Data Updates

Data Updates

November 2008

  • 11.26.2008
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods slipped down 6.2 percent in October, further than expected. This follows a downwardly revised −0.2 percent loss (from a gain of 0.8 percent) in September. Over the past three months, new orders are down 11.5 percent, and are down 10.6 percent over the last year. Nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft fell 4.0 percent in October, and have fallen 3.3 percent over the past 12 months. Shipments of durable goods declined by 2.4 percent in October, following a 0.2 percent decrease last month. The three-–month percent change in shipments is −6.8 percent, its lowest growth rate since June 1980. Unfilled orders decreased for the first time since August 2006, falling 0.6 percent during the month. Inventories continued to accumulate in October, rising 0.4 percent.
  • 11.26.2008
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income increased at an annualized rate of 4.3 percent in October, following a slight 0.8 percent increase in September. Employee compensation rebounded after September’s loss of 0.5 percent, rising 1.6 percent during the month. Disposable personal income continued to increase in October, rising 5.2 percent after a 1.3 percent increase in September. Before adjusting for prices, personal consumption fell 11.5 percent in October (its worst reading since September 2001). However, consumer prices declined in October, exacerbating the decrease in consumption. Real (inflation–djusted) personal consumption expenditures decreased 5.3 percent during the month. Still, the longer–term (12–month percent change) trend in real personal consumption is down 0.9 percent, its lowest growth rate since the 1990 recession.
  • 11.26.2008
  • PCE
  • The PCE price index fell 6.6 percent (annualized rate) in October, following a 1.2 percent increase in September. Over the past year, the PCE price index is up 3.2 percent. Excluding food and energy prices (core PCE), the index posted one of its few price declines, falling 1.0 percent in October. The 12–month growth rate in core PCE prices, which reached a recent peak of 2.5 percent in August, stands at 2.1 percent.
  • 11.26.2008
  • New Home Sales
  • New single–family home sales fell 5.3 percent in October to a seasonal adjusted annualized rate of 433,000 homes, a near 18–year low. The 12–month growth rate in single–family home sales fell to −40.1 percent in October from −34.2 percent in September. The median sales price fell to $218,000 in October, and is down 7.0 percent from October of last year. The stock of homes for sale, helped by falling prices, decreased to 33,000 to 381,000 in October (its largest monthly decrease on record). However, because the current sales pace continued to slow in October, the months’ supply measure of inventories increased from 10.9 months to 11.1 months.
  • 11.26.2008
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • Consumer sentiment fell to 55.3 in late November (nearing a series low of 51.7), revised down from an index value of 57.9 during the first two weeks of the month. The consumer expectations component fell to 53.9, as roughly 75 percent of survey respondents expected the recession to deepen in the coming months. Average inflation expectations were relatively unchanged from the beginning of the month. One–year ahead average inflation expectations remained at 2.9 percent in late November, unchanged from earlier in the month but down from 4.3 percent in October. Longer–term (five–to–ten–year ahead) average inflation expectations were revised down from 3.3 percent to 3.1 percent in November, unchanged from October’s reading.
  • 11.25.2008
  • Real GDP
  • Third quarter real GDP was revised down by 0.2 percentage point to −0.5 percent according to the preliminary estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The downward revision, which was largely anticipated, reflected a downward adjustment to personal consumption and exports that were somewhat offset by an upward adjustment to inventories and a downward revision to imports (which subtract from real GDP). Personal consumption was revised down from −3.1 percent (annualized rate) to −3.7 percent in the third quarter—its largest decrease since the second quarter of 1980—and is now subtracting 2.7 percentage points off of real GDP growth. Real export growth was adjusted down to 3.4 percent from 5.9 percent in the advance release. Also, imports are now decreasing at an annualized rate of 3.2 percent, as opposed to −1.9 percent before. The real change in private inventories added 0.9 percentage point to growth in the third quarter, according to the preliminary report, up 0.2 percentage point from the advance release.
  • 11.25.2008
  • Housing Price Indexes
  • The quarterly S&P/Case–Shiller HPI (seasonally adjusted index) fell 3.7 percent (nonannualized) in the third quarter, compared to a 3.0 percent decline in the second quarter. The four–quarter growth rate dropped to a new low of −16.6 percent. Another major home price index, the FHFA's Purchase–Only HPI (formerly the OFHEO Purchase–Only HPI) continued to fall in the third quarter, declining 1.8 percent, compared to a 1.4 percent decrease in the second quarter. Over the past year, the FHFA Purchase–Only HPI is down 6.0 percent. The FHFA’s all transactions HPI (not seasonally adjusted)—which includes data from new home sales and refinancings—has fallen 4.0 percent over the past four quarters. Methodological differences between the Case-Shiller and FHFA house price indexes (such as the use/non–use of nonconforming mortgages and sampling different geographical areas), leads to some dissimilarity between the indexes. However, the overall trend is both indexes is roughly the same.
  • 11.24.2008
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Total existing single–family home sales declined 3.1 percent in October, while single–family sales declined 3.3 percent. The decline in single–family sales brings the 12–month growth rate down to 0.0 percent after it reached into positive territory for the first time in nearly three years in September. Despite October’s decline, the single–family series is still showing signs of stabilization and is up 4.0 percent from its recent low four months ago. Inventories of existing single–family homes for sale held steady for the third straight month at 3.6 million, roughly 70 percent higher than its 2004 average level. Relative to the sales pace inventories increased from 9.4 months to 9.6 months, a level that is below its recent high of 11, but that is still elevated. The 12–month growth rate in the median sales price of existing single–family homes fell to 11.2 percent, its lowest level yet. The median sales price is now at a level last seen in 2004.
  • 11.19.2008
  • CPI
  • Energy prices decreased dramatically (65.9 percent at an annualized rate), as the CPI fell at an annualized rate of 10.9 percent in October, its largest monthly decrease on record. Over the past 12 months, the CPI is up 3.7 percent, down considerably from July’s recent high of 5.6 percent. The core CPI (excluding food and energy) decreased as well in October, falling 0.9 percent. Turning to the measures of underlying inflation calculated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the median CPI rose 1.8 percent, while the 16 percent trimmed–mean CPI fell 0.6 percent (its second price decrease since the series began in 1982). The 12–month trends in the underlying inflation measures (core, trim, and median) are ranging between 2.2 percent and 3.2 percent. While this report on consumer prices may bring up talk of deflation, of the major expenditure categories, only transportation (partly due to falling fuel prices) and apparel categories posted price decreases. Digging deeper into the individual component price changes reveals that 33 percent of the CPI exhibited price decreases in October, but more than half of that was energy and transportation components.
  • 11.19.2008
  • Housing Starts
  • Total housing starts fell 4.5 percent in October while the often less–volatile single–family starts series fell 3.3 percent. The decline in single–family starts came entirely in the South where starts declined 10.5 percent; single–family starts in the other three regions were up a combined 4.6 over the month. The 12–month growth rate in single–family starts was virtually unchanged at −39.9 percent, just slightly above its recent low of −43.1 percent. Permits for single–family homes declined a 14.5 percent in October, the largest single month drop since 1980. Unlike the starts series, this decline was widespread with each of the four census regions posting double digit declines. Since peaking in September 2005, single–family permits have now declined by 74.4 percent.
  • 11.18.2008
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods tumbled in October, falling at an annualized rate of 28.5 percent, as energy prices plummeted 80.7 percent. Over the past three months, the PPI is down 15.2 percent, but is still up 5.1 percent over the last year. The PPI excluding food and energy prices (core PPI) rose 5.1 percent (annualized rate) in October, matching last month’s gain. Record price decreases (both series have data back to January 1974) were seen further back on the production line, as core intermediate goods decreased 19.0 percent and core crude goods prices—a more volatile series—fell 89.3 percent in October.
  • 11.17.2008
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production increased 16.3 percent (annualized rate) in October, following a downwardly revised 36.8 percent decrease last month. Much of the headline volatility during September and October was due to, “hurricane–related disruptions, which are now estimated to have been larger than previously reported,’ according to the Federal Reserve. In fact, “excluding [the effects from the hurricanes], total industrial production is estimated to have fallen around 0.7 percent (nonannualized) in both September and October.” Over the past 12–months, industrial production is down 4.1 percent. Capacity utilization rebounded from 75.5 in September to 76.4 in October, but still below its average of 79.0 over the last ten years.
  • 11.14.2008
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales plummeted 28.6 percent (annualized rate) in October, its largest monthly decrease since January 1987, following a downwardly revised 14.5 percent decrease in September. Retail sales have now posted four consecutive monthly decreases and are down 4.1 percent over the past 12 months, its lowest growth rate on record (the series began in 1967). However, excluding motor vehicle and parts sales, retail sales are still up 1.0 percent over the past year. Motor vehicle and parts sales fell 49.4 percent during the month and are down 30.7 percent over the past three months. While retail sales are seasonally adjusted, they are not adjusted for price effects. As such, sales at gasoline stations—down 80.3 percent in October—may be somewhat overstated due to gasoline price decreases. Only three major categories posted increases in October: health and personal care stores (+ 5.2 percent), miscellaneous retailers (+ 9.1 percent), and food services and drinking places (+ 4.2 percent).
  • 11.14.2008
  • Import Prices
  • Import prices fell 43.9 percent (annualized rate) in October, following a 33.0 percent decrease in September. While the headline decrease is largely reflective of decreases in energy prices, nonpetroleum prices fell 10.0 percent in October as well. Over the past 12 months, import prices are still up 6.7 percent and nonpetroleum import prices have increased 5.0 percent. Export prices decreased 20.8 percent in October. Export prices have fallen at an annualized rate of 16.1 percent over the past three months, compared to an increase of 4.2 percent over the last year.
  • 11.14.2008
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • Consumer sentiment remained relatively unchanged from October at an index value of 57.9, according to the preliminary report from the University of Michigan?s Survey of Consumers. However the current conditions component improved from 58.4 in October to 61.4 in November, while the consumer expectations component deteriorated from 57.0 to 55.7. One year–ahead average inflation expectations fell by 1.4 percentage points to 2.9 percent in November. According to the release, 21 percent of respondents expect zero inflation in the year–ahead, while 16 percent actually expect deflation. Longer term (five–to–ten year ahead) average inflation expectations ticked up in November—from 3.1 percent to 3.3 percent.
  • 11.07.2008
  • Employment Report
  • Now we have the characteristic monthly employment losses that are associated with a recession. Total nonfarm payrolls, marking its tenth consecutive decline, fell by 240,000 in October, bringing the year–to–date employment loss to 1.2 million jobs (with a little over half coming in the past three months). Payrolls in August and September were revised down sharply, to −127,000 and −284,000, respectively. Combined, payrolls during those two months are 179,000 less than previously thought. Losses in October were broad–based, with every major category posting declines except for education and health services (+21,000) and government (+23,000). Goods–producing payrolls fell by 132,000 workers, with 90,000 coming from manufacturing. The Boeing strike accounted for 27,000 in losses. The service side shed 108,000 jobs, led by payroll losses of 50,000 in employment services. The retail trade sector shed 38,000, while we started to finally see some net layoffs in financial sector—down 24,000. On the household side, the unemployment rate jumped up 0.4 percentage point to 6.5 percent—its highest level since March 1994—as the number of unemployment persons increased by 603,000 to 10.1 million.
  • 11.06.2008
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity (output per hour of all persons) increased at an annualized rate of 1.1 percent in the third quarter, according to the preliminary release, following a 3.6 percent last quarter. Output decreased 1.7 percent in the third quarter, its largest decrease since 2001:Q3, while hours fell even further, decreasing 2.7 percent during the quarter. Over the past year, nonfarm business sector productivity has increased 2.0 percent, though that was largely due to a 1.7 percent decrease in hours over that time period. Compensation per hour increased 4.7 percent in the third quarter, but after adjusting for price effects, actually fell 1.9 percent. Unit labor costs, a measure some use to detect the onset of inflationary pressures, increased 3.6 percent during the third quarter, up from −0.1 percent last quarter. Over the past four quarters, unit labor costs are up 2.3 percent.
  • 11.04.2008
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods fell 2.5 percent (nonannualized) in September, following a downwardly revised 4.3 percent decrease in August. New orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft decreased 1.5 percent during the month, and are now only up 0.3 percent over the past year. Shipments fell 2.8 percent in September, and are down 5.0 percent over the past three months. After four consecutive months of accumulation, inventories decreased 0.7 percent in September, their largest monthly decrease since July 2003.
  • 11.03.2008
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM manufacturing index slipped further than expected, falling 4.6 points to 38.9 in October, following a 6.4 point decline in September. According to the ISM, this month’s reading would indicate that manufacturing activity is 26–year low. All of the major sub–indexes that comprise the purchasing manager’s index (PMI), except for inventories, decreased in October. New orders fell 6.6 points to an index value of 32.2, while the production index decreased from 40.8 to 34.1 in October. The employment index dropped 7.2 points to 34.6 during the month, its lowest level since March 1991. The prices paid index—which does not factor in to the overall PMI and is not seasonally adjusted—plummeted 16.5 points to an index value of 37.0, down dramatically from a reading of 91.5 in June.
  • 11.03.2008
  • Construction Spending
  • Total construction spending decreased 0.3 percent in September after increasing 0.3 percent in August. Private construction spending increased 0.1 percent in September as a 1.3 percent drop in residential construction was offset by a somewhat surprising 1.2 percent increase in private nonresidential construction spending. The increase on the nonresidential side was somewhat surprising because the series seemed to have taken a downward turn after peaking in June, declining a combined 3.2 percent in July and August. Not too much should be made of one month’s data, but the increase in nonresidential spending is certainly a welcome development, though the series is still 2.1 percent below its June level.