Data Updates

Data Updates

November 2011

  • 11.30.2011
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity—real output per hour of all persons—grew at an annualized rate of 2.3 percent in the third quarter, following a downward revision from a 3.1 percent increase. The revision reflects reduced output growth, which had its estimate fall from 3.8 percent to 3.2 percent, and higher growth in hours worked, which is now estimated to be 0.8 percent. Hourly compensation was revised down for the third quarter as well, from a 0.6 percent increase to a 0.2 percent decline. An even larger downward revision was made to second quarter hourly compensation, showing that the series declined 0.2 percent rather than having increased 2.7 percent. After adjusting for price changes, real hourly compensation was revised down 0.8 percentage points in the third quarter and 2.8 percentage points in the second quarter. The third-quarter decline in hourly compensation nearly offset the decline in productivity, leaving unit labor costs relatively unchanged at a 2.5 percent drop. However, unit labor costs in the second quarter were dragged down by the drop in hourly compensation, as the second quarter estimate fell from a 2.8 percent increase to a 0.1 percent decline. On a year-over-year basis, unit labor costs were revised from 1.2 percent growth to just 0.4 percent.
  • 11.29.2011
  • Home Price Indexes
  • In the third quarter of 2011, the S&P /Case-Shiller national housing price index declined 3.9 percent from the previous year and 1.2 percent from the second quarter of 2011. On a monthly basis from August to September, both the 10- and 20-city composites experienced declines of 0.4 and 0.6 percent, respectively. Across the nation, seventeen of the 20 cities covered were down in September—Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix fell to new index lows. For the third consecutive month, Washington D.C. and Detroit have been the only two cities to post positive annual growth rates, increasing by 3.7 and 1.0 percent, respectively.

    According to the FHFA housing price index, sales prices rose 0.2 percent from the second to third quarter of 2011. However, when compared to the third quarter of last year, prices fell 3.7 percent. On a monthly basis, prices rose 0.9 percent in September. Of the nine census divisions, the West North Central division experienced the strongest price gains of 1.5 percent in the third quarter. Prices were weakest in the Pacific census division where prices fell 0.5 percent in the third quarter. Nationally, both the Case-Schiller and FHFA home price indexes are back to their first quarter of 2003 levels.

  • 11.28.2011
  • New Home Sales
  • Sales of new single-family homes rose 1.3 percent in October to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 307,000 units. October’s increase is down from September’s revised 3.4 percent gain (previously 5.7 percent). On a year-over-year basis, sales of new single-family homes jumped 8.9 percent in October after falling 4.11 percent in September. Sales activity was strongest in the Midwest and West regions, where sales rose 22.2 percent and 14.9 percent, respectively. Conversely, sales were flat in the Northeast and declined in the South by 9.5 percent. The median sales price of a new single-family home fell for the fourth consecutive month in October, declining 0.5 percent to $212,300. Year-over-year, however, the median new-home price is up 4 percent. The number of new single-family homes for sale was flat in October at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 162,000 units, representing 6.3 months of supply at the current sales rate.
  • 11.23.2011
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income rose 0.4 percent (non-annualized) in October, compared to a 0.1 percent increase in September, and is 3.9 percent over the past year. Disposable personal income—personal income less current taxes—increased 0.3 percent in October, after a slight 0.1 percent increase in September. Real (inflation-adjusted) disposable income rose 0.3 percent during the month, following decreases in five of the last six months. On a year-over-year basis, disposable income edged down 0.1 percent, and has fallen markedly since its recent cyclical high of 3.8 percent in October 2010. Notably, the level of disposable income has grown just 1.5 percent since the previous business cycle peak in December 2007. Real personal consumption expenditures—which have increased 1.7 percent since December 2007—ticked up 0.1 percent in October, following a 0.5 percent jump up in September. The 12 month growth rate in consumption edged down slightly to 2.0 percent in October. As consumption growth has recently outpaced disposable income gains, the savings rate has dipped, falling from 5.0 percent to 3.5 percent over the past five months.
  • 11.23.2011
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment held onto its gains in early November and was essentially unrevised for the month (at an index level of 64.1) increasing 3.2 points over October’s level. While the current level of sentiment is well off the historical average for the series, it has improved almost 10 points over the past four months. Both the expectations and current conditions components of the overall index improved in November. The current conditions component rose from 75.1 to 77.6 during the month, while expectations rose by 3.6 points to 55.4. Both shorter-run (one-year ahead) and longer-term (five-to-ten years ahead) median inflation expectations remained unchanged in November, at 3.2 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.
  • 11.23.2011
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durables fell 0.7 percent (nonannualized rate) in October after a sharp downward revision to September’s orders—which were revised down from a 0.8 percent decline to a 1.6 percent drop. Despite the near-term softness, the year-over-year growth rate in new orders stands at 7.5 percent. Much of that weakness in the near term has been tied to orders for transportation equipment (largely aircraft orders). Excluding transportation, new durables orders rose 0.7 percent in October, are trending at an annualized growth rate of 4.5 percent over the past three months, and are up 11.7 percent over the past year. An important signal of future equipment and software investment—new orders of nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft—plummeted 1.8 percent in October and was revised down from a 2.4 percent increase to 0.9 percent gain in September. Still, the longer-term (12-month) growth rate in the series improved to 9.2 percent in October. Shipments of durables jumped up 1.3 percent in October, more than reversing a 0.5 percent decrease in September, and are up 9.2 percent over the past year. Durables shipments excluding transportation equipment rose 0.2 percent in October, following up a slight 0.1 percent decrease in September. After a brief pause in September, manufacturers’ resumed stocking inventories of durables, adding 0.5 percent in October. Durables inventories have grown nearly 20 percent since the end of the recession (June 2009).
  • 11.22.2011
  • PCE Prices
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) price index slipped down at an annualized rate of 0.6 percent in October, following an upwardly revised 2.1 percent increase in September. The tick down in October helped to bring the series’ 12-month growth rate down a couple of tenths to 2.7 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” PCE price index rose 0.9 percent during the month, after a virtually flat reading in September. The core PCE is trending at a much slower growth rate than the headline index—rising 1.7 percent over the past year. The market-based core PCE—a subgroup of the core index that only excludes most imputed prices—increased a mere 0.2 percent in October, and is trending at a growth rate of 1.7 percent over the past year.
  • 11.22.2011
  • GDP
  • Real GDP in the third quarter was revised down from 2.5 percent to 2.0 percent, pulling its four-quarter growth rate down 0.1 percentage points (pp) to 1.5 percent, according to the second estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The 0.5 pp headline knock-down in the third quarter looks a lot worse on the surface than the details would suggest. Importantly, the estimate of real final sales of domestic product (GDP less inventories) was untouched during the revision and still stands at 3.6 percent, compared to a gain of just 1.6 percent in the second quarter. The bulk of the downward revision came as the change in private inventories was adjusted down from a $5.4 billion increase to an $8.5 billion decline, which subtracted an additional 0.5 pp from real GDP growth during the quarter. Swings of this magnitude are fairly common because the BEA has scant current-quarter evidence on inventories at the time of the advance estimate and it relies heavily on extrapolating near-term trends. Elsewhere, the growth rate in real consumption was nudged down from 2.4 percent to 2.3 percent, shaving off a tenth of a percentage point (pp) from its, still sizable, 1.6 pp contribution to real GDP growth. Nonresidential fixed investment was revised down slightly—from a 16.3 percent jump up to a 14.8 percent gain in the third quarter, still above its 4-quarter growth rate of 8.9 percent. Residential investment was essentially unrevised, and so was real government consumption (which remained flat). Real exports were actually revised up slightly during the revision—from 4.0 percent to 4.3 percent—despite continued angst from across the pond. Also, real imports were revised down from 1.9 percent to 0.5 percent in the third quarter, though since they enter into GDP accounting as a subtraction, this added nearly 0.3 pp to output growth. Perhaps the only worrisome news in this report is the first look at real GDI (gross domestic income). Real GDI rose just 0.4 percent in the third quarter. While this is a very slight improvement from a scant 0.2 percent growth rate in the second quarter, it is down markedly from its 2010 growth rate of 2.5 percent.
  • 11.21.2011
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Sales of existing single-family homes rose 1.6 percent in October from a downwardly revised September figure of 4.31 million units to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.38 million units sold. Across the Nation, the Northwest was the only area to show a negative monthly change where sales declined 5.2 percent. The West showed the most monthly improvement by gaining 3.8 percent in sales from September. Compared to this time last year, total existing single-family home sales have improved by 13.8 percent, while the median price of homes has declined by 5.8 percent to $161,600. Inventories continue to fall and are down to 2.86 million units, a 12.2 percent decline from last year. The supply of housing also declined to a 7.8 months supply, which is a 23.5 percent annual decline—the lowest supply level since January.
  • 11.17.2011
  • Housing Starts
  • October single-family housing starts rose 3.9 percent from a downwardly revised September figure to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 430,000 units. Across the nation, housing started were varied from an 11.3 percent increase in the South to a 10.2 percent decline in the West. On a year-over-year basis, total single-family housing starts were down just 0.9 percent from October 2010, which is a considerable improvement from the 7.4 percent decline in September. Overall single and multi-family housing units were down 0.3 percent from September and up 16.5 percent from October 2010.

    The authorization of single-family home construction also improved in October by 434,000 seasonally-adjusted units, which is a 5.1 percent increase from September and a 6.6 percent increase from October 2010. The Northeast showed the most improvement with a 13.1 percent increase in authorizations, while the Midwest fell 4.1 percent which is the first negative month-to-month percent change since February for the region. Total authorizations of single and multi-family housing units were up 10.9 and 17.7 percent from last month and this time last year, respectively.

  • 11.16.2011
  • CPI
  • The headline CPI fell at an annualized rate of −1.0 percent in October, as a dip in energy prices (led by a 31.6 percent decrease in motor fuel) more than offset a modest 1.4 percent increase in food prices. October’s increase in food prices was the smallest of the year (so far) and was due in large part to a fairly sizeable 28 percent decrease in fresh fruits and vegetables prices. Most of the other food categories were in the upper tail of the price change distribution. Given the decrease in the headline CPI in October, we are finally starting to see some slowing in its year-over-year rate—which ticked down from 3.9 percent to 3.5 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” CPI rose 1.6 percent in October, following a 0.7 percent increase in September. Over the past three months, the series has risen at an annualized rate of 1.8 percent, slightly below its 6-month growth rate of 2.4 percent and its 12-month growth rate of 2.1 percent. The median CPI rose 2.3 percent and the 16 percent trimmed-mean measure rose 1.4 percent in October. As was the case last month, both measures came in below their respective 3- and 6-month growth rates. Over the past year, the median CPI is up 2.2 percent, while the trim is up 2.5 percent. There was modest disagreement between the median and trim in October (2.3 percent versus 1.4 percent) and that appears to be the result of the trimmed-mean picking up onthe downside skew in this month’s price change distribution (a large part of that was the decreases in the energy and autos components). Interestingly, the 16 percent trimmed-mean has been a little more variable than the median over the past five months or so.
  • 11.16.2011
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production jumped up 0.7 percent (nonannualized) in October, following a downwardly revised 0.1 percent decrease in September. However, that downward revision that led to the first decrease in IP since the spring was almost entirely due to a downward revision in mining output (from a 0.8 percent gain to a 0.5 percent decline). On a year-over-year basis, overall production is up 3.9 percent. Manufacturing production accelerated in October, increasing 0.5 percent, compared to increases of 0.3 percent in both September and August. Some of the strength in manufacturing production was tied to a 3.1 percent spike in autos production during the month. Excluding autos, manufacturing output rose 0.3 percent in October and is up 3.8 percent over the past year (compared to a 4.1 percent growth rate for manufacturing as a whole). Outside manufacturing, mining production, spiked up 2.3 percent in October, more than reversing the downwardly revised 0.5 percent decrease in September, and helping to push its 12-month growth rate up from 4.5 percent to 6.0 percent during the month. Electric and gas utilities output edged up 0.1 percent, following sizeable declines of 3.4 percent and 1.6 percent in September and August, respectively. Capacity utilization rose from 77.3 percent in September to 77.8 percent in October, and has steadily improved from its recent cyclical low of 67.3 percent in June 2009.
  • 11.15.2011
  • Retail Sales
  • Retails sales rose 0.5 percent in October, surprising forecasts for a modest pull-back after jumping up 1.1 percent in September. Importantly, even after excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.6 percent during the month, its third consecutive increase above 0.5 percent. This follows a soft patch from April to July where sales growth increased just 1.1 percent over that four-month span. Cross-category performance was generally positive, though sales at furniture and home furnishing stores, gasoline stations, and clothing and accessory stores all dipped in October. Interestingly, nominal sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (a discretionary spending category) continued to post strong gains, rising 1.3 percent in October and have now climbed up to its highest 12-month growth rate ( 9.1 percent) since mid-1998. “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 October, following a 0.5 percent gain in September. The 3-month annualized growth rate in core retail sales rose to 6.6 percent in October, edging just above its 12-month growth rate of 6.1 percent, which may be a tentative sign of continued strength.
  • 11.15.2011
  • Producer Price Index
  • There was scant evidence of pricing pressure coming from October’s Producer Price Index (PPI) report. The PPI for finished goods fell at an annualized rate of 3.7 percent in October, partially reversing a 9.8 percent spike up in September. The headline decrease was due in part to a 15.3 percent decline in the finished energy goods component during October, which had jumped up 31.3 percent in the previous month. Food prices were nearly flat in October, rising just 0.6 percent compared to increases of 7.0 percent and 13.8 percent in September and August, respectively. The 12-month growth rate in the PPI rose slipped down from 6.9 percent in September to 5.9 percent, though is still elevated relative to its 20-year trend growth rate of 2.3 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the (“core”) PPI was flat in October, following a 2.7 percent gain in September. Over the past three months, the annualized growth rate in the core PPI is just 1.1 percent, compared to its longer-term (12 month) growth rate of 2.8 percent. Further back on the production line, pricing pressure ebbed, as core intermediate goods prices fell 6.6 percent and core crude goods—which are up 11.8 percent over the past year—plummeted 40.8 percent in October.
  • 11.14.2011
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment increased 3.3 points in early November to 64.2, which marks the highest index level since June of this year. A 4.4 point jump in the consumer expectations component to an index level of 56.2 (previously 51.8) paired with a more modest 1.5 increase in the current economic conditions component to an index level of 76.6 (previously 75.1) indicates a slight improvement in the outlook towards the national economy with consumers less likely to expect the economy to worsen in the year ahead. Confidence in economic policies, however, reached a new low of 58 percent of all consumers rating economic policies unfavorable. Shorter-term median inflation expectations (one-year ahead) remained unchanged in November at 3.2 percent and longer-term inflation expectations (five-years ahead) fell 0.1 percent to 2.6 percent.
  • 11.10.2011
  • Import and Export Prices
  • U.S. import prices fell 0.6 percent in October, following no change in September (0.3 percent, before revisions). October marks the second decline of import prices in the past three months. Drops in both non-oil import prices (down 0.4 percent) and petroleum import prices (down 1.0 percent) contributed to the overall decline. Although petroleum prices fell for the third consecutive month, they continue to gain year-over-year posting gains of 36 percent. Non-oil import prices continued to post year-over-year gains of 4.8 percent despite falling from September to October. Most major categories posted price decreases except for consumer goods and automotive vehicles. On a year-over year basis, import prices posted gains of 11 percent, sliding from September’s 12.9 percent gain.

    U.S. export prices fell by 2.1 percent after posting a 0.4 percent advance in September. A drop of 6.5 percent in agricultural export prices lead the decline with nonagricultural export prices falling as well by 1.5 percent. Year-over-year, export prices continued to post gains of 6.3 percent, but declined compared to September’s 9.4 percent advance.

  • 11.10.2011
  • U.S. Trade
  • The U.S. trade deficit in September narrowed by $1.8 billion to −$43.2 billion, down from August’s revised −$44.9 billion (−$45.6 billion previously). Imports increased by $0.7 billion to $223.5 billion in September, marking the first time in three months imports posted gains. Exports increased by $2.5 billion to $180.4 billion, rising for the third consecutive month. Exports outpacing imports lead to the decline in the overall deficit which is now at its narrowest level since December 2010. September’s 0.3 percent increase in imports was driven by gains in food, industrial supplies, and automobile categories. The gains were offset by declines in capital and consumer goods. Year-over-year, imports rose 11.9 percent in September. The 1.4 percent jump in exports was lead by broad based gains across most major categories. Exports continued to post double digit gains on a yearly basis rising 15.9 percent.
  • 11.07.2011
  • Consumer Credit
  • Total consumer credit outstanding improved in September, increasing 0.3 percent. On a year-over-year basis, total consumer credit is up 2.4 percent. For September, growth was concentrated in nonrevolving accounts, which grew 0.5 percent. Compared to September of last year, nonrevolving accounts are up 4.7 percent. The improvement in nonrevolving consumer credit has coincided with a sharp improvement in lightweight vehicle sales, which rose 8.0 percent in September. Comparatively, revolving accounts declined in September, falling 0.1 percent and are down 2.0 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • 11.04.2011
  • The Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
  • The Maturity Extension Program began in October. The Fed started selling short-term (1- to 3-year) Treasury securities and purchasing long-term (7- to 30-year) Treasury securities. In addition, the reinvestment of principal payments on agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) has been reinvested in agency MBS. The European Central Bank expanded their drawings on their dollar liquidity swap over the month of October. On top of the $500 million, 7-day draw the ECB had been making, they added an 84-day swap for $1.353 billion. In late October, the Maiden Lane portfolios were revalued according to current market values. All three portfolios lost value. Maiden Lane I went from $14.5 billion to $12.9 billion, Maiden Lane II went from $9.9 billion to $9.5 billion, and Maiden Lane III dropped from $20.4 billion to $18.0 billion. Perhaps an interesting side effect of the recent balance sheet operations, the amount of securities lent to dealers reached its lowest point of 2011 over the past week, below $10 billion lent.
  • 11.03.2011
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity?real output per hour of all persons—rose at an annualized rate of 3.1 percent in the third quarter. Second-quarter productivity was revised up from a 0.7 percent decline to a slight 0.1 percent loss, entirely due to upwardly revised output growth. The third quarter growth was driven by output, which grew 3.8 percent over the quarter, while hours increased just 0.6 percent. Hourly compensation increased 0.6 percent. After adjusting for price changes, real hourly compensation fell 2.4 percent, pulling its four-quarter change down to a 1.4 percent decrease. As a result of the stronger productivity numbers and weaker compensation growth, unit labor costs fell 2.4 percent in the third quarter. On a year-over-year basis, unit labor costs have increased 1.2 percent.
  • 11.01.2011
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell 0.8 index point to 50.8 in October. This small decline keeps the index near the recent low of 50.6, and leaves the index just 0.8 point above its growth threshold of 50. The manufacturing PMI is 5.3 points below its 12-month average of 56.1. The decline in the overall index was largely driven by a sharp decline in the inventories index, which fell 5.3 points to 46.7, its lowest reading in over a year. A smaller 1.1 point drop also occurred in the production index, falling to 50.1 in October and erasing a 2.6 point gain in September. Losses of 0.3 point and 0.1 point were also recorded for the employment index and supplier deliveries index, respectively. The only positive component in October was the new orders index, which added 2.8 points. The new orders index now stands at 52.4, its first venture above the growth threshold of 50 in four months. The prices index (which is not seasonally adjusted and does not enter into the overall PMI) fell 15.0 points to 41.0 in October, the lowest point for that index since April 2009.
  • 11.01.2011
  • Construction Spending
  • After downward revisions to July and August, private construction spending ticked up 0.6 percent (annualized rate) in September. Residential and non-residential spending both increased, 0.9 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. Looking over the past 12-months, private construction spending is up almost 4.0 percent with non-residential spending driving the gain. Non-residential spending is up 7.4 percent from this time last year, with September marking its fourth straight annual percentage increase. Commercial, educational, transportation, and power are driving the increase while sectors like lodging and religious are struggling to break out of trend declines or flat activity. Within commercial, warehouse construction spending is the best performer, posting annual gains for the past five months with September spending up 38 percent since September 2010. On the residential side, multi-family construction (up 6.5 percent over the year) continues to outperform single-family home construction (−0.1 percent since this time last year). Home improvement spending continues on a bumpy path. After posting double-digit percentage gains in the spring, the past couple of months its been down slightly.