Data Updates

Data Updates

January 2012

  • 01.31.2012
  • Employment Cost Index
  • Employer costs of compensation for civilian workers rose 0.4 percent (nonannualized) in the fourth quarter, following a 0.3 percent increase in the third quarter. The wages and salary component also increased 0.4 percent, up slightly from the third quarter’s 0.3 percent advance. The benefits component, averaging 1.2 percent growth in the first half of the year, continues to slow; increasing 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter. Year-over-year, civilian compensation has now advanced 2.0 percent for two straight quarters and has averaged 1.9 percent since the recession ended. Civilian wages and salaries increased 1.5 percent for the year while benefits continue an upward trajectory, increasing 3.2 percent. Year-over-year, private compensation grew 2.1 percent and has averaged 1.9 percent since the recession ended. Private wages and salaries increased 1.7 percent for the year while benefits grew 3.6 percent in 2011. Looking across private industry groups, manufacturing posted the largest increase, 2.8 percent, while leisure and hospitality increased 1.0 for the year.
  • 01.31.2012
  • Home Price Indexes
  • The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index fell 0.7 percent for both the 10- and 20-city composite indexes from October to November. Compared to last year, both the 10- and 20-city composites are down 3.6 and 3.8 percent, respectively. For the second consecutive month, 19 of the 20 covered cities saw their home prices decrease. However, eight of the 20 cities, including Cleveland, saw a decrease in monthly declines compared to October’s figures. Down 11.8 percent from last year, Atlanta maintains the lowest annual gain, while Detroit and Washington DC continue to post the only positive annual gains of 3.8 and 0.5 percent, respectively. Both indexes are now back to mid-2003 levels.

    The FHFA HPI rose 1.0 percent in November, following a downwardly revised 0.7 percent decline in October (from −.2 percent). On a year-over-year basis, the HPI is down 1.8 percent and is still 18.8 percent below its April 2007 peak. Performance across regions has been mixed over the past year. The largest year-over-year decline in house prices was in the Pacific region (down 4.2 percent), while the South Atlantic region saw the largest increase (up 2.1 percent).

  • 01.30.2012
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment was revised up by 1.0 index point to 75, a substantial increase from December’s level of 69.9. Over the past few months, consumer sentiment has shown a marked improvement, rising nearly 20 points from a recent low of 55.8 last August. Both the current conditions and consumer expectations components have contributed to the overall increase. In January, the current conditions component was revised up from 82.6 to 84.2, likely reflecting some reported positive momentum in the labor market. The expectations component, which has risen a little over 20 points since last August, was revised up from 68.4 to 69.1 in January, jumping up from a level of 63.6 in December. Median short-run (one-year ahead) inflation expectations ticked up from 3.1 percent to 3.3 percent in January, likely reflecting a modest increase in gas prices. On the other hand, and perhaps more importantly, longer-term (five-to-ten years ahead) expectations remained at 2.7 percent for the fourth consecutive month, which is somewhat remarkable. The last time longer-run expectations remained unchanged for 4 months was in mid-2003, incidentally also at 2.7 percent.
  • 01.30.2012
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income jumped up 0.5 percent (non-annualized) in December, following a slight 0.1 percent uptick in November, and is up 3.8 percent over the past year. Disposable personal income—personal income less current taxes—rose 0.4 percent in December (its largest increase in nine months), following a flat reading in November. After adjusting for price effects, “real” disposable income rose 0.3 percent during the month and rose 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter following two consecutive quarterly declines. Still, on a year-over-year basis, real disposable income has fallen 0.1 percent, providing little support for further consumption gains. As was hinted at by the surprisingly lackluster consumption growth in fourth-quarter real GDP, the monthly detail reveals downward revisions to October and November real consumption gains—which were both revised down from 0.2 percent to 0.1 percent increases. Also on a dour note, the trajectory in real consumption appears to have lost a little steam. Real consumption fell 0.1 percent in December, helping to pull its 3-month annualized growth rate down from 3.3 percent to 0.7 percent. On a year-over-year basis, real consumption is up just 1.4 percent, a considerably slower growth rate than at the start of 2011 (2.9 percent). As disposable income growth outpaced consumption in December, the personal savings rate rose from 3.5 percent to 4.0 percent—only its second increase in the past six months.
  • 01.30.2012
  • Personal Consumption Expenditure
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) ticked up at an annualized rate of 0.8 percent in December, following two consecutive (energy price induced) declines. On a year-over-year basis, PCE inflation has started to decelerate in recent months—down from a recent high of 2.9 percent in September to 2.4 percent as of December. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” PCE price index rose 1.9 percent in December, following upwardly revised, but still soft, readings in October and November. Still, on the fourth quarter as a whole, the core PCE rose just 1.1 percent, a significant slowdown from its year-over-year growth rate of 1.8 percent. The market-based core PCE—a subgroup of the core index that only excludes most imputed prices—rose 2.1 percent in December, following a 1.5 percent increase in November. The 12-month growth rate in the market-based core index edged up 0.1 percentage point to 1.9 percent in December.
  • 01.27.2012
  • Real GDP
  • Real GDP in the fourth quarter was estimated to have grown at an annual rate of 2.8 percent, falling just short of consensus expectations, according to the advance estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The real GDP growth in the fourth quarter was the largest gain since 2010:Q2, and was a full percentage point (pp) above third-quarter GDP growth. On a year-over-year basis, real GDP finished 2011 up 1.7 percent, compared with an increase of 3.0 percent in 2010.

    Fourth-quarter growth was driven by gains in consumption and investment, and by the change in private inventories. The change in private inventories contributed the most to overall growth, adding 1.94 pp, after subtracting significantly from third-quarter growth. Personal consumption numbers were equally as strong, especially goods consumption. Durable goods consumption increased 14.8 percent, and nondurable goods added 1.6 percent after falling 0.6 percent in the previous quarter. Services grew 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, well below its 1.9 percent increase in the prior period. Personal consumption expenditures added 2.0 pp to economic growth. Business fixed investment and residential investment also added to real GDP growth, but by smaller amounts. Residential investment grew 10.9, adding 0.2 pp to GDP growth, nonresidential structures fell 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter, and equipment and software investment increased 5.2 percent. Real BFI contributed 0.4 pp to output growth. Net exports subtracted 0.1 pp from real GDP growth in the fourth quarter, as gains in imports (a negative in the calculation of GDP) were greater than increases in exports.

    By far, the largest negative component of real GDP was government consumption and investment. State and local governments continued their declines, decreasing 2.6 percent and subtracting 0.3 pp from real GDP growth. Federal expenditures and investment declined sharply, especially for defense. National defense decreased 12.5 percent over the quarter, offsetting slight gains in nondefense spending. Federal expenditures reduced real economic growth 0.6 pp as a whole. The 0.9 pp subtraction from GDP due to government spending and investment declines was the second large negative contribution in 2011 (the first quarter, government expenditures subtracted 1.2 pp), but is a historically rare occurrence. Real final sales of domestic product, which is GDP less the change in private inventories, increased 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter. This is a somewhat disappointing number, but less so when taking into consideration the historically large declines in government expenditures and investment.

  • 01.26.2012
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods jumped up 3.0 percent (nonannualized rate) in December, and unlike November’s 4.3 percent gain, it was not heavily influenced by a spike in new orders for transportation equipment. Excluding transportation, new durables orders still increased 2.1 percent, compared to 0.5 percent gain in November, and are now up 7 percent over the past year. An important signal of future equipment and software investment—new orders of nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft—more than reversed a 1.2 percent decrease in November, rising 2.9 percent in December. Still, the series is up at an annualized rate of just 2.8 percent over the past three months, compared to its 12-month growth rate of 5.4 percent, which suggests a loss of momentum in recent months. Shipments of durables rose 2.1 percent in December, following a 0.3 percent decline in November, and are trending at a 9 percent clip over the past year. Durables shipments excluding transportation equipment increased 2.4 percent in December, slightly better than headline shipments, and are up roughly 10 percent over the past year. Interestingly, shipments of nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft jumped up 2.9 percent in December following three consecutive monthly declines. Manufacturers’ continued to add to their inventories of durables in December, albeit at a slower pace than earlier in the year. Inventories ticked up 0.3 percent in December, compared to an average monthly gain of 1.2 percent through the first half of the 2011.
  • 01.26.2012
  • New Home Sales
  • New single-family home sales fell 2.2 percent in December to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 307,000 units. December’s decline ends three consecutive months of gains. Moreover, compared to December 2010, new single-family home sales are down 7.3 percent. Regionally, sales ranged from a 10.1 percent decline in the South to a 46.7 percent increase in the Northeast. The median sales price fell 2.5 percent in December to $210,300 while the average sales price rose 6.3 percent to $266,000. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new single-family homes for sale at the end of December was 157,000 units, representing 6.1 months of supply at the current sales rate.
  • 01.20.2012
  • Existing Home Sales
  • According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of existing single-family homes rose 4.6 percent from November to December to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.1 million units sold, the highest level since May 2010. This also represents the third consecutive month of positive growth and a 4.3 percent increase from December 2010. Nationally, sales ranged from a 10.6 percent increase in the Northwest, to a 0.9 percent decrease in the West. The median price of home fell to $165,100, a 2.5 percent decrease from last year. The annual median price of homes fell across all census regions, most significantly a 7.4 percent decrease in the Midwest. As sales continue to improve, the monthly supply and inventory of existing single-family are steadily declining, partially due to a continuing decline on new home construction. The monthly supply of housing fell for the fifth consecutive month to only 6.1 months supply, the lowest since April 2006. Inventories fell for the sixth consecutive month to 2.08 million units, which is the lowest level since March 2005.
  • 01.19.2012
  • CPI
  • slight 0.6 percent increase in November. On a year-over-year basis, the headline CPI continued to drift down toward underlying inflation measures, edging down from 3.3 percent to 3.0 percent during the month. Excluding food and energy components, the price index rose 1.8 percent, in line with its 3-month annualized growth rate, and down slightly from its 12-month growth rate of 2.2 percent. Our measures of underlying inflation—the median CPI and 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI—disagreed markedly in December. The median CPI rose 2.9 percent, while the trim was up just 1.5 percent. Interestingly, the spike up in the median during December exceeded its longer-run (12-month) growth rate of 2.2 percent, while the increase in the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI is in line with its more subdued trend, which is down from its 12-month growth rate of 2.5 percent.

    It appears that there are a few relative price changes that are causing the disparity. Rents are starting to accelerate. Rent of primary residence rose 3.1 percent in December, and has risen 3.5 percent over the past six months. Owners’ equivalent rent (OER) rose 2.2 percent in December and is up 2.3 percent over the past six months. Interestingly, all but one of the regional OER components we use to compute the median CPI posted an increase near 3.0 percent in December (the median component was OER: Midwest, which rose 2.9 percent). On the other hand, price increases in autos and apparel from earlier in the year continued to unwind in December, with apparel prices falling 1.4 percent and auto prices decreasing 5.0 percent. So while rents were pushing up on the median, decreasing apparel and auto prices were holding down the trim. Given that the weight of OER trumps that of apparel and autos, it likely means that underlying inflation was closer to the 16 percent trimmed-mean this month than the median. This would, in turn, suggest that inflation is continuing on its more subdued path than we saw in mid-2011.

  • 01.19.2012
  • Housing Starts
  • New privately-owned housing starts fell in December, declining 4.1 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 657,000 units. December’s performance was mixed as new single-family structures started improved while new multi-family housing units started—which tend to be highly volatile—fell significantly. In December, new single-family housing starts rose for the third consecutive month, increasing 4.4 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 470,000 units. Moreover, compared to December 2010, new single-family housing units started are up 11.6 percent, representing the largest year-over-year increase in the series since May 2010. Comparatively, new multi-family housing units started declined 20.4 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 187,000 units. On a year-over-year basis, new multi-family housing units started are up 78.1 percent.

    New privately-owned housing units authorized fell slightly in December, falling 0.1 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 679,000 units. Again, December&rsqou;s performance was mixed as new single-family housing units authorized rose while multi-family housing units authorized fell. New single-family housing authorized rose 1.8 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 444,000, representing the highest level since December 2010. On a year-over-year basis, new single-family authorizations are down 0.2 percent. Multi-family housing units authorized fell in December, declining 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 235,000 units. Compared to December 2010, multi-family housing units authorized are up 27.0 percent.

  • 01.18.2012
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods slipped down at an annualized rate of 1.2 percent in December, following a 3.2 percent increase in November. The headline decrease came as declining producer food and energy prices (each falling in excess of 8.0 percent) more than offset gains elsewhere in the basket. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” PPI jumped up 4.1 percent in December, its largest monthly gain since July. Still, over the past three months the annualized growth rate in the core PPI is just 1.8 percent, compared to its longer-term (12-month) growth rate of 3.0 percent. Further back on the production line, pricing pressure continued to ebb, as core intermediate goods prices fell for the third consecutive time (down 5.5 percent in December) and core crude goods were flat, following fairly sharp declines over the previous two months. On a year-over-year basis, core intermediate goods are up 4.1 percent. The 12-month growth rate in core crude goods, after surging to a series high of 50 percent in mid-2010, stands at just 3.3 percent in December.
  • 01.18.2012
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production increased 0.4 percent (nonannualized) in December, after falling 0.2 percent in November. On a year-over-year basis, overall production is up 2.9 percent—continuing to decelerate from a 2012 first quarter reading of 5.5 percent—but remains above its 25-year growth rate of 2.2 percent. Manufacturing production climbed up 0.9 percent in December and has risen at an annualized rate of 4.0 percent over the past three months, compared to its 12-month growth rate of 3.7 percent. After stripping out motor vehicles production, manufacturing output rose 0.9 percent in December after a 0.2 percent decline in November. Outside manufacturing, mining production posted modest gains, increasing 0.4 percent in December and is now up 6.5 percent on a year-over-year basis (for comparison, the 10-year growth rate in mining output is 0.6 percent). Electric and gas utilities output plummeted 2.7 percent in December as weather patterns have been unusual warmer than normal. Capacity utilization edged up 0.3 percentage points to 78.1 percent of capacity in December and has improved 1.3 percentage points from December 2010.
  • 01.13.2012
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment jumped up to an index level of 74.0 in early January, its first foray above 70 since June 2011. Sentiment has increased 18.3 points over of the past five months. Both the current conditions and consumer expectations components contributed to the overall increase. The current conditions component rose 3.0 points to 82.6 in January, and has risen roughly 14 points in the past five months. The expectations component, which rose by 21 points and is responsible for the bulk of the overall increase since August, increased from 63.6 in December to 68.4 in January. Median inflation expectations for both the shorter-run (one-year ahead) and longer-term (five-to-ten years ahead) ticked up for the first time since August. Shorter-run expectations rose 0.1 percentage point to 3.2 percent, while longer-term expectations edged up from 2.7 percent to 2.8 percent (but remain 0.1 percentage point below their average over the past 10 years).
  • 01.13.2012
  • Import and Export Prices
  • U.S import prices ticked down 0.1 percent in December after rising a revised 0.8 percent in November (0.7 percent, previously). December marks the fourth decrease in the past five months signaling a low potential for foreign prices to cause increases in domestic price levels. The decline, in line with consensus forecasts, was driven by a −0.4 percent fuel import prices which were offset a 0.1 percent uptick in nonfuel import prices. On a year-over-year basis import prices were up 8.5 percent marking the third consecutive year imports increased. Non-fuel import prices turned positive in December, marking 0.1 percent gains after decreasing in November and October by 0.2 percent. Year-over-year, non-fuel import prices advanced as well, with gains of 3.4 percent, up from 3.0 percent in 2010. Drivers behind 2011’s increase were nonfuel industrial supplies (up 6.8 percent) and materials and foods, feeds and beverages (up 6.3 percent).

    U.S. export prices declined 0.5 percent in December after rising 0.1 percent in November. Decreases in both agricultural exports (down 2.6 percent) and nonagricultural exports (down 0.2 percent) contributed to the overall decline. Year-over-year, exports posted gains of 3.6 percent for 2011, a slight decrease from 2010’s 6.5 percent gain.

  • 01.13.2012
  • International Trade
  • In November, the U.S. trade deficit expanded by $4.5 billion to −$47.8 billion, up from October’s revised $43.3 billion (−$43.5 billion previously). November’s widening is larger than consensus forecasts, which had predicted November’s deficit to be −$45 billion. The goods deficit widened by $4.6 billion while the surplus on services increased by a modest $0.1 billion, hardly offsetting the rapid expansion of the good deficit which in turn drove the expansion of the overall trade deficit. The combination of imports of goods jumping $3.1 billion and exports of goods falling $1.5 billion contributed to the widening of the goods deficit. Strong imports of goods also drove the overall level of imports, which increased by $3 billion to $225.6 in November after declining for four of the past five months. Exports of goods were also a driver of overall exports, which declined for the second consecutive month falling by $1.6 billion to $117.8 billion. On a year-over-year basis, imports continue to post double-digit gains, increasing 12.7 percent, up from October’s 11.9 percent yearly pace. Despite decreasing from October to November, exports posted 10.3 percent yearly gains. The year-over-year increase is a deceleration from October’s 12.3 percent yearly pace and an even further decline from September’s 16.1 percent gain. If exports continue to slow in the coming months, they then have the potential to negatively impact GDP calculations.
  • 01.12.2012
  • Retail Sales
  • Retail sales edged up 0.1 percent in December, following upwardly revised 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent gains in November and October, respectively. The series is up 6.5 percent on a year-over-year basis. Autos sales—up 1.5 percent in December—were much of the reason for an overall increase. Excluding autos, retail sales actually fell 0.2 percent during the month, following a 0.3 percent gain in November, but are still up 6.0 percent over the past year. Cross-category sales performance was mixed in December, with 7 of 13 broad categories seeing nominal sales gains. Outside autos, sales gains were strongest at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (up 1.6 percent), furniture and home furnishing stores (up 1.0 percent), and clothing and clothing accessories stores (up 0.7 percent). On the other hand, sales at electronics and appliance stores (down 3.9 percent), gasoline stations (down 1.6 percent), and general merchandise stores (down 0.8 percent) led declining categories. “Core” retail sales (sales excluding autos, building supplies, and gas stations)—a less noisy indicator of the trend in consumption growth—slipped down 0.2 percent in December, following a 6-month string of fairly robust gains. On the fourth quarter as a whole, core retail sales rose at an annualized rate of 5.3 percent, roughly in-line with its third quarter increase of 5.1 percent and its year-over-year growth rate of 5.4 percent.
  • 01.10.2012
  • Consumer Credit
  • Total consumer credit outstanding surged in November, increasing $20.4 billion (0.8 percent) to $2.478 trillion on a seasonally adjusted basis, representing the largest one month increase in total consumer credit since November 2001. November’s performance marks the tenth time in eleven months that consumer credit has risen. Moreover, on a year-over-year basis, total consumer credit has increased 3.2 percent. The increased appetite for consumer debt is a positive sign that suggests consumers have a more confident economic outlook. Driven by strong automobile sales in November, growth in total consumer credit continues to be concentrated in nonrevolving accounts, which rose 0.9 percent in November and are up 4.7 percent on a year-over-year basis. Revolving accounts also surged in November, increasing 0.7 percent; however, on a year-over-year basis, revolving accounts were flat.
  • 01.06.2012
  • Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
  • December’s news was dominated by the dollar liquidity swap lines extended to foreign central banks. At the end of November, the Fed announced that the swap operations would be made available to foreign banks at a lower interest rate. Throughout December, the balance of swap operations outstanding expanded from $2 billion to nearly $100 billion. The largest user was the European Central Bank, which drew $85 billion, but operations were also conducted with the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank. Closing out the year, the balance owed to the Fed by the three Maiden Lane vehicles fell under $20 billion, down from $52 billion at the beginning of 2011. Regarding Operation Twist, the New York Fed announced in the last week of December that they would purchase and sell approximately $45 billion of Treasury securities during the month of January. The mortgage-backed securities (MBS) reinvestment strategy has also continued as planned, with purchases of MBS starting to settle on the books of the Fed. Typical year-end increases were noticeable in the balance of Treasury deposits at reserve banks, which spiked from $21.5 billion to $112.4 billion.
  • 01.06.2012
  • Employment Situation
  • Nonfarm payrolls rose by 200,000 in December, following an downwardly revised 100,000 gain in November (though October’s estimate was revised upward nearly offsetting November’s adjustment). For 2011 as a whole, total nonfarm payrolls rose by 1.6 million workers. Though after excluding the government sector, which shed nearly 300,000 workers over the year, private payrolls rose 1.9 million. December’s overall gain, which came in above expectations of roughly 150,000, was bolstered by a particularly large jump in transportation and warehousing (up 50,000). The release noted the jump was due to strong seasonal hiring. Interestingly, we saw a similar gain in this series last December that was almost completely wiped out in January. Goods-producing payrolls posted their strongest monthly gain since July, rising 48,000 in December. Gains were spread across the sector, with construction employment jumping up 17,000 (following two consecutive declines that totaled 22,000), manufacturing payrolls that rose 23,000 (more than doubling its total gain over the last 4 months), and mining & logging employment that continued to post modest gains (up 8,000).

    On the service side, retail trade employment rose by 28,000 in December, compared to a 39,000 increase in November, totaling a 240,000 gain in 2011 as a whole. Healthcare payrolls continued its steady upward march, rising 29,000 during the month. Employment in the healthcare sector rose by 315,000 in 2011, and by roughly 820,000 since the end of the recession. As an aside, employment in this sector did happen to swell by a little over half a million during the recession). Aside from the surprise in transportation and warehousing, modest gains were seen across other service industries.

    Elsewhere on the establishment side of the report, the average workweek did tick up 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours and average hourly earnings rose by 0.2 percent to $23.24. On the year, average hourly earnings rose by 2.1 percent, though (barring a shock in December’s inflation data) failed to keep pace with the rise in the CPI. On the household side, the unemployment rate edged down 0.2 percentage points to 8.5 percent. This follows what we thought was a somewhat shocking 0.4 percentage point (pp) decrease in November, though after a revision to the seasonal factors in 2011, that became a 0.2 pp decline down to 8.7 percent. The unemployment improved modestly during 2011, falling nearly a percentage point—from 9.4 percent to 8.5 percent. However, this improvement came as the civilian labor force, which usually adds a little more than 1 million workers a year, was roughly stagnant. An alternative measure of labor market health—the employment-to-population ratio—stands at 58.5 percent, and has yet to show any significant improvement since the recovery began.

  • 01.03.2012
  • ISM Manufacturing Index
  • The ISM’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) came in above consensus expectations for the second straight month, increasing from 52.7 to 53.9 in December. Gains were reported in the production, new orders, and employment components. The production component grew 3.3 points to an index level of 59.9, while new orders increased for the third straight month to 57.6. For the first time in three months, the employment component moved in a positive direction, climbing 3.3 points to an index level of 55.1. These gains were partly offset by a modest decline in the inventories component, which fell to an index level of 47.1. Supplier deliveries were flat for the month, remaining at 49.9 and below the growth threshold of 50. The prices index (which is not seasonally adjusted and does not enter into the overall PMI) continued to rebound from its October reading of 41.0, increasing to 47.5 in December.
  • 01.03.2012
  • Construction Spending
  • After downward revisions to August and September, private construction spending shifted up 11.4 percent (annualized rate) in November. Residential spending increased by 2 percent, while non-residential was flat over the month. Looking over the past 12-months, private construction spending is up almost 4.0 percent. Non-residential spending is up 4.5 percent from this time last year even with the slight slowdown in October and November. Power, utility, and healthcare structures are driving the increase while sectors like office, communication and religious are struggling to break out of declining or flat trends. Commercial structures had a slight fall of 0.8 percent in October, but have seen the largest gain of 12.6 percent since November 2010. On the residential side, multi-family construction (up 4.1 percent over the year) continues to outperform single-family home construction (1.5 percent since this time last year). Home improvement is starting to see a flat to upward trend; October and November were equal at $278.6 billion which is a 4.5 percent increase over a year ago.
  • 01.03.2012
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.8 percent (nonannualized) in November, following two consecutive monthly decreases and pushing its 3-month annualized growth rate up to 6.4 percent from −0.9 percent in October. Excluding transportation new orders increased 0.3 percent in November. Durable goods orders continued to be a source of strength increasing 3.7 percent while nondurable goods rose just 0.3 percent. Nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders, considered a leading indicator of business investment spending, fell 1.2 percent for the month causing its 3-month annualized growth rate to turn negative, −2.9 percent, for the first time since February. Shipments of manufactured goods were slightly positive for the month while its 3-month annualized growth rate remains at 3.3 percent. Unfilled orders increased 1.3 percent and pushed the unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio to 6.16 from 6.07 in October. Inventories continue to accumulate, 0.5 percent, with the inventories-to-shipments ratio now at 1.34.