Data Updates

Data Updates

November 2009

  • 11.25.2009
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods slipped down 0.6 percent (nonannualized) in October, following a 2.0 percent gain in September. Its three-month annualized growth rate fell to −5.4 percent in October, delving into negative territory for the first time in seven months. The news is even worse for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft (a proxy for business fixed investment), which more than reversed a 2.6 percent gain in September, decreasing 2.9 percent in October, pulling its three-month annualized growth rate down to −5.1 percent. Shipments of durables, while still decreasing, fared slightly better than new orders, falling just 0.2 percent during the month, after a 1.6 percent increase in September. Over the past year, shipments are still down -13.6 percent, but that is well off its current cyclical low of −20.2 reached in June. Inventories, after nine consecutive months of contraction, were virtually flat in October. This should be an indicator of a positive contribution to real GDP growth for the fourth quarter.
  • 11.25.2009
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income rose 0.2 percent (nonannualized) in October, after an upwardly revised 0.2 percent increase in September, as its 12-month growth rate improved from −1.6 percent to −1.0 percent. Disposable personal income increased 0.4 percent in October, its fourth consecutive monthly gain, pushing up its 12-month growth rate to 2.4 percent (its highest level in a year). Nominal personal consumption rebounded in October, rising 0.7 percent after a 0.6 percent decrease in September. After adjusting for price effects, “real” personal consumption rose 0.4 percent in October, following a 0.7 percent decline in September. Both the three-month and 12-month annualized growth rate in real consumption expenditures improved in October, rising 2.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Personal saving as a percentage of disposable income ticked down to 0.2 percentage point to 4.4 percent in October, in line with its 2009 year-to-date average of 4.5 percent.
  • 11.25.2009
  • PCE
  • The PCE price index rose 3.2 percent (annualized rate) in October, following a 1.4 percent increase in September. PCE prices are up 2.9 percent over the past three months, and just 0.2 percent over the past year. Excluding food and energy prices (core PCE), the index rose 2.3 percent during the month, following a 1.4 percent increase in September, while its 12-month growth rate remained relatively soft in October, at 1.4 percent.
  • 11.25.2009
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumer Sentiment was revised up in November from a preliminary reading of 66.0 to 67.4, but is still below October?s index level of 70.6. The consumer’s assessment of both the current economic conditions and their expectations for the near future worsened in November, as consumers’ assessments of their financial conditions continue to be “grim.” One-year ahead average inflation expectations were revised down from 3.3 percent to 3.1 percent in November, compared to 3.2 percent in October. Longer-term (five-to-10-year ahead) average inflation expectations were revised down by 0.1 percentage point during the revision, and have now been at 3.2 percent for three consecutive months.
  • 11.25.2009
  • New Home Sales
  • Sales of new single-family homes rose 6.2 percent in October, making up for the smaller declines of 1.0 percent and 2.4 percent in August and September. At the current annualized pace of 430,000 units, sales are up from January’s trough of 329,000 and are running at the strongest pace since last fall (September 2008). By region, sales actually declined in all but the South, with the Midwest facing the largest drop. The South accounts for roughly half of all new home sales, though, allowing it to account single-handedly for the overall increase in October.

    The number of new homes on the market decreased for the thirtieth month in-a-row, slipping another 11,000 units to 239,000. October’s pick-up in sales pace and the steady decline in inventory further lowered the months’ supply to 6.7 months at the current sales pace, down for the seventh straight report and from January?s record high of 12.4 months. The median sales price rose a slight 0.7 percent following a modest increase in September, raising the 12-month growth rate from −6.4 percent up to −0.5 percent.

  • 11.24.2009
  • GDP
  • Real GDP was revised down from 3.5 percent to 2.8 percent in the third quarter (roughly in line with expectations), according to the second estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The 0.7 percentage point (pp) downward revision primarily reflected an upward adjustment to imports, and downward revisions to consumption and business fixed investment; that were only partially offset by an upward bump to exports. Real imports were revised up to a 20.8 percent jump in the third quarter, compared to a 16.4 percent increase in the advance release, resulting in an additional 0.5 pp takeaway from real GDP growth. Real consumption growth was revised from 3.4 percent to 2.9 percent during the quarter, subtracting 0.3 pp from output growth. Nonresidential investment was revised down from a 2.5 percent loss to a 4.1 percent decrease in the third quarter, still this is a substantial improvement from a 9.6 percent decline in the second quarter and a near 40 percent drop in the first quarter. Real exports were adjusted upward slightly, adding 0.2 percentage points to real GDP growth. Also during the revision, inventories and residential investment were revised down slightly, balanced by a modest upward adjustment to real government consumption.

    Corporate profits were released alongside the GDP report, showing a 10.6 percent ($130 billion) jump during the third quarter, its third consecutive quarterly increase and largest since 2004Q1. Still, on a year-over-year basis profits are down 6.7 percent.

  • 11.24.2009
  • Housing Price Indicators
  • The national S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index rose 1.9 percent in the third quarter after a 1.8 percent-rise in the second quarter, marking the index’s first gains since early 2006. On a year-over-year basis, home prices are now down 8.9 percent, a sizeable improvement from where the series stood last month at −14.7 percent and the record low of -19.0 percent in the first quarter. The monthly data for the 10- and 20-city indexes also gained ground in September but exhibited the smallest of four consecutive increases. The 10-city index rose just 0.4 percent after a 1.2 percent increase in August, and the 20-city index advanced a less-than-expected 0.3 percent on the heels of a 1.1 percent gain. The 12-month growth rates for the 10- and 20-city indexes each improved roughly two percentage points and now stand respectively at −8.5 percent and −9.4 percent, their highest rates since late 2007.

    The FHFA Purchase-Only House Price Index was virtually flat in September after a 0.5 percent-slip in August. On a quarterly basis, the index inched up 0.2 percent, its first increase since 2007:Q2. The index’s 12-month growth rate looks the best it has since February 2008, as it rose a percentage point to −3.0 percent. The total FHFA index, which includes data from refinancing transactions, fell 2.4 percent in the third quarter after an identical dip in the second quarter. This resulted in a four-quarter growth rate of −4.1 percent, matching the 40-year low previously achieved in 2008:Q4.

  • 11.23.2009
  • Exisiting Home Sales
  • Existing single-family home sales jumped 9.7 percent in October, the largest percentage increase since 1983, following an 8.7 percent gain in September. Home sales have seen progressively larger gains since April, the only exception being a brief 3.0 percent setback in August. October’s large rise in sales boosted the annual sales pace to its highest level since February 2007, at 5.3 million units, while the 12-month growth rate also received a dramatic boost, from 7.0 percent to 21.4 percent. The inventory of existing single-family homes on the market dropped 3.2 percent, lowering the months’ supply from 7.6 to 6.8, well below the average supply of 10.0 months in 2008 and 8.7 in 2007. Despite the median sales price dropping a fourth straight month to $177,100, the series’ 12-month growth rate rose from −7.6 percent to −6.8 percent in October, roughly back to where it stood in June 2008.

    Regional existing single-family home sales soared by double-digits in all but the West, where sales advanced just shy of 1.0 percent.

  • 11.18.2009
  • CPI
  • The CPI rose at an annualized rate of 3.4 percent in October, as energy prices jumped up 19 percent. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is down 0.2 percent, up from a 12-month growth rate of −1.3 percent in September. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” CPI, rose 2.2 percent during the month, largely on sharp increases in used cars and trucks (up 48.6 percent) and new vehicles prices (up 21.3 percent). Measured prices in these markets are likely still affected by fallout from the CARS program, as evidenced by a whopping 30.8 percent jump in used car prices over the past three months (its highest rate since January 1981). Rents continued to show softness in October, as OER (Owners’ Equivalent Rent) was virtually unchanged and rent of primary residence slipped down 1.3 percent. The measures of underlying inflation produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland continued to run a little softer than the BLS’, as the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI rose 1.9 percent and the median CPI increase 1.2 percent in October. Over the past 12 months, the median is up 1.5 percent and the growth rate in the trim is up 1.2 percent. The underlying price change distribution continued to show a lot of mass in the “tails” of the distribution (65 percent), with 44 percent of the consumers’ marketbasket exhibiting outright price decreases. Only 18 percent of the overall index was in the broad “sweet-spot” between 1 and 3 percent.
  • 11.18.2009
  • Housing Starts
  • Single-family housing starts fell 6.8 percent in October, wiping away September’s upwardly revised gain of 6.2 percent. Housing starts have faltered in the past few months after seeing steady gains from February through July this year. Although October’s drop of 35,000 starts lowered the annual pace to 476,000 units, roughly where it sat in June, single-family starts have risen 33 percent from the record low in January. The unsteady mix of gains and losses in recent months set the 12-month growth rate back from −6.9 percent to −10.9 percent. Total starts dropped 10.6 percent in October, pulled down by a sizeable 34.6 percent decline in the more volatile multi-family starts series.

    Permits for single-family homes were virtually unchanged in October, declining a small 0.2 percent after a 2.6 percent setback in September. By region, declines in the Midwest and South roughly balanced advances in the Northeast and West. The 12-month growth rate in permits continued to ascend, rising to −4.0 percent, its highest since March 2006.

  • 11.17.2009
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods increased at an annualized rate of 3.5 percent in October, following a 6.7 percent decrease in September and is still down 1.9 percent on a year-over-year basis. Much of the overall increase was driven by food and energy price increases. After stripping out those price movements, the “core PPI” fell 6.7 percent, its largest price decrease since October 2001. Over the past 12 months, the core PPI is up just 0.7 percent its lowest growth rate in a little over five years. Further back on the assembly line, core intermediate prices slipped down 1.4 percent and core crude goods prices rose 5.4 percent in October; somewhat uncharacteristic readings on the two relatively volatile series.
  • 11.17.2009
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production (IP) posted its fourth consecutive increase, though at a much slower pace than over the summer, rising 0.6 percent (annualized rate) in October compared to a growth-rate of 12.2 percent over the past three months. On a year-over-year basis, IP is still down 7.0 percent. Manufacturing output slipped down 1.8 percent in October following three consecutive increases in excess of 9.0 percent, due in part to an 18.2 percent decrease in motor vehicles and parts production. Still, excluding autos, manufacturing output slipped down 0.8 percent during the month. Mining production fell 2.8 percent in October, while utilities output jumped up 21.0 percent. Capacity utilization ticked up 0.1 percentage point to 70.7 percent in October, continuing to rebound from a cyclical low of 68.3 percent in June.
  • 11.16.2009
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales rose 1.4 percent (nonannualized) in October, partially offsetting a downwardly revised 2.3 percent decrease in September (the previous estimate for September was −1.5 percent). October’s gain in overall sales reflected a 7.4 percent increase in motor vehicle and parts sales that rebounded somewhat after plummeting 14.3 percent in September as the CARS incentives rolled-off. Excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.2 percent, its third consecutive increase. However, over the past 12-months retail sales excluding autos still down 2.6 percent. An addendum measure meant to get at “core” retail sales—sales excluding autos, building supplies, and gas stations—rose 0.5 percent in October, following a 0.4 percent gain in September. Over the past 3-months, the “core” series is trending at an annualized rate of 5.9 percent and up 0.7 percent on a year-over-year basis, its first positive reading in eight months.
  • 11.13.2009
  • International Trade
  • The nominal trade deficit widened by $5.6 billion to $36.5 billion in September, the largest increase since September 2005. After a slight dip in August, September’s increase continues the trend begun in June of a growing deficit, following steady declines that ran from August 2008 through March. Unlike August, September brought substantial increases in both imports and exports. The rise in imports far outweighs that of exports, bringing about the sharp increase in the nominal trade deficit. Imports jumped 5.8 percent in August, driven largely by crude oil, as the average price per barrel increased by $3.42 and the average number of barrels per day rose by 882,000, following a decline of 898,000 in August. Exports rose by 2.9 percent, driven much more by goods than by services, which rose 4.0 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. These gains pulled the year-over-year growth rate of imports up to −20.6 from −28.5 in August, while exports have fallen −13.2 percent in the same period, compared with −20.6 percent in August. Both imports and exports of automobiles—which increased 2.9 percent and 11.4 percent. respectively—reached their highest levels so far this year.
  • 11.13.2009
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumer Sentiment continued to retreat from a recent high of 73.5 percent in September, falling 4.6 points to an index level of 66.0 in November. The consumer’s assessment of both the current economic conditions and their expectations for the near future worsened in November, reportedly driven in part by “grim financial realities.” The current conditions component slipped down 5.6 percent (nonannualized) to a level of 69.6 during the month, though this is still above the current cyclical low of 63.3 in March. Consumer expectations fell from 68.6 in October to 63.7 in November. Both the one-year ahead and longer-term (five-to-10-year ahead) average inflation expectations ticked up 0.1 percentage point to 3.3 percent in November.
  • 11.13.2009
  • Import Prices
  • Import prices rose 0.7 percent (nonannualized) in October, the seventh increase in the past eight months. The increase follows a 0.2 percent increase in September, and was driven by a 1.8 percent increase in industrial supplies and materials prices and a 0.9 percent rise in petroleum prices. The 12-month growth rate grew for the third straight month to −5.7 from a series low of −19.2 in July. Nonpetroleum import prices also rose 0.7 percent, the largest increase since June 2008. Export prices inched up 0.3 percent after a 0.3 percent decline in September, again due largely to industrial supplies and materials prices, which rose 1.0 percent. This brings the 12-month growth rate of export prices to −3.4 percent, up from a series low of −8.3 percent in July.
  • 11.06.2009
  • Employment
  • Nonfarm payrolls fell by 190,000 in October, slightly underperforming expectations. However, estimates for August and September were both revised up rather strongly, for a combined total of 91,000. Payroll losses have continued on an improving trend, averaging losses of 188,000 over the past three months, compared to an average of −428,000 during the second quarter, and −691,000 during the first quarter. Private goods producing payrolls slipped down 129,000 in October, evenly split between manufacturing and construction sectors. Service sector payrolls fell by 61,000 during the month, as relatively large losses in the retail sector (down 40,000) and leisure and hospitality (−37,000) were partially offset by gains in education and health services (up 45,000) and professional and business service (up 18,000). There were a couple of small positives buried in the report. First, while the average workweek stayed at a series low of 33.0 hours, manufacturing overtime hours ticked up 0.2 hours to 3.0 hours, its largest monthly increase since March 2007. Also, average weekly earnings rose $1.65 in October, rebounding from a $1.54 dip in September, and are now up $5.38 from October of last year.

    On the household side, the unemployment rate jumped up 0.4 percentage point to 10.2 percent, its highest rate since April 1983. The number of unemployed persons rose by 558,000 in October, while the civilian labor force stayed roughly constant. An alternative (and somewhat less noisy) measure of labor market duress, the employment-to-population ratio continued to decline in October, slipping down 0.3 percentage point to its lowest level since 1983—58.5 percent.

  • 11.05.2009
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Nonfarm business sector labor productivity soared in the third quarter, rising 9.5 percent, its largest quarterly increase since 2003:Q3. On a year-over-year basis, productivity is now up 4.3 percent, compared to a growth rate of 1.9 percent in the second quarter. The strong gain in thir-quarter productivity came as output rose 4.0 percent and hours worked fell 5.0 percent. Compensation per hour rose 3.8 percent during the quarter, after a virtually flat second quarter. However, after adjusting for prices, “real” compensation per hour was virtually flat in the third quarter, rising just 0.2 percent. As productivity gains outpaced the increase in hourly compensation, unit labor costs—a measure some use to track the onset of inflation pressures—fell 5.2 percent, pushing its 4-quarter growth rate down to −3.6 percent (a post-war low).
  • 11.03.2009
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods more than reversed a 0.8 percent (nonannualized) decrease in August, rising 0.9 percent in September, its fifth increase in six months. However, the series is still down 17.1 percent on a year-over-year basis. Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft jumped up 1.8 percent during the month after a 1.0 percent drop in August, though its 3-month annualized growth rate slipped down to −1.8 percent following 3 consecutive positive readings. Shipments rose for the third time in four months, increasing 0.8 percent in September, pulling its 12-month growth rate up from −19.2 percent in August to −15.9 percent in September. Manufacturers continued to trim inventories in September (thirteenth consecutive month), contracting 1.0 percent. As inventories shrink and shipments start to stabilize, the I/S ratio has pulled-back from its recent cyclical high of 1.46 months (reached in January), falling to 1.36 months in September.
  • 11.02.2009
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose from an index level of 52.6 in September to 55.7 in October, marking its third straight month above the ISM’s growth threshold of 50. Strong gains in the production (up from 55.7 to 63.3) and employment components (up 6.9 points to 53.1, its first foray above 50 since July 2008) contributed to the overall increase. New orders slipped from 60.8 to 58.5 in September. The ISM Manufacturing PMI is now up nearly 44 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • 11.02.2009
  • Construction Spending
  • Total construction spending rose 0.8 percent (nonannualized) in September, breaking a streak of four consecutive monthly declines. The overall gain resulted from a pick-up in both public and private construction, which advanced at respective rates of 1.3 and 0.5 percent, led in both cases by increases in residential construction. Private residential construction jumped 3.9 percent over the month, the largest of three straight gains, while private nonresidential spending pulled back for the sixth straight month, at 1.8 percent. Despite the mild rise in total private construction for September, the series’ 12-month growth rate sank to a new record low of −20.6 percent.