were relatively strong for the month. Over the last 3 months the trade deficit has fallen $10.3 billion and is now at its lowest level in 16 months.
  • 01.10.2007
  • December Employment Report
  • Nonfarm payrolls increased by 167,000 net jobs in December—higher than this year's average monthly increase (153,000) and much higher than expected. Professional and business services grew the most over the month and the year, adding 50,000 and 420,000 jobs, respectively, while health care added 31,000 new jobs this month and 324,000 throughout the year. Employment in manufacturing continued to soften in December (-12,000), but job loss in construction was surprisingly low (-3,000). The manufacturing industry lost 72,000 jobs during 2006, while construction ended the year with little change. Meanwhile, data from households indicate that the rate of joblessness held steady at 4.5 percent in December.