Data Updates

Data Updates

November 2012

  • 11.30.2012
  • PCE Price Index
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index increased at an annualized rate of 1.5 percent during October. This follows increases of 4.3 percent in August and 4.1 percent in September, and over the past year, the headline PCE price index is up 1.7 percent. The price of energy goods and services, which is a volatile component of the overall index, but has pushed up the headline number over the past few months, decreased 2.1 percent in October. This follows increases of 96.2 percent and 75.6 percent in August and September, respectively. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” PCE price index increased 1.6 percent for the month, and is also up 1.6 percent since October of last year. This is roughly in line with the current near-term (three-month) trend in year-over-year changes, but a bit lower than average 12-month increases of 1.9 percent during the first quarter and 1.8 percent during the second quarter of this year. The market-based “core” PCE index—which excludes most imputed prices—increased 1.6 percent in October as well, and is up 1.7 percent. over the last twelve months.
  • 11.30.2012
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income was flat in October, following increases of 0.1 percent in August and 0.4 percent in September. Since last year, nominal income has increased 3.1 percent, a slight drop off from September’s 12-month growth rate of 3.5 percent. Disposable personal income (DPI)—personal income less current taxes—was also flat during October, and has increased 3.0 percent on a year-over-year basis. After controlling for price changes, “real” disposable personal income fell 0.1 percent for the month. This follows no change in “real” DPI during September, and a 0.3 percent decline in August. Over the past twelve months, “real” disposable personal income has increased 1.2 percent, which is slightly below the third quarter average 12-month growth rate of 1.6 percent, but still better than average growth rates of 0.2 percent and 1.1 percent during the first and second quarter, respectively. In the release, the Bureau of Economic Analysis also mentions that there was some downward pressure on October’s income numbers due to work interruptions related to Hurricane Sandy. This had the effect of reducing private wage and salary disbursements, which declined 0.3 percent during the month. “Real” personal consumption expenditures declined 0.3 percent in October, which follows an increase of 0.4 percent in September. Over the past twelve months, consumption has increased 1.3 percent, which is marks the smallest year-over-year improvement since August of 2010. Consumption of durable goods declined 1.7 percent and nondurable goods consumption decreased 0.3 percent in October, both contributing to the monthly decline in the overall number, while consumption of services remained basically flat.
  • 11.29.2012
  • Real GDP
  • Real GDP was revised up sharply (from 2.0 percent to 2.7 percent) in the third quarter, according to the second estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Although, the reason for the upward revision doesn't necessarily portend a more positive growth trend. The bulk of the upward revision was due to a sizeable bump up in inventories investment, which is now estimated to have added 0.8 percentage points to third-quarter growth compared to a 0.1 percentage point takeaway in the advance release. Stronger inventory growth is an ambiguous signal for future growth as it could mean that businesses are either gearing up for stronger demand in the future or failed to properly estimate current demand. The other source of new-found third-quarter growth was an upward revision to real export growth, which were revised up from a 1.6 percent decline to a 1.1 percent increase during the quarter and representing a roughly 0.4 percentage point swing in output growth.

    On the other hand, the second estimate for 2012:Q3 GDP growth contained some slightly negative news for consumption growth and business fixed investment. Real personal consumption expenditures growth slipped from 2.0 percent to 1.4 percent during the revision, knocking down its contribution to output growth from 1.4 percentage points to 1.0 percentage point. Much of the revision was due to a revision to services consumption which was revised down from an increase of 0.8 percent during the quarter to a mere 0.3 percent gain. Digging into the details reveals that a large chunk of the downward revision to services consumption stems from a knockdown to financial services and insurance consumption—which subtracted an additional 0.2 percentage points from overall growth on its own. Equipment and software investment was revised down from a flat reading to a 2.2 percent decline in the third quarter (and, given the recent durables report, may decline further in in the fourth). This was partially offset by an upward revision to real structures investment, which was revised up from a 4.4 percent decline to a 1.0 percent decline. As a category, business fixed investment subtracted 0.2 percentage points from real GDP in 2012:Q3, a downward revision of roughly a tenth.

    Alongside the expenditures data, we also received our first glance at real Gross Domestic Income (GDI) in the report. Real GDI rose 1.7 percent in the third quarter, compared to a 0.7 percent decline in the second quarter. On a year-over-year basis, real GDI is up 2.3 percent, roughly in line with the 4-quarter growth rate of 2.5 percent for real GDP.

  • 11.28.2012
  • New Home Sales
  • New single-family home sales fell 0.3 percent from September to October to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 368,000 units sold. Over the past 12 months, new home sales have risen 17.2 percent. Regionally, sales of new home showed strong annual gains but varied widely on a monthly basis, ranging from a 32.2 percent decline in the Northeast to a 62.2 percent increase in the Midwest. The median sales price of single-family homes fell 4.4 percent to $237,000. The inventory of available homes for sale rose to 147,000, representing a 4.8 month supply at the current sales pace.
  • 11.27.2012
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods were flat in October, following a volatile couple of months (down 13.1 percent in August and up 9.2 percent in September). Much of the headline volatility in orders is due to large swings in transportation equipment orders over the past few months. Excluding transportation equipment, new orders rose 1.5 percent in October following a 1.7 percent gain in September. Despite the relative strength in the near-term, on a year-over-year basis new orders excluding transportation equipment are down 2.3 percent over the past year. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, which is used to evaluate the near-term outlook in equipment and software investment, jumped up 1.7 percent in October, helping to pull its three-month annualized growth rate up from −20.9 percent to 6.4 percent. Still, the series is down 8.1 percent over the past year. Shipments of durable goods fell 0.6 percent in October, more than reversing a 0.5 percent increase in September. Perhaps more disconcerting is that shipments of non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, which map directly into GDP, have fallen in each of the last 4 months and were down 0.4 percent in October. On a year-over-year basis, shipments of non-defense cap goods ex aircraft are up just 0.9 percent and have fallen sharply since a recent high of 9.6 percent in early 2012.
  • 11.27.2012
  • Home Price Indexes
  • The S&P Case-Shiller National Home Composite index rose 3.6 percent in the third quarter of 2012 versus the third quarter of 2011, and was up 2.2 percent compared to the second quarter of 2011—this marks the sixth consecutive month of increasing prices. In September, the 10- and 20-city composites showed annual improvements of 2.1 percent and 3.0 percent. On a monthly basis, prices edged up 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively for the 10- and 20-city composites, which is the eighth consecutive month that both indexes have risen. Eighteen of the MSAs saw positive annual returns, while fifteen cities saw positive monthly increases. Cleveland was amongst the cites which posted monthly declines, down 0.9 percent, but remains up 1.4 percent compared to this time last year. Nationally, prices are back to their mid-2003 levels.

    The FHFA Housing price index rose a seasonally adjusted 1.1 percent from the second to third quarter of this year. Compared to the third quarter of 2011 homes prices rose 4.0 percent; however, after adjusting for inflation home prices increased just 2.5 percent. On a monthly basis, home prices edged up 0.2 percent. Throughout the nation, annual price changes continue to show the strongest improvements in the Mountain region, up 10.3 percent, and the weakest in the New England region, down 0.5 percent. Overall the September index level is now back to mid-2004 levels.

  • 11.21.2012
  • Housing Starts
  • Single-family housing starts edged up just 0.17 percent from September to October, but are up 35.31 percent over the past 12 months to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 594,000 units started. The authorizations of single-family home building permits, which tend to be more volatile, rose 2.18 percent in October and are up 26.58 percent compared to this time last year. Regionally, housing starts continued to gain traction despite the effect from Hurricane Sandy. Annual housing starts ranged from a 11.9 percent decrease in the Northeast to a 77.6 percent increase in the West.
  • 11.21.2012
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment were revised down from an index level of 84.9 to 82.7 in November. Despite the downward nudge, sentiment is still at its highest level in five years. Respondents’ collective judgment on current economic conditions was revised down from 91.3 to 90.7 in November and remains at a post-recession high. The expectations component, which has risen sharply from a recent low of 65.1 in August, was revised down from 80.8 to 77.6 in late November. Median one-year ahead inflation expectations were revised up 0.1 percentage point to 3.1 percent in November, now unchanged from October’s level and down 0.5 percentage points from its recent high. Five- to ten-year ahead expectations were unrevised at 2.8 percent, remaining within its normal range of 2.7 percent to 3.1 percent over the past five years or so.
  • 11.19.2012
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Existing single-family home sales rose 1.9 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.22 million in October from 4.14 million in September, and are 9.6 percent above the 3.85 million-unit pace in October 2011. Throughout the nation, monthly homes sales ranged from a 2.1 percent decrease in the Northeast to a 4.0 percent increase in the West. Annually, all regions are showing strong growth ranging from a 4.0 increase in the West to a 16.9 percent increase in the Midwest. The median existing single-family home price was $178,700 in October, which is 10.9 percent higher than a year ago. Home prices continue to increase gradually due to the low levels of inventory supply. The inventory and monthly supply of homes are down 20.9 percent and 27.0 percent, respectively on an annual basis.
  • 11.18.2012
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production decreased 0.4 percent (nonannualized) in October, largely due to production interruptions from Hurricane Sandy. The initial estimates indicate that Hurricane Sandy was responsible for a 1.0 percentage point reduction in total production levels. Thus this slowdown in production is likely to be seen a temporary effect. However, production levels have been slowing from earlier in the year. The near term trend (three-month annualized growth) dropped to −5.2 percent as production continued to slow following a stronger first quarter. On a year-over-year basis, overall production is up only 1.8 percent, the series lowest increase since February 2010. Manufacturing production fell 0.9 percent in October while the three month annualized growth rate decreased −6.6 percent. Breaking down the manufacturing sector, durable and nondurable goods decreased 0.6 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively. Within durable goods manufacturing, Machinery and electrical equipment, appliances and components both posted declines greater than 1.0 percent in October. Mining output rose 1.5 percent, after having increased 1.5 percent in September. Overall capacity utilization fell 0.4 percentage points to 77.8 percent of capacity.
  • 11.15.2012
  • CPI
  • The headline CPI rose at an annualized rate of 1.8 percent in October, as gasoline prices posted a modest decrease and general price pressure elsewhere in the retail marketbasket was fairly tame (though rents did post sizeable increases). On a year-over-year basis the headline CPI is up 2.2 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” CPI rose 2.2 percent during the month, outpacing its near-term (three-month) growth rate of 1.5 percent, though it came in relatively close to its year-over-year growth rate of 2.0 percent. Our measures of underlying inflation, the median CPI and 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI, rose 2.3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. Over the past year, the median is up 2.2 percent, while the trim is up 1.9 percent. However, there does appear to be an upward nudge on October’s data stemming from rising shelter costs.

    Shelter prices jumped up 3.2 percent in October, its sharpest monthly increase since March 2008. A significant chunk of this was rent of primary residence, which spiked up 5.1 percent in October, well above its 12-month trend of 2.8 percent. Also, owners’ equivalent rent (OER) rose 2.6 percent in October. OER has accelerated over the past three months, up 2.8 percent compared to its 12-month growth rate of 2.1 percent. Shelter costs comprise a little over 30 percent of the marketbasket (with OER accounting for roughly 25 percent alone) and have the propensity to influence the measured underlying inflation trend. As evidence of this, perhaps undue influence on our read of inflation, excluding OER from our trimmed-mean calculations pulls October’s increase in the median CPI down from 2.3 percent to a mere 0.4 percent increase. This is a marked difference from the recent trend. Over the prior three months, the median CPI excluding OER rose 2.3 percent, and is up 2.2 percent over the past year, numbers that lie nearly on top of the median CPI. The effect of excluding OER from the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI nudges it’s increase down from 1.7 percent to 1.3 percent in October. The latter effect is roughly in line with that of the sticky CPI, which rose 2.4 percent in October and 1.9 percent after excluding shelter prices.

  • 11.14.2012
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI), which the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted was unaffected by the recent hurricane, edged down 1.8 percent in October, after sharp, energy price-related increases in August and September. On a year-over-year basis, the PPI is up 2.3 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” PPI decreased 2.6 percent in October, its first decline since November 2010. Still, the core PPI is up 2.1 percent over the past year. Further back on the production line, there was a dearth of price pressure as core intermediate goods prices were flat and core crude goods prices fell 15 percent during the month. Both series are down on a year-over-year basis, though the volatility of producer prices is inversely related to the stage of processing (so crude goods are the most volatile and hardest to tease a signal out of).
  • 11.14.2012
  • Retail Sales
  • Nominal retail sales slipped down 0.3 percent in October, retreating slightly after two consecutive monthly gains of more than 1.0 percent. The Census Bureau released a set of FAQs alongside the report pertaining to the effects Hurricane Sandy may have had on the estimates. They noted that the effects of the hurricane could not be isolated in the survey, but they received anecdotal evidence of both positive and negative effects on the retail sales data. According to the FAQs, the response rate for the survey (2,579) was within its normal range, and while the response rate for firms in the affected area was weaker than usual, many larger firms with locations in the affected area included responses. All that said, the slight decline in October was not statistically significant (the 90 percent C.I. is plus or minus 0.5 percent). Cross-category performance was mixed during the month. Gasoline stations were the strongest category in October, rising 1.4 percent, while the sharpest sales declines were felt at building material, garden equipment, and supplies stores (down 1.9 percent). “Core” retail sales (excluding autos, building supplies, and gas stations) slipped down 0.1 percent following a 0.9 percent gain in September. Over the past three months, core sales are trending at an annualized rate of 2.5 percent, roughly on par with its year-over-year growth rate of 3.0 percent.
  • 11.09.2012
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices rose 0.5 percent in October after increasing 1.2 percent in September. October marks the third consecutive month of monthly increases with rising petroleum and nonpetroleum prices driving the gains. Petroleum and nonpetroleum prices rose for the second consecutive month with the former advancing 1.3 percent and the latter rising 0.4 percent. On a year-over-year basis, petroleum prices are up 2.0 percent in October after average 5.7 percent declines in the third quarter of this year. Nonpetroleum prices fell 0.3 percent compared to October of last year marking the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year declines. The overall import price index is up 0.4 percent on a yearly basis, the first increase since April of this year. After seeing weak reports throughout most of the second and third quarters, October’s report shows strength similar to September’s.

    Export prices were flat from September to October after increasing 0.8 percent from August to September. Nonagricultural prices rose 0.2 percent and agricultural prices fell −1.9 percent. On a year-over-year basis, export prices increased 1.4 percent, the first increase since April of this year.

  • 11.09.2012
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment continued to march upward, rising from an index level of 82.6 in October to 84.9 in early November. Sentiment has now jumped roughly 10 points in the past 3 months and has vaulted up to a five-year high. Interestingly, the release noted that November’s increase was exclusively driven by households with incomes above $75,000. The expectations component, which has risen nearly 16 points from a recent low of 65.1 in August, ticked up from 79 to 80.8 in November. Respondents’ collective judgment on current economic conditions improved in November, rising 3.2 points to 91.3, but that was only reversing some transitory weakness in September. The index is only up 2.6 points from its level in August. Median one-year ahead inflation expectations continued to edge away from a recent high of 3.6 percent in August, ticking down 0.1 percentage point to 3.0 percent in November. Five- to ten-year ahead expectations rebounded a tenth to 2.8 percent during the month, remaining within its normal range of 2.7 percent to 3.1 percent over the past 5 years or so.
  • 11.08.2012
  • International Trade
  • In September, the U.S. trade deficit contracted by $2.3 billion to $41.5 billion, a decrease from August’s downwardly revised $43.8 billion deficit ($44.2 billion, previously). Both imports and exports increased after posting simultaneous declines for the past two month. Given previous weakness in imports and exports and the global slowdown, the consensus forecast had predicted an expansion of the deficit to $45.0 billion. September’s contraction to $41.5 billion, with both imports and exports growing, was largely unexpected. Imports rose 1.5 percent to $228.5 billion, marking the first month-over-month increase since March of this year. Driving the gains were rising petroleum prices (up 4.6 percent) as well as strength in capital goods (up 1.2 percent) and consumer goods (up 6.3 percent). At 3.1 percent, exports posted the highest month-over-month gain for the year as they rose to a level of $187.0 billion. On a year-over-year basis, imports rose 1.5 percent in September, up from August’s 0.9 percent yearly gain. Exports increased 3.5 percent on a yearly basis after rising just 1.7 percent the month prior.
  • 11.07.2012
  • Consumer Credit
  • The current consumer credit release publishes preliminary numbers not only for the month of September but also for the third quarter of 2012. In September, total consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.0 percent, a slight slowdown in view of the upwardly revised corresponding figure for August: 8.2 percent. That 5.0 percent is the net result of a 4.1 percent decline in revolving credit and a 9.2 percent increase in nonrevolving credit. In the third quarter, total consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 4.0 percent. Revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 1.6 percent, while nonrevolving credit increased 6.6 percent. All three figures are lower than the corresponding figures from the second quarter, headlined by a 2.5 percentage point decline in total consumer credit.
  • 11.02.2012
  • The Employment Situation
  • Nonfarm payrolls rose by 171,000 in October, outperforming even the most optimistic guess (168,000) by professional forecasters in the Bloomberg survey, and coming on the heels of relatively sharp upward revisions to the previous two months’ estimates. Nonfarm payrolls were revised up in sum by 84,000 over the past two months (61,000 of that was to private payrolls). These revisions helped push the average monthly gain in payrolls during the third quarter up to 174,000, compared to just 67,000 in the second quarter (which looks even more like transitory weakness given today’s report). Notably, nonfarm payrolls have averaged a gain of 162,000 per month over the past 12 months, compared to its pre-recession long-run (30-year) average of roughly 150,000. That comparison is perhaps even a little more favorable for private payrolls (164,000 per month. over the past 12 months, compared to a pre-recession long-run average gain of 130,000). Payroll gains were concentrated in the private service sector, accounting for 163,000 of the overall gain. Employment gains were strongest in professional and business services (up 51,000), retail trade (up 36,000), and healthcare (up 30,000). Goods-producing payrolls rose 21,000 in October, almost reversing a decline of 27,000 over the past two months. And government payrolls, which were revised up by 23,000 over the past two months, slipped down 13,000 in October. On the household side of the report, the number of employed persons increased by 410,000 in October, absorbing most of the net inflows into the labor force (up 578,000). However, that excess inflow into the labor force nudged the unemployment rate up to 7.9 percent. The labor force participation rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 63.8 percent, though that’s still 0.3 tenths below its level from a year ago. And the employment-to-population ratio edged up a tenth to 58.8 percent, and has risen by 0.5 percentage points over the past two months.
  • 11.01.2012
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM Manufacturing PMI edged up 0.2 percentage points to a level of 51.7 percent in October, maintaining a narrow margin above the diffusion index’s growth threshold of 50.0 for the second consecutive month. Improvements in the new orders component (up from 52.3 percent to 54.2 percent) and the production component (up 2.9 points to 52.4 percent) overtook modest declines in the remaining components. Notably, the employment index fell 2.6 percentage points to 52.1 percent, nearly offsetting a 3.1 percentage point jump up in September. Still, the employment index has been above 50 percent since October 2009 and over that time period, manufacturing employment (as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) has increased by roughly 400,000.
  • 11.01.2012
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity—real output per hour of all persons—increased at an annualized rate of 1.9 percent during the third quarter. This follows a similar increase of 1.9 percent in the second quarter (revised down from 2.2 percent), and a decline of 0.5 percent during the first three months of the year. Over the last four quarters, nonfarm business sector productivity has increased 1.5 percent. The rise in productivity came from an increase in output of 3.2 percent during the third quarter, which was partially offset by a 1.3 percent increase in hours. Over the past twelve months, output and hours have increased 3.3 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Following increases of 5.8 percent and 3.6 percent in quarters one and two, hourly compensation increased at a rate of 1.8 percent in the third quarter and is up 2.6 percent since the third quarter of 2011. However, after controlling for price changes, “real” hourly compensation fell 0.4 percent in quarter three after increasing in the first two quarters this year. Unit labor costs, which are measured as hourly compensation per hourly output and are an indicator of inflationary pressure coming from wages, were basically flat in the third quarter, decreasing 0.1 percent. On a year-over-year basis, unit labor costs are up 1.1 percent.
  • 11.01.2012
  • Construction Spending
  • The construction industry showed signs of continued recovery with private construction spending increasing by 1.3 percent in September to $580.5 billion. The recovery was led by a 2.8 percent increase in residential construction spending. Single and multi-family spending saw monthly gains of 3.9 and 1.3 percent, respectively. Although multi-family spending registered a smaller increase than in August, it is up 48.9 percent since last September. Private nonresidential spending fell 0.1 percent in September to $294.6 billion, but is still up 8.8 percent since last year. Healthcare construction recorded the largest monthly decline of 6.3 percent.