Data Updates

Data Updates

October 2011

  • 10.31.2011
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment increased 3.4 points in late October to an index level of 60.9 (57.5 previously). Although October marks a 5.2 point gain from a low in August, the index still remains at levels reminiscent of early 2009. Contributing to the gain was an uptick in current economic conditions to 75.1, up 1.3 points from 73.8 earlier in the month, as well as an increase in consumer expectations which jumped 4.8 points to 51.8 from 47.0. Even though consumers indicated marginal gains in favorable economic prospects, 71 percent of all consumers still expected bad times financially in the economy in the year ahead. Both shorter-term median inflation expectations (one-year ahead) and longer-term inflation expectations (five-years ahead) remained unchanged at 3.2 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.
  • 10.28.2011
  • Personal Consumption Expenditure
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) price index rose 2.0 percent in September, following an upwardly revised 3.2 percent gain in August. Food prices continued to elevate, climbing 6.5 percent in September, and volatile energy prices rose 28.2 percent, contributing to the overall increase. Over the past 12 months, the PCE price index is up 3.0 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” PCE price index was flat in September, falling from the 2.0 percent pace in August. On a year-over-year basis the index remained at 1.7 percent. The core CPI also saw a significant drop in its monthly growth rate in September. The market-based core PCE—a subgroup of the core index that only excludes most imputed prices—rose just 0.4 percent in September. The market-based core measure is up 1.6 percent over the past year.
  • 10.28.2011
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income slipped down grew 0.1 percent (non-annualized) in September, reversing a 0.1 percent drop in August, and is 4.4 percent over the past year. Disposable personal income—personal income less current taxes—increased 0.1 percent in September after a downwardly revised 0.1 percent drop in August. After adjusting for price changes, “real” disposable income posted its third consecutive monthly decline, falling 0.1 percent. The series’ 12-month growth rate has softened in the third quarter and is trending at just 0.2 percent in September. After recent declines in nominal government transfers for social programs fell in each of the previous two months, the series avoided losses in September (largely due to an increase in unemployment insurance transfers and slower declines in Medicaid). Real personal consumption expenditures were up 0.5 percent in September after a flat reading in August. The 12-month growth rate for the series climbed to 2.2 percent. Durables spending recovered from a revised August decline of 1.0 percent by adding 2.6 percent in September, while nondurables purchases posted a 0.5 percent gain, its strongest in nearly one year. Services consumption rose 0.1 percent in August, and is up 1.8 percent over the past year. The personal savings rate (as a percent of disposable income) fell 0.5 percentage points in September to 3.6 percent, even after the rate in August was revised down an extra 0.4 percentage points. September savings rate is the lowest since December 2007.
  • 10.28.2011
  • Employment Cost Index
  • Employer costs of compensation for civilian workers rose 0.3 percent in the third quarter, after increasing 0.7 percent in the second quarter. The wages and salary component edged up 0.3 percent, down slightly from the second quarter’s 0.4 percent advance. The benefits component, averaging 1.2 percent growth in the first half of the year, fell to 0.1 percent growth in the third quarter causing overall compensation to increase at a slower pace. Year-over-year, compensation advanced 2.0 percent, down from the second quarter’s 2.2 percent yearly gain. Compensation of private industry workers continues to advance posting gains of 0.4 percent on a quarterly basis and 2.2 percent year-over-year. Compared to the beginning of the year, however, quarterly and yearly growth slowed in the third quarter. Compensation of state and local workers ticked up 0.1 percent in the third quarter after increasing 1.2 percent in the second quarter. The deceleration in growth was caused by a 0.2 percent decrease in wage compensation. Year-over-year, compensation of state and local workers continued to rise, edging up 1.5 percent.
  • 10.27.2011
  • New Home Sales
  • Sales of new single-family homes rose 5.7 percent in September to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 313,000 units. September’s improvement follows an upwardly revised 0.3 percent decline in August. On a year-over-year basis, sales of new single-family homes fell 0.9 percent in September. Sales activity was strongest in the South and West regions, where sales rose 11.2 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively. Conversely, sales declined in the Northeast (4.2 percent) and Midwest (12.2 percent). The median sales price of a new single-family home fell for the third consecutive month in September, declining 3.1 percent to $204,400. The number of new single-family homes for sale was flat in September at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 163,000 units, representing 6.2 months of supply at the current sales rate.
  • 10.27.2011
  • GDP
  • Real GDP rose at an annualized rate of 2.5 percent in the third quarter, keeping the 4-quarter growth rate at 1.6 percent. Third quarter’s growth rate tops gains made in both the second and first quarters, which grew 1.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. The acceleration relative to the previous two quarters primarily reflects a pickup in consumption growth and real BFI growth, and a deceleration in the decline of state and local government spending. These gains were somewhat offset by smaller increases in private inventories.

    PCE was the big driver of this quarter’s accelerated growth, increasing its contribution to real economic output from 0.5 percentage points (pp) to 1.7 pp. Durable goods made a big rebound from its 5.3 percent drop in the second quarter, jumping 4.1 percent in the third. Services also gained in the quarter, increasing its growth rate from 1.9 percent to 3.0 percent. Real BFI still came in strong as well, growing 16.3 percent, and contributing 1.5 pp to real growth. The jump was thanks to gains in equipment and software investment growth, which accelerated from 6.2 percent to 17.4 percent. This increase in software investment was somewhat offset but a decline in structures investment to 13.3 percent. A slight slowdown occurred in residential investment growth. Government spending came in flat, as gains in federal spending offset the losses in state and local spending. Federal spending was relatively flat, but there was a slower drop in state and local spending in the third quarter, which declined only 1.3 percent. Net exports continued to add 0.2 pp after increases in both exports (4.0 percent) and imports (1.9 percent). Private inventories slowed to an addition of $5.4 billion, dropping its contribution to real GDP to &minius;1.1 pp. Given the slowdown in inventories accumulation, along with large gains in consumption and fixed investment, final sales of domestic product grew 3.6 percent in the third quarter, adding a full 2.0 percentage points to second quarter’s figure.

  • 10.26.2011
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durables fell 0.8 percent (nonannualized rate) in September, following a 0.1 percent decline in August. The 12-month growth rate also dropped in September, falling from a slightly revised 12.4 percent to just 4.9 percent, hitting its lowest mark since December 2009. Excluding transportation, new orders grew 1.7 percent in September after August's numbers were revised down to a 0.4 percent loss. New orders excluding transportation are now up 8.1 percent over the past year. An important signal of future equipment and software investment—new orders of nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft—rose 2.4 percent, following a downwardly revised (but still positive) 0.5 percent increase in August. After September's data and revisions, the 12-month growth rate in the series remained at 8.6 percent. Shipments of durables fell 0.7 percent in September, but the drop was somewhat offset by an upwardly revised August (0.1 percent). Durables shipments are up 7.3 percent on a year-over-year basis. Durables shipments excluding transportation equipment fell 0.1 percent during the month but are still up 9.3 percent over the past year. Durables inventories added to recent gains, climbing another 0.1 percent.
  • 10.25.2011
  • Housing Price Indexes
  • The S&P Case-Shiller Housing Price Index rose 0.2 percent from July to August. Ten of the 20 cities covered saw positive month-to-month increases, including Cleveland—up 0.3 percent. On a year-over-year basis the 10- and 20-City composites have improved slightly but remain in negative territory, down 3.5 and 3.8 percent, respectively. Although 16 of the 20 MSAs have improved their annual rates. Detroit and Washington D.C. are the only two with positive figures, while Minneapolis remains the weakest on the index, down 8.5 percent. Both indexes are now back to their mid-2003 levels.

    The FHFA Housing Price Index fell 0.1 percent from July to August. Compared to August 2010, housing prices have fallen by 4 percent which is nearly even with July’s annual figures. Across the country, monthly prices changes were modest. Prices ranged from a 1.3 percent decline in the West North Central to a 0.9 percent increase in the South Atlantic. On an annual basis, all nine census divisions experienced price declines from 7.6 percent in the Mountain region to 1.9 in the East South Central. On the whole, prices are 19.1 percent below the April 2007 peak.

  • 10.20.2011
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Sales of existing single-family home sales fell 3.6 percent from August to September but remain 12.2 percent higher than this time last year. Across the nation there were no positive month-to-month changes where sales rates ranged from no change in The Northwest to a 7.9 decline in the West. Median home prices fell 3.9 percent from September 2010, to $165,000. Inventories of existing single-family homes fell to an 8.2 months supply or a 3.2 percent decline from August to just under 3 million units which is an 11.2 percent decline from September 2010.
  • 10.19.2011
  • Housing Starts
  • New privately-owned housing improved in September, increasing 15.0 percent to 658,000 seasonally-adjusted annualized units. Single-family housing starts improved slightly, increasing 1.7 percent to 425,000 seasonally-adjusted annualized units. The improvement follows an upwardly revised 2.8 percent decline in August. On a year-over-year basis, single-family housing starts are down 4.9 percent. Single-family housing starts improved in the Northeast and Midwest regions, increasing 20.6 percent and 46.0 percent, respectively. Single-family housing starts declined in the South, falling 9.4 percent and were flat in the West. Multi-unit housing starts (which tend to be more volatile than single-family housing starts) rose 51.0 percent in September to 233,000 seasonally-adjusted annualized units and are up 55.3 percent on a year-over-year basis.

    Total housing units authorized declined in September, falling 5.0 percent to 594,000 seasonally-adjusted annualized units. Authorized permits for single-family homes declined 0.2 percent to 417,000 seasonally-adjusted annualized units. On a year-over-year basis, authorized permits are up 3.5 percent over September 2010’s pace. Authorized permits for multi-unit structures fell 14.5 percent to 177,000 seasonally adjusted annualized units and are up 11.3 percent on a year-over-year basis.

  • 10.19.2011
  • CPI
  • The headline CPI rose at an annualized rate of 3.7 percent in September, down slightly from its near-term (3-month) growth rate of 4.8 percent. On a year-over-year basis, however, the series ticked up from 3.8 percent to 3.9 percent in September. Rising energy and food prices were the primary contributors to the overall increase in September. Much of the increase in energy prices (up 27 percent) was due to the seasonal factor for gasoline. Prices at the pump did fall in September (at an annualized rate of 8.3 percent), though after seasonal adjustment, the series jumped up 41.5 percent, pushing up energy prices (and the overall index). The food price index rose 5.5 percent during the month, somewhat less than August’s increase of 6.4 percent, and is now up 4.7 percent over the past year. The release did note that none of the major grocery store food group indexes declined in September, and our data show that all but one “food at home” category (meat, poultry, fish, and eggs) ended up in the upper tail of the price change distribution (increases greater than 5 percent) this month.

    Excluding food and energy prices, the “core&rdqo; CPI rose just 0.7 percent in September, following four straight increases above 2.5 percent. This marked slowdown came as a number of recent trends reversed course during the month. Notably, apparel prices—which were trending at an annualized growth rate of 16.2 percent over the prior 3 months—plummeted 12.7 percent in September. Also, used cars and trucks prices slipped down 6.5 percent in September, following double-digit price gains in four of the previous five months. New vehicle prices were roughly flat for the third consecutive month. After putting some upward pressure on the core CPI over the past two months, the index for OER (owners’ equivalent rent) rose 1.5 percent, equaling its 12-month percent change. The median and 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI measures rose 2.3 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, in September; edging away from their near-term (3-month) growth rates of roughly 3.0 percent. Over the past year, the median CPI rose 2.1 percent, while the trim is up 2.5 percent.

  • 10.18.2011
  • PPI
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods jumped up at an annualized rate of 9.8 percent in September, after a flat reading in August. The 12-month growth rate in the PPI rose from 6.5 percent to 7.0 percent during the month and is just 0.2 percentage points below its recent cyclical high of 7.2 percent in July. Energy prices—driven by rising gasoline prices—spiked up 31.3 percent in September after three consecutive decreases. The PPI for finished consumer foods increased 6.9 percent in September after a 13.8 percent increase in August and is now up 8.1 percent on a year-over-year basis. Excluding food and energy prices, the (“core”) PPI rose 2.7 percent in September, compared to a 0.7 percent increase in August. Over the past three months, the annualized growth rate in the core PPI is 3.0 percent, modestly above its 12-month growth rate of 2.5 percent. Further back on the production line, pricing pressure was subdued relative to recent trends, as core intermediate goods rose 1.9 percent and core crude goods—which are up 21 percent over the past year—rose 12.6 percent in September.
  • 10.17.2011
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production increased 0.2 percent (nonannualized) in September, following downwardly revised estimates in August (up 0.2 percent to flat) and July (up 1.1 percent to 0.9 percent). On a year-over-year basis, overall production is up 3.2 percent, continuing to decelerate from its recent cyclical high of 7.7 percent in May 2010, but remains above its 25-year growth rate of 2.2 percent. Manufacturing production climbed up 0.4 percent in September and has risen at an annualized rate of 5.8 percent over the past three months, compared to its 12-month growth rate of 3.9 percent. After stripping out motor vehicles production, manufacturing output rose 0.3 percent in September after a 0.3 percent gain in August. Outside manufacturing, mining production continued to post strong gains, jumping up 0.8 percent in September and is now up 5.2 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 slipped down 1.8 percent in September, following up a 2.9 percent decline in August. Capacity utilization edged up 0.1 percentage points to 77.4 percent of capacity in September and has steadily improved from its recent cyclical low of 67.3 percent in June 2009.
  • 10.14.2011
  • Retail Sales
  • percent) excluding that category, sales still rose 0.6 percent during the month (its largest monthly increase since March). Over the past three months, retail sales excluding autos has risen at an annualized growth rate of 6.2 percent, slightly below its 12-month percent change of 7.8 percent. Across broad categories, sales were mostly to the upside, with 10 out of 13 posting increases in September. Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores (up 1.3 percent); gas stations (up 1.2 percent); and food services and drinking places (up 1.2 percent) were the largest gainers in September. There were some slight sales decreases at food and beverage stores (down 0.2 percent); sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (down 0.3 percent); and building material, garden equipment, and supplies dealers (down 0.1 percent). “Core” retail sales (sales excluding autos, building supplies, and gas stations)—a less noisy indicator of the trend in consumption growth—increased 0.6 percent in September, following an upwardly revised 0.4 percent (from a flat reading) gain in August. The 3-month annualized growth rate in core retail sales rose to 5.6 percent in September, well above its growth rate of 3.4 percent over the three months prior, and is just shy of its 12-month trend of 6.0 percent.
  • 10.14.2011
  • Import and Export Prices
  • U.S. import prices posted 0.3 percent gains in September, up from August’s revised 0.2 percent decline (0.4 percent, previously). On a year-over-year basis, import prices rose 13.4 percent despite month-to-month declines in two of the past four months. The main driver behind September’s uptick was a 0.3 percent increase in petroleum prices, which marked the first increase in three months. On a yearly basis, petroleum prices posted a 45.9 percent advance, up from August’s 43.6 percent gain. Non-oil import prices, up 0.2 percent, increased for the third consecutive month. Rising nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices (up 0.7 percent) were a major contributor to non-oil import gains along with foods, feeds and beverages (up 0.5 percent). Compared to a year ago, non-oil import prices advanced 5.5 percent.

    U.S. export prices edged up 0.4 percent in September, extending August’s 0.5 percent increase. Higher prices for both agricultural exports (up 1.6 percent) and non-agricultural exports (up 0.3 percent) contributed to the monthly advance. Year-over-year, export prices rose 9.5 percent in September similar to last month’s 9.6 percent yearly gain.

  • 10.14.2011
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer sentiment ticked down in October, falling 1.9 points to an index level of 57.5 after rising to 59.4 in September. In the past three months, the average level of the index has reached the lowest level since 1980. Contributing the decline was an all-time record number of consumers citing income declines and a record setting proportion of consumers expecting no increase in their incomes during the year ahead. The expectations component of the index fell by 2.4 points to 47.0, erasing September’s 2.0 point gain and falling below its June 2008 level. The current conditions component fell as well to 73.8 after rising to 74.9 in September. 71 percent of consumers reported that economic conditions had worsened and 80 percent expected the economy to stay the same or worsen in the year to come. Shorter-term median inflation expectations (one-year ahead) edged down to 0.1 percentage points to 3.2 percent in October. Longer term inflation expectations (five-years ahead) decreased as well by 0.2 percentage points to 2.7 percent.
  • 10.13.2011
  • U.S. Trade
  • The U.S. trade deficit in August was unchanged from July’s revised $45.6 billion ($44.8 billion previously). Imports inched down $0.1 billion to $223.2 billion ($223.3 previously) and exports fell by $0.1 billion as well to $177.6 billion ($177.7 billion, previously). The symmetric $0.1 billion decrease in both categories resulted in no change in the overall trade deficit. Third quarter trade reflects some flattening of activity in automotive sectors as supply problems in Japan recover. August’s slight decline in imports (down 0.1 percent) was lead by decreases in consumer goods ($0.8 billion), automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.7 billion) and increases in industrial supplies and materials ($0.9 billion). On a year-over-year, imports rose 11.4 percent in August. The decline in exports (down 0.1 percent) was lead by increases in industrial supplies and materials ($0.8 billion), consumer goods ($0.2 billion), foods, feeds and beverages ($0.2 billion) and decreases in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($1.0 billion) and capital goods ($0.4 billion).Year-over-year exports rose 14.7 percent, continuing to post double digit gains.
  • 10.13.2011
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods slipped down 0.2 percent (nonannualized) in August, following a downwardly revised 2.1 percent gain in July. Still, the series has risen swiftly over the past year and is up 14.1 percent. While July’s increase was largely due to a bounce back in transportation orders, the overall trajectory was unaffected by swings in that sector, as new orders of transportation goods still fell 0.2 percent in August. Despite the headline decrease, nondefense capital goods (excluding aircraft) orders jumped up 2.9 percent in August, following an upwardly revised 0.2 percent gain in July. This should be a positive sign for Q3 equipment and software investment. Shipments of manufactured goods, which were revised down from a 1.6 percent gain in July to 1.2 percent, slipped down 0.2 percent in August, pulling its 3-month growth rate annualized growth rate down from 7.1 percent to 6.4 percent. The near-term growth rate in shipments is well below its 12-month percent change of 12.1 percent, which signals a softening trajectory (though one that is still robust relative to historical standards). Inventory accumulation continued in August, as manufacturers added 0.4 percent to their current stockpiles. However, the pace of accumulation has slowed over the past four months or so, compared to its average monthly increase over the prior 12 months of 1.1 percent. The months’ supply of inventories relative to shipments remained at 1.3 months in August, consistent with its levels from the beginning of 2010, where the series settled following a swift decline from its recent high during the last recession of nearly 1.5 months.
  • 10.07.2011
  • The Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
  • The biggest balance sheet news in the month of September was the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) statement following this month’s policy meeting. Over the next nine months, the Fed is expected to sell $400 billion of short-term (1- to 3-year) Treasury securities and use the proceeds to purchase an equivalent amount of longer-term (7- to 30-year) Treasury securities. The FOMC also agreed to take the incoming principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and mortgage backed securities (MBS), which had previously been reinvested in Treasury securities, and reinvest the funds in more agency MBS. The first set of new agency MBS purchases occurred in the first week of October, amounting to nearly $4 billion. Early in September, an announcement out of Europe suggested that the European Central Bank (ECB) would begin to take advantage of the dollar liquidity swap line that it has established with the Fed. Since the announcement, the ECB has withdrawn no less than $500 million each week to provide dollar liquidity to European banks. Also, preparatory Term Deposit auctions have continued, with the most recent auction drawing just over $5 billion. Each of the Maiden Lane vehicles made payments on its outstanding loans during the month, and Maiden Lane I’s payment was a fairly significant $3 billion.

  • 10.07.2011
  • The Employment Situation
  • Nonfarm payrolls rose 103,000 in September (slightly above consensus expectations), following upwardly revised gains of 57,000 in August and 127,000 in September (adding nearly 100,000 in sum). However, September’s increase was boosted by the return of 45,000 telecommunications workers who had been on strike in August. Also, more than half of the upward revision to the two prior months reflected upward adjustments to government employees (largely local government education workers, perhaps reflecting some seasonal back-to-school timing issues).

    Importantly, the near-term trend has yet to show a meaningful pickup. It has, in fact, slowed since the first six months of year, as nonfarm payrolls have risen on average just 96,000 over the past three months, compared to 131,000 over the first six months. That trajectory is roughly the same for private payrolls. They have averaged a 117,000 increase over the last three months, down from their monthly average of 165,000 over the first six months of 2011.

    Goods-producing payrolls increased by 18,000 in September, more than reversing a 9,000 decrease in August. The series has improved by 430,000 from its current cyclical low in February 2010, but it is still down 320,000 from its level at the end of the recession. September’s slight gain in goods-producing employment was driven by a 26,000 increase in construction payrolls (largely nonresidential construction workers and specialty trade contractors). Manufacturing payrolls slipped down 13,000 during the month (auto payrolls were flat), and mining employment increased by 5,400.

    Private service-providing payrolls rose 119,000 in September, though without the return of the striking telecommunications workers the increase would have been just 74,000. Healthcare employment continued to outshine gains in other sectors, rising 44,000 in September. It is now up 650,000 since the end of the recession (about 40 percent of that gain has come in the first nine months of this year).

    Elsewhere, professional and business services employment rose 48,000 in September (bolstered by a 19,400 increase in temporary help services). Retail trade payrolls increased 13,600. Government payrolls continued to trend down, slipping 34,000 in September. They have decreased by 267,000 since the beginning of the year. Local government workers, a sizable part of the overall downward trend, fell 35,000. Local government educational services employment decreased 24,400 in September, after an 11,800 gain in August (that was revised up from a 14,000 decrease). Still, the series is down 84,200 over the past six months.

    Other indicators on the establishment side were mixed in September. Hours and earnings roughly reversed their respective decreases in August. However, the diffusion index slipped down 0.2 points to 55.4 in September, remaining well below its recent cyclical high of 70.8 in February. The manufacturing sector diffusion index slipped down from 48.8 in August to 46.3 in September, its lowest level since last October.

    On the household side, the unemployment rate—which hasn’t moved much all year—remained at 9.1 percent in September. An alternative measure of labor market health—the employment-to-population ratio—ticked up 0.1 percentage point to 58.3 in September, though it is still 0.1 percentage point below its level at the start of 2011 and a little over 1.0 percentage point below its June 2009 level of 59.4 percent.

  • 10.07.2011
  • Consumer Credit
  • Total consumer credit broke a 10-month upward trend to decline 0.4 percent in August. On a year-over-year basis, total consumer credit improved by 2.1 percent. Declines in consumer credit were primarily in nonrevolving accounts, which had the largest monthly drop in nearly three years, falling 0.4 percent from July. However, compared to August 2010, revolving credit is up 4.6 percent. Revolving credit contracted 0.3 percent from July and is down 2.8 percent from this time last year.

  • 10.03.2011
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose 1.0 index point to 51.6 in September. This small increase contrasts with a six-month slowdown from a recent high of 61.4 that left the index just 0.6 points above its growth threshold of 50 as of August. Still, the manufacturing PMI is 5 points below its 12-month average of 56.6. The gain in the overall index was largely driven by gains in the production and employment components. The production index jumped up 2.6 points to 51.2 in September, after a brief dip into the red in August. It remains below its level of 52.3 in July. The employment index rose 2.0 points during the month, more than reversing a 1.8 point dip in August. One other component registered an increase in September: Supplier deliveries increased 0.8 points to 51.4. On the other hand, the new orders index remained slightly in the red at 49.6 in September, and inventories edged down 0.3 points to 52.0. The prices index (which is not seasonally adjusted and does not enter into the overall PMI) increased 0.5 points to 56.0 in September, but it is still well below a recent cyclical high of 76.5 in May.
  • 10.03.2011
  • Construction Spending
  • In August, private construction spending was essentially flat (+0.4 percent) after the July number was revised down. Residential (+0.7 percent) and nonresidential (+0.2 percent) spending both posted slight gains over the month. On the residential side, there was not a stand-out sector; single-family, multifamily, and improvements all posted similarly sized small upward movements. Looking over the year, spending on single-family construction is down 3.5 percent, while spending on multifamily construction is up 13.3 percent and spending on improvements is up 10.5 percent. On the nonresidential side, lodging had the steepest decrease over the month (−6.9 percent), while power had the strongest month (+2.9 percent). Over the year, lodging is also the weakest sector (−31.7 percent), and power is the strongest (25.9 percent). Overall, total private construction spending is up 5.6 percent since August 2010.