Data Updates

Data Updates

October 2012

  • 10.31.2012
  • Employment Cost Index
  • Employer costs of compensation for civilian workers rose 0.4 percent (nonannualized) in the third quarter, following a 0.5 percent increase in the second quarter. The wages and salary component also increased 0.4 percent, in line with the second quarter’s 0.4 percent advance. The benefits component rose 0.8 percent in the third quarter. Year-over-year, civilian compensation advanced 1.9 percent in the third quarter and has averaged 1.9 percent since the recession ended. Civilian wages and salaries increased 1.7 percent over the past twelve months while benefits rose 2.6 percent. Year-over-year, private compensation grew 1.9 percent and has averaged 1.9 percent since the recession ended. Private wages and salaries increased 1.9 percent from the same time last year while benefits grew 2.4 percent. Looking across private industry groups, information posted the largest increase, 3.7 percent, while leisure and hospitality increased 0.8 from last year.
  • 10.30.2012
  • Home Price Indexes
  • The S&P Case-Schiller home price indexes showed continued growth in August. The 10-city index increased 0.4 percent from July to August and the 20-city index grew 0.5 percent (both rates are seasonally adjusted). Nineteen cities saw monthly gains in home prices with the exception of Seattle, where prices declined by 0.1 percent. Both composite indexes posted better annual rates of return than July with the 10- and 20-city indexes up 1.3 and 2.0 percent, respectively. Only three cities saw negative annual returns in August: Atlanta with &minusl6.1 percent, New York at −2.3 percent and Chicago at −1.6 percent. Phoenix continued to lead the growth in annual returns, posting its fourth consecutive month double-digit increase of 18.8 percent. The gains in the indexes put home prices back to their summer/autumn 2003 levels.

    The FHFA housing price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent from July to August. The estimated increase of 0.2 percent in July was revised downward to 0.1 percent. Over the past 12-months the index rose 4.7 percent, showing positive annual growth for the seventh consecutive month. All regions saw positive growth in annual returns ranging from an 11.4 percent increase in the Mountain region to a 0.4 percent increase in the Middle Atlantic. Overall, housing prices are back to mid-2004 index levels.

  • 10.29.2012
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income increased at a nonannualized rate of 0.4 percent in September and is up 3.9 percent over the past twelve months. This follows monthly increases of 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent in July and August, respectively. Disposable personal income (DPI)—personal income less current taxes—also increased 0.4 percent for the month, following increases of 0.2 percent in July and 0.1 percent in August, and is up 3.6 percent since last year. Despite the September improvement in DPI, after controlling for price changes, “real” disposable personal income was flat for the month following a drop of 0.3 percent in August. Growth in “real” DPI slowed during the third quarter, as the average monthly growth rate from July through September was −0.1 percent compared with an average of 0.4 percent during the first quarter of this year, and 0.3 percent during the second quarter. However, over the last twelve months, “real” DPI has increased 1.9 percent, the largest year-over-year improvement since March of 2011. After gains of 0.3 percent in July and 0.1 percent in August, “real” personal consumption expenditures increased at a rate of 0.4 percent in September, and are up 2.1 percent since September of 2011. Leading the gains in the overall “real” PCE measure was consumption of durable goods, which increased 1.3 percent, compared with an improvement of 0.5 percent in the consumption of non-durables and 0.2 percent in services consumption. The near-term (three-month) trend in consumption growth has improved over the last few months as it has increased from 0.1 percent in July and August to 0.3 percent. Since consumption grew faster than income in September, this resulted in 0.4 percentage points drop in the personal savings rate (personal savings as a percentage of disposable income) from 3.7 percent to 3.3 percent.
  • 10.29.2012
  • PCE Price Index
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index increased at an annualized rate of 4.7 percent in September, following an increase of 5.0 percent August, and is up 1.7 percent over the last twelve months. The headline PCE price index has been trending upwards over the past few months primarily due to jumps in the price of energy goods and services, a volatile component of the overall index, which increased 96.7 percent (annualized) in August and 75.3 percent in September. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” PCE price index increased 1.4 percent in September, slightly above the near-term (three-month) trend of 1.1 percent. “Core” PCE prices increased 1.0 percent in August, and are up 1.7 percent since September of 2011. The market-based “core” PCE index—which excludes most imputed prices—increased at a rate of 0.9 percent in September, following increases of 1.0 percent and 0.6 percent in July and August, respectfully, and is up 1.7 on a year-over-year basis.
  • 10.26.2012
  • Real GDP
  • Real GDP rose at an annualized rate of 2.0 percent in the third quarter according to the advance estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, improving from a second quarter gain of 1.3 percent and coming in roughly on par with expectations. On a year-over-year basis, real GDP is up 2.3 percent. The acceleration in real GDP growth from the second to third quarter was driven largely by an acceleration in consumption growth and residential investment, and better news on government expenditures. These improvements overcame a slowdown in business fixed investment, a downturn in exports, and a sharper decline in private inventory investment. Real consumption rose 2.0 percent in the third quarter, in line with its four-quarter growth rate and about 0.5 percentage points (pp) higher than its second-quarter growth rate. Interestingly, the improvement in consumption was, in large part, driven by a jump up in durables consumption—increasing 8.5 percent in the third quarter after slipping down 0.2 percent in the second quarter.

    Gains were seen across all major durables categories (in other words, it wasn't just autos). Nondurables consumption rose 2.4 percent in the third quarter, moderately above its year-over-year growth rate of 1.6 percent. Notably, services consumption actually decelerated in the third quarter, increasing just 0.8 percent compared with a 2.1 percent gain in the second quarter. The four-quarter growth rate in services consumption has continued to soften relative to its post-recession high-water mark of 2.1 percent in 2011:Q1 and is continuing to edge away from its longer-run growth rate.

    Importantly, both exports and imports decreased for the first time since early 2009, with real imports edging down 0.2 percent and real export growth falling 1.6 percent. Elsewhere, nonresidential fixed investment decreased 1.3 percent in the third quarter, as structures investment slipped down 4.4 percent and spending on equipment and software was virtually flat. The change in private inventories did subtract 0.1 percentage point from real GDP growth in the third quarter, but that was entirely due to further losses to farm inventories, which subtracted 0.4 pp from output growth compared to −0.2 pp in the second quarter. Interestingly, real government consumption and investment jumped up 3.7 percent in the third quarter, adding 0.7 pp to real GDP growth (its first addition to output growth since 2010:Q2). There was a large spike in national defense spending (up 13.1 percent) and a modest uptick in nondefense spending (2.9 percent) during the quarter. Also, losses to state and local governments look to be slowing, as the sector decreased just 0.1 percent in the third quarter, relative to a 1.0 percent decline on a year-over-year basis.

  • 10.25.2012
  • Durable Goods
  • After a drop of 13.1 percent (non-annualized) in August, new orders for durable goods were back in positive territory in September, increasing 9.9 percent, the largest one month increase since January of 2010. Over the past year, new orders are up 2.5 percent, an improvement over a 12-month percentage change of −6.7 percent in August. Orders for transportation goods, a typically noisy component of overall orders, were a primary contributor to both the decline in August and the increase in September. They fell 33.7 percent and increased 31.7 percent in August and September, respectively. New orders excluding transportation goods were up 2.0 percent in September, and are down 1.6 percent since last year. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, which is used to evaluate the near-term outlook in equipment and software investment, were flat in September following an increase of 0.2 percent in August and are down 7.4 percent since September of 2011. The year-over?year change in new orders for non-defense capital goods exluding aircraft has been negative in each of the last four months. Shipments of durable goods increased 0.8 percent in September, following a decline of 2.9 percent in August, and are up 6.0 percent on a year-over-year basis. Shipments of non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, which maps directly into GDP, were down 0.3 percent, following declines of 1.6 and 1.2 percent in July and August, respectively, and are up 0.9 percent since last year. The near-term trend in the year-over-year changes for this series has slowed since earlier in the year. The current three-month trend is at 1.8 percent, compared with a first quarter average of 8.1 percent and a second quarter average of 6.4 percent. Inventories increased 0.3 percent in September, following increases of 0.9 percent in July and 0.6 percent in August, and are up 5.6 percent since September of 2011.
  • 10.24.2012
  • New-Home Sales
  • Sales of new single-family homes rose to an annualized rate of 389,000 units in September, the highest level since April 2010. This is 5.7 percent above the downwardly revised August figure and a 27.1 percent increase over the past 12 months. Regionally, all areas showed positive growth on both a monthly and an annual basis except for the Midwest, which is experiencing sharp declines. Sales there are down 37.3 percent from the previous month and 31.9 percent from the previous year. The median sales price of new single-family homes was $242,000, representing a 3.2 percent decrease on the month but an 11.7 increase since this time last year. The monthly supply of homes fell to a 4.5 month supply at the current sales pace, which is the lowest level since October 2005.
  • 10.19.2012
  • Existing Home Sales
  • From August to September, existing single-family home sales fell 1.9 percent. But over the past 12 months, they have increased 10.8 percent to an annualized rate of 4.21 million units sold. Regionally, existing single-family home sales in September ranged from no change in the South to a 7.7 percent decline in the Northeast. The median sales price of existing single-family was $184,300, a slight decline of 0.65 percent on the month, but an 11.4 percent increase since this time last year. The inventory and monthly supply of existing single-family homes both showed moderate decline on a monthly basis and have fallen 18.1 percent and 26.6 percent, respectively on an annual basis.

  • 10.17.2012
  • Housing Starts
  • Residential construction of single-family homes rose 11.05 percent from August to September to an annualized rate of 603,000 units, the highest level since August 2008. This represents the largest monthly gain since December 2011 and the largest annual gain since April 2010. Regionally, all areas showed growth in single-family housing starts over the past 12 months, ranging from a 12.2 percent increase in the Northeast to a 50.6 percent increase in the West. The authorization of single-family homes also showed strong improvement, rising 6.7 percent in September to an annualized rate of 545,000 permits, the highest level since July 2008.
  • 10.16.2012
  • CPI
  • The headline CPI jumped up at an annualized rate of 7.1 percent in September, nearly matching its August gain of 7.5 percent. Again, spiking gasoline prices accounted for the lion’s share of the overall increase. Price increases were modest elsewhere in the retail marketbasket. Food prices rose just 0.7 percent in September and, excluding food and energy components, the index rose 1.8 percent. Measures of underlying inflation produced by the Cleveland Fed continued to point toward a somewhat firmer near-term inflation trajectory. The median and 16 percent trimmed-mean measures both increased 2.6 percent in September, in line with the three-month annualized growth rate in the median CPI (of 2.6 percent), but slightly higher than that of the trim (1.9 percent). Increases in rent of primary residence (up 3.5 percent in September) and rising owners’ equivalent rent (up 2.7 percent) continue to provide an upward nudge to the median, but are not the entire cause of it’s “on target” trend. Evidence of this can be seen in tracking slower-moving retail prices. The “sticky” CPI excluding shelter rose 2.1 percent in September and are up 2.2 percent over the past year. Perhaps the most important aspect of today’s release is that every measure of inflation that we track is trending within a few basis points of each other. The headline and “core” CPI are up 2.0 percent over the past year; the median is up 2.3 percent; and the 16 percent trimmed-mean is up 1.9 percent.
  • 10.16.2012
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production increased 0.4 percent (nonannualized) in September, following a downwardly revised drop 1.4 percent in August. The near-term trend (three-month annualized growth) of —1.6 percent is up from 2.9 percent in the August. On a year-over-year basis, overall production is up 2.8 percent. Manufacturing production rose 0.2 percent in September, while the three-month annualized growth rate decreased 1.7 percent. Breaking down the manufacturing sector, durable and nondurable goods rose 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. Within durable goods manufacturing, aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment and electrical equipment, appliances and components all posted increases greater than 1.0 percent in September while the production of motor vehicles and parts fell 2.5 percent for the month. Mining output rose 0.9 percent after having decreased 1.6 percent in August. Overall capacity utilization increased 0.3 percentage points to 78.3 percent of capacity.
  • 10.15.2012
  • Retail Sales
  • Nominal retail sales jumped up 1.1 percent (nonannualized) in September, following an upwardly revised 1.2 percent increase in August. This is its strongest two-month performance since November 2010. On a year-over-year basis, retail sales are up 5.4 percent. While August’s sales were largely due to rising gasoline prices and a jump up in auto sales, September’s increase reflected broad-based strength. Gains were seen across nearly all of the 13 broad sales categories except at miscellaneous store retailers (which saw sales slip down just 0.1 percent). Sales at electronics and appliance stores jumped up 4.5 percent in September, more than reversing a 1.1 percent decrease in August, and helping to pull its year-over-year growth rate up to 3.6 percent from −2.2 percent in August. There was still a little boost from sales at gasoline stations—up 2.5 percent in September—that was likely an artifact of sustained increases in gas prices. That said, sales were strong at auto dealers (up 1.3 percent), non-store retailers (up 1.8 percent), and food and beverage stores (up 1.2 percent). “Core” retail sales—which excludes sales at gasoline stations, auto dealers and of building materials—rose 0.9 percent in September, after August’s estimate was revised up from −0.1 percent to flat. As a tentative sign of momentum, the three-month annualized growth rate in core sales is up 7.5 percent, outpacing its 12-month growth rate of 4.4 percent.
  • 10.12.2012
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment jumped up from an index level of 78.3 in September to 83.1 in October, and is now at its highest level since September 2007. Sharp back-to-back gains in the consumer expectations component (up 8.4 points in September and 6.0 points in October) helped push the overall index to a post-recession high. Respondents’ collective judgment on current economic conditions improved in October, rising 2.9 points to 88.6, roughly reversing a 3.0 point decline in September. That said, the current conditions component is up markedly (+13.7 points) from October of last year. Both short- and long-run inflation expectations ticked down in October. Median one-year ahead inflation expectations slipped from 3.3 percent to 3.1 percent during the month, while five-to-ten year ahead expectations dipped down from 2.8 percent to 2.6 percent. to its lowest level since the depths of the financial crisis.
  • 10.12.2012
  • Producer Price Index
  • Producer prices, as measured by the Producer Price Index (PPI), jumped up at an annualized rate of 14.4 percent in September, following a sharp 22 percent spike in August. The recent upward pressure on the overall PPI is almost entirely due to energy price spikes (the series is up 91.4 percent on an annualized basis). The only other source of modest upward pressure is from price increases in finished consumer foods—up 11.5 percent in August and 4.9 percent in September. Still, on a year-over-year basis the PPI is up 2.1 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” PPI was flat in September, and has been much more muted over the past three months—rising just 2.7 percent. Over the past 12 months, the core PPI is up 2.3 percent and has fallen nearly a full percentage point since the start of the year. Further back on the assembly line, pricing pressure was to the upside (though these series are extremely noisy). Core intermediate goods prices rose 7.1 percent in September, while core crude goods prices rose 20.6 percent.
  • 10.11.2012
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices rose 1.1 percent in September after increasing at the same pace in August. Both petroleum and nonpetroleum prices increased as well, with the former rising 4.6 percent and the latter ticking up 0.2 percent. September marks the first increase in nonpetroleum prices since May of this year. On a yearly basis, petroleum prices are down 0.1 percent after averaging 9.4 percent yearly declines in the third quarter of this year. Nonpetroleum prices fell 0.9 percent on a yearly basis in September and the overall import price index fell as well by 0.6 percent. September’s import prices show strength relative to previous months where weak import prices were likely exerting downward pressure on import levels.

    Export prices increased 0.8 percent, down slightly from August?s 1.0 percent monthly increase. Nonagricultural prices posted gains of 0.7 percent and agricultural prices rose 1.1 percent. On a year-over-year basis, export prices fell 0.5 percent marking five consecutive months of yearly losses.

  • 10.11.2012
  • International Trade
  • In August, the U.S. trade deficit expanded $1.8 billion to $44.2 billion, up from July’s upwardly revised $42.5 billion deficit ($42.0, previously). Both imports and exports fell with the former declining a modest 0.1 percent to $225.5 billion and the later falling 1.0 percent to $181.3 billion. August marks the second consecutive month that imports and exports simultaneously fell. Exports also contracted in most major categories with weakness in the global economy likely contributing to their sluggish activity. On a year-over-year basis, imports rose 1.1 percent, up from July’s 0.8 percent yearly gains. Exports increased 1.6 percent year-over-year, a deceleration from July’s 2.7 percent gain and the second quarter average yearly gain of 5.4 percent. August’s $44.2 billion trade deficit was largely in line with consensus forecasts which had predicted a level of $44.0 billion.
  • 10.05.2012
  • The Employment Situation
  • Nonfarm payrolls rose just 114,000 in September and are averaging a monthly gain of 146,000 over the past three months, roughly in line with its 2011 average monthly increase of 153,000. Interestingly, estimates over the past two months were revised up sharply (+86,000). However, the revisions came entirely from government payrolls, which were revised up by 91,000 in sum. Private nonfarm payrolls, which rose 104,000 in September, were actually knocked down by 5,000 in the revised estimates for July and August. Perhaps the most disappointing trend to highlight on this side of the report is that private nonfarm payrolls are averaging 121,000 over the past three months, down from an average monthly gain of 175,000 in 2011. Cross-industry performance was mixed in September. The largest payrolls gains came from health care (up 44,000), transportation and warehousing (up 17,000), and financial activities (up 13,000). The release pointed out that the gains in the financial sector were due to increases in credit intermediation employment (up 6,000) and a 7,000 increase in real estate payrolls. Most of the payroll employment declines in September came from goods-producing industries (and the bulk of that was in durables manufacturing). Manufacturing employment, after decreasing 22,000 in August, slipped down another 16,000 in September. Durables employment (down 13,000) accounted for most of September’s decline in manufacturing payrolls (roughly 3,000 of this loss was in the auto industry).

    On the household side, the details were fairly positive. The unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 7.8 percent. The number of employed persons jumped up 873,000 in September (more than doubling its threshold for statistical significance), its strongest monthly gain since January 2003. As a result, the employment-to-population ratio jumped up 0.4 percentage points to its highest level since September 2009. Elsewhere on the household side, there was a sharp decline in the number of persons unemployed for less than five weeks (down 302,000). Other duration categories were little changed.

  • 10.05.2012
  • Consumer Credit
  • In August, total consumer credit more than regained the slight dip it sustained between June and July, rising 8 percent on an annualized basis. Both revolving and nonrevolving credit drove the increase in August: revolving credit increased by 5.9 percent and nonrevolving credit increased by 9 percent. These increases leave total consumer credit outstanding at $2,726 billion, and upward revisions to the previously published numbers for June and July bring those months’ figures to $2,710 billion and $2,707.5 billion, respectively.
  • 10.04.2012
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods decreased 5.2 percent (nonannualized) in August, following an increase of 2.6 percent in July. This month’s decrease pulled the near term trend (three-month annualized growth rate) back in to negative territory at −12.3 percent. With the exception of July, the near-term trend has been negative since March 2012. Year-over-year growth rates for new orders have posted a negative number, −2.5 percent, for the first time since October 2008. Excluding transportation new orders increased 0.7 percent for the month. The durable goods orders series decreased 13.2 percent for the month pulling down the three-month annualized growth rate to −31.4 percent. Nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders, considered a leading indicator of business investment spending, actually rose 1.1 percent for the month while its three-month annualized growth rate remains in negative at −25.6 percent. Shipments of manufactured goods declined 0.3 percent for the month, as its three-month annualized growth rate has slowed to 1.4 percent from 3.9 percent in August. Unfilled orders fell 1.7 percent for the month. The unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio now rests at 6.27, roughly where it has been since late 2009. Inventories also continue to accumulate, 0.6 percent, however the inventory/sales ratio, 1.28, has also remained stable around since late 2009.
  • 10.01.2012
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM manufacturing index for September, specifically the Purchasing Manufacturers Index (PMI), increased by 1.9 percentage points to 51.5, breaking a 3-month trend of below 50. According to the ISM report, a PMI index value above 50 generally indicates an expansion in the manufacturing sector. The PMI is still below its one-year high of 54.8 from April 2012 as well as its 2011 average of 55.2. Production increased from 47.2 to 49.5, however this still indicates a contraction in production for the second time since May 2009. New orders increased 5.2 percentage points from 47.1 to 52.3, which may indicate that August’s decrease in new orders for durable goods (calculated by the Census Bureau) may be transitory. Inventories decreased from 53.0 to 50.5, which indicates a slower expansion in overall manufacturing inventories. Employment increased 3.1 percentage points from 51.6 to 54.7. Generally, an employment index above 50.5 percent corresponds to positive job growth in the manufacturing sector as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices increased 4 percentage points from 54.0 to 58.0. This follows August’s increase of 145 basis points to 54.0 (from 39.5), the largest such increase since September 2005.
  • 10.01.2012
  • Construction Spending
  • Private construction spending declined by 0.5 percent in August to $562.2 billion, but is still up 12.1 percent from a year ago. Private residential spending edged up 0.9 percent in August and is up 17.8 percent on a year-over-year basis. Single and multi-family spending saw monthly gains of 2.8 and 3.7 percent, respectively. These gains were tempered by a fall in home improvement spending of 1.7 percent. Private nonresidential spending slipped 1.7 percent in August to $288.7 billion but is still up 7.2 percent since last August. All nonresidential sectors except transportation and amusement and recreation saw mild to moderate declines.