Data Updates

Data Updates

October 2008

  • 10.31.2008
  • Personal Incomes
  • Nominal personal income increased slightly in September, rising at an annualized rate of 2.4 percent, following a downwardly revised 4.5 percent gain in August. Employee compensation was virtually flat during the month, and is up 3.3 percent over the past year. Disposable personal income increased 2.9 percent in September after three consecutive double–digit losses as the fiscal stimulus unwound. Before adjusting for price effects, personal consumption fell 3.9 percent in September. Real (inflation–adjusted) personal consumption decreased 5.1 percent during the month, and the 12–month growth rate in consumption fell to −0.4 percent. This is the first time the growth rate in real consumption has fallen negative since February 1991.
  • 10.31.2008
  • PCE Price Index
  • The PCE price index increased 1.3 percent (annualized rate) in September, but still rose 5.4 percent in the third quarter. Over the past 12 months, the PCE price index has risen 4.2 percent. Excluding food and energy prices (Core PCE), the index increased 2.1 percent during the month, compared to 2.7 percent in August. The 12–month growth rate in core PCE stands at 2.4 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from last month.
  • 10.31.2008
  • Employment Cost Index
  • The Employment Cost Index (ECI) for civilian workers increase at an annualized rate of 3.0 percent in the third quarter, marking a slight acceleration from 2.6 percent in the second quarter. Over the past year the ECI for civilians is up 3.0 percent. Wages and salaries grew in–line with the last few quarters, increasing 3.0 percent in the third quarter, while benefits increased 2.6 percent, up from 2.3 percent in the second quarter.
  • 10.31.2008
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • Consumer sentiment was relatively unchanged during the final revision in October, according to the University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumers. Sentiment ticked up 0.1 index point to 57.5 during the revision, but that still represents a 12.7 point drop in sentiment from September to October. One year ahead average inflation expectations were revised down from 4.6 percent to 4.3 percent in October as, “one–in–four consumers expected a zero inflation rate during the year ahead.” However, longer term (five–to–ten year ahead) average inflation expectations ticked up during the revision—from 2.9 percent to 3.1 percent for October—but is still down from 3.3 percent in September and 3.9 percent in August.
  • 10.30.2008
  • Real GDP (3Q Advance)
  • Real GDP decreased at an annualized rate of 0.3 percent in the third quarter, slightly above expectations. Much of the decrease was due to a dramatic drop in consumption and a decrease in investments. Personal consumption expenditures decreased 3.1 percent in the third quarter. You have to go all the way back to 1980:Q2 to find a larger decrease in consumption. Even worse, spending on nondurable goods fell 6.5 percent during the quarter, its largest decrease since 1950:Q4. Nonresidential fixed investment fell 1.0 percent, while residential investment—resuming a more negative path—decreased 19.1 percent in the third quarter. Hedging the decline in growth: Real exports increased 5.9 percent in the third quarter and real imports decreased 1.9 percent, adding 1.1 percentage points to the percent change in real GDP combined. Government consumption expenditures and gross investment rose 5.8 percent (adding 1.2 percentage points to growth) during the quarter, as national defense spending jumped up 18.2 percent. Also the real change in private inventories added 0.6 percentage point to real GDP growth in the third quarter. An alternative barometer of our national performance in the third quarter—real gross domestic purchases (purchases by U.S. residents wherever produced)—fell 1.3 percent, compared to −0.1 percent last quarter.
  • 10.29.2008
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods increased 0.8 percent (nonannualized) in September, surprising expectations of a slight decrease. However, this follows a downward revision to August’s new orders—from −4.5 percent to −5.5 percent. Nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft fell 1.4 percent in September, following a 2.2 percent decrease in August. Over the past 12 months, the series is up only 0.5 percent. Shipments of durable goods rebounded slightly from last month’s 4.2 percent decrease, rising 0.2 percent in September. Inventories continued to accumulate in September, increasing 0.4 percent and have risen 8.1 percent over the last year.
  • 10.28.2008
  • S&P/Case–Shiller Home Price Indexes
  • Both the 10–city and the 20–city S&P Case–Shiller home price indexes continued to decline in August. The 12–month growth rate in the 10–city index fell from −17.5 percent to −17.7 percent, while the 12–month growth rate in the 20–city index fell from −16.3 percent to –16.6 percent. Both represent all–time lows for year–over–year home price appreciation. The 12–month growth rates in both indexes have been declining since the beginning of 2006, but in the last few months the pace of that decline has slowed somewhat. However, it is still too early to assume this is a sign of prices bottoming out. The 12–month growth rate in the FHFA (formerly OFHEO) total U.S. purchase–only house price index—which includes more rural areas than the S&P/Case–Shiller indexes—fell from −5.5 percent to −5.9 percent in August.
  • 10.27.2008
  • New Home Sales
  • New single–family home sales increased 2.7 percent in September after falling 12.6 percent in August. The gain was almost entirely seen in the west, as the South was up only slightly and the Northeast and Midwest both saw declines. The 12–month growth rate in sales improved somewhat in September, but at −33.1 percent, it is still very weak and not much above its recent low of −40.2 percent. The median sales price declined in September, bringing it to its lowest level since 2004 and down 9.1 percent from a year ago. The number of homes on the market continued to decline rapidly in September falling by 7.3 percent, the largest change recorded since the series began in 1963. In terms of months’ of supply at the current sales pace, inventories declined by a full month to 10.4 but remain substantially elevated.
  • 10.24.2008
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Total existing home sales increased 5.5 percent in September, their highest level since August 2007. The generally less–volatile single–family series increased 6.2 percent in September after holding fairly steady over the past 12 months. The increase brings the 12–month growth rate in single–family sales into positive territory for the first time since November 2005. However, the sales pace is still down 27.1 percent from its peak in September 2005. On a year–over–year basis, the median sales price of existing single–family homes was down 8.6 percent in September, just slightly better than the 9.7 percent year–over–year drop in August. The total number of single–family homes on the market held flat in September, resulting in a decrease in the number of months of supply at the current sales pace. Despite the decrease, the level of inventory remains elevated at 9.4 months of supply.
  • 10.17.2008
  • Housing Starts
  • Total housing starts fell 6.3 percent in September, resulting in a 12–month growth rate of −31.1 percent, above August’s rate of −34.8 percent. The decline was entirely in single-family home starts, which fell 12.0 percent, its largest decline since 2006. The decline brings single family housing starts down to a pace of 544,000 units annually. That is the third slowest pace since the series began in 1959: the only two months when fewer homes were started were October and November 1981 when the annual starts pace was 523,000 and 538,000, respectively. The total number of permits authorized in September fell 8.3 percent, while permits for single-family homes fell 3.8 percent and are now down 38.9 percent from a year ago.
  • 10.17.2008
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • Consumer sentiment, as measured by the University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumers, fell 12.8 points to an index value of 57.5 in October. However sentiment was lower in June of this year, posting a value of 56.4. According to the release, “There have been only four surveys that posted monthly declines of 10.0 Index–points or more. All of the prior double–digit declines were based on severe economic dislocations with the losses accelerated by fear and panic.” The current conditions component plummeted by 16 points, its largest monthly decrease ever, and the expectations component fell from 67.2 in September to 56.7 in October. The difference between the current conditions and expectations components fell to 2.2 points from 7.8 a points a month ago, which is a somewhat welcome development, as it may indicate that consumers are not expecting things to get much worse. One–year ahead average expectations remained flat in October at 4.6 percent, while the longer–term average expectations fell dramatically, from 3.3 percent in September to 2.9 percent.
  • 10.16.2008
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production fell 29.0 percent (annualized rate) in September, following an 11.0 percent decrease in August. According to the press release from the Federal Reserve, “hurricanes Gustav and Ike and a strike at a major producer of civilian aircraft severely curtailed output.” On a nonannualized basis, the Federal Reserve estimates that 2.25 percentage points of the 2.8 percent decrease in production was due to the hurricanes. Production fell 6.0 percent (annualized rate) in the third quarter and is down 4.5 percent over the past year. Mining output plummeted 62.2 percent in September, as oil and gas facilities in the Gulf were shut down due to the hurricanes. Manufacturing production fell 27.7 percent during the month and is down 4.8 percent over the past year. Utilities output rose in September but is still off by -2.1 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • 10.16.2008
  • Price Statistics, September 2008
  • Overall, this was a fairly encouraging report. The CPI was virtually unchanged in September, falling just 0.4 percent at an annualized rate, while the core was up only 1.7 percent (a.r.). The longer-term (12-month) trend in the CPI ticked down from 5.4 percent to 4.9 percent in September, while the 12-month percent change in the core CPI remained at 2.5. Turning to the trimmed-mean measures produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the median CPI rose 2.9 percent in September, while the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI increased just 1.4 percent. Over the past couple of months, the median CPI has remained stubbornly elevated (falling only slightly), while the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI has fallen dramatically from July’s 7.2 percent increase. This disparity between the median and the trim has a lot to do with the majority of the index's components falling in the tails of the distribution. In September, for example, only 29 percent of the CPI’s components increased in price between 1 and 4 percent, while 26 percent decreased and 23 percent rose at rates exceeding 5.0 percent.
  • 10.15.2008
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales fell 13.1 percent (annualized rate) in September, following a downwardly revised 5.2 percent decrease in August. Retail sales have now fallen 1.0 percent over the past 12 months, their first negative growth rate since October 2002. Excluding auto sales, losses in September were less severe, falling 7.0 percent. Sales fell in most categories during the month. The only bright spots were sales at health and personal care stores (+ 5.4 percent), and sales at gas stations (+ 0.8 percent).
  • 10.15.2008
  • PPI
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods fell at an annualized rate of 4.5 percent in September, after a decrease of 10.6 percent in August. However, on a year–over–year basis, the PPI is still up 8.7 percent. The culprit behind the large decrease was once again energy prices, which fell an annualized 29.4 percent during the month. The PPI excluding food and energy prices (core PPI) rose 5.1 percent (annualized rate) in September and is up 4.1 percent over the past year. Further back on the production line, both core intermediate and core crude goods prices decreased in September, falling 3.7 percent and 69.4 percent, respectively.
  • 10.10.2008
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices fell 30.5 percent (annualized rate) in September, following a 26.9 percent decrease in August. While the headline decrease is reflective of large decreases in energy and other commodities, nonpetroleum prices also ebbed in September, falling 9.9 percent. Over the past 12 months, import prices are still up 14.5 percent and nonpetroleum import prices have increased 6.5 percent. Export prices decreased 10.9 percent in September. Export prices have fallen at an annualized rate of 14.9 percent over the last two months, compared to an increase of 6.8 percent over the past year.
  • 10.03.2008
  • Employment Report
  • Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 159,000 in September, marking its largest decrease since March 2003 and its ninth consecutive decrease. Though the revisions for the past two months were relatively minor overall, private payrolls for July and August were revised downward by 40,000 and 43,000, respectively, and government payrolls were revised up 33,000 and 47,000. For the year, private payrolls are down 969,000 while government payrolls have risen by 209,000. Payroll employment losses were spread across a wide range of industries. Manufacturing was down −51,000, construction −35,000, and private services −91,000. On the upside were natural resources (+9,000), education and health services (+25,000) and government (+9,000). Overall, the one and three–month employment diffusion indexes stood at 38.1 and 36.1, indicating weakness across a broad range of industries. The unemployment rate remained at 6.1 percent in September, and private average weekly hours ticked down 0.1 to 33.6 hours.
  • 10.02.2008
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods fell 4.0 percent (nonannualized) in August, following a downwardly–revised 0.7 percent increase in July. New orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft decreased by 2.4 percent during the month, but are still up 1.5 percent over the past 12 months. Shipments for all manufacturing dropped by 3.5 percent in August, its largest decrease since January 2007. Over the past three months, shipments are down 0.3 percent. Unfilled orders rose just 0.4 percent in August, compared to an average increase of 0.8 percent since the beginning of the year. Inventories continued to rise in August and are up 8.6 percent over the past year.
  • 10.01.2008
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM manufacturing index plummeted 6.4 points to an index value of 43.5 in September, its lowest value since October 2001, and solidly below the ISM’s expansion threshold of 50. Every component of the diffusion index decreased in September except supplier deliveries (up 2.2 points to 52.5). New orders fell to 38.8 from 48.3 in August. The production index indicated contraction in September for the first time in five months, falling 11.3 points to 40.8. The employment index fell to 41.8 in September, its lowest value since April 2003. While not mentioned explicitly in the report, it is reasonable to assume somewhat of a negative bias due to Hurricane’s Gustav and Ike.
  • 10.01.2008
  • Construction Spending
  • Total construction spending was virtually flat in August after falling 1.4 percent in July. On the private side, total construction spending fell 0.3 percent over the month following July’s downwardly revised 2.4 percent drop. Private residential construction increased 0.3 percent in August, the first such increase since March 2007 and only the second increase since the series peaked in March 2006. Private nonresidential construction spending declined for the second consecutive month in August, dropping 0.8 percent on top of July’s downwardly revised 1.1 percent decline. Prior to July, nonresidential construction spending had been increasing steadily and had not declined in roughly a year and a half. Private nonresidential construction spending in both June and July was revised up with the release of August’s data. However, since June’s data was revised up more substantially than July’s data there is a more noticeable drop of in spending from June to July than originally reported. Overall nonresidential construction is still up 13.0 percent from a year ago, but the recent declines may be some cause for concern should spending not pick up in the coming months.