Data Updates

Data Updates

December 2012

  • 12.28.2012
  • New Home Sales
  • Sales of new single-family homes rose 4.4 percent in November and 15.3 percent over the past 12 months to a seasonally adjusted rate of 377,000 units sold, after a downward revision to the October estimate. This represents the highest level of new home sales since April 2010. From October to November, regional sales ranged from a 21.1 percent increase in the South to a 17.8 percent decline in the West. Annually, sales in the Northeast improved 68.8 percent, while the Midwest posted a decline of 5.8 percent. The monthly supply of new homes for sale fell to a 4.7 month supply at the current sales pace. Meanwhile, the median price of new single-family homes rose to 3.6 percent for the month and 14.8 percent since November 2011 to $246,000.
  • 12.26.2012
  • Home Price Indexes
  • In October, the S&P Case Shiller Housing Price Indexes fell 0.1 percent for both the 10- and 20-city composites and posted annual increases of 3.4 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively. Anticipated seasonal weakness was seen as 12 of the 20 cities saw monthly declines in October, compared to seven in September. Included among those cites with monthly declines was Cleveland, which fell 0.9 percent in October to an index level of 101.5 but has increased 1.8 percent over the past 12 months. While annual rates of change for home prices are showing strong growth, both composites are back to fall 2003 levels.

    The FHFA housing price index rose 0.5 percent in October and 5.6 percent over the past 12-months after a downward revision to September’s estimate. Regionally, monthly price changes ranged from a 2 percent increase in the Pacific to a 1.3 percent decline in the Middle Atlantic, which includes some of the areas that were most severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Overall the index is back to mid-2004 levels, but still 15.7 percent below the April 2007 peak.

  • 12.24.2012
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods rose 0.7 percent in November, following an upwardly revised 1.1 percent increase in October. Over the past year, new orders are up 4.5 percent. Excluding transportation equipment, new orders have been growing rather swiftly as of late, rising 1.6 percent in November following gains of 1.9 percent and 1.7 percent in October and September, respectively. Despite the relative strength in the near-term, on a year-over-year basis new orders excluding transportation equipment are up just 2.8 percent. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, which is used to evaluate the near-term outlook in equipment and software investment, has rebounded sharply from some softness in the third quarter, rising 3.2 percent in October and increasing 2.7 percent in November. helping to pull its 12-month growth rate above zero (up 0.1 percent). Shipments of durable goods rose 1.5 percent in November, after a relatively sharp upward revision to October&rsquo's data (from a decrease of 0.6 percent to a slight increase of 0.1 percent). Perhaps more striking is that shipments of non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, which map directly into GDP, jumped up 1.8 percent in November, following a gain of 0.6 percent in October (revised up from a 0.4 percent decline). On a year-over-year basis, shipments of non-defense cap goods ex aircraft are up 5.3 percent.
  • 12.21.2012
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income increased at a non-annualized rate of 0.6 percent in November, and has increased 4.1 percent over the last twelve months. The improvement in November follows increases of 0.4 and 0.1 percent in September and October, respectively. Disposable personal income (DPI)—personal income less current taxes—increased 0.6 percent in November as well, following increases of 0.4 percent in September and 0.1 percent in October, and is up 4.0 percent since last year. After controlling for price changes, “real” disposable personal income increased 0.8 percent during the month, which is the largest one-month improvement since January 2011. This month’s release also included revisions to the third quarter estimates, which showed that real disposable personal income was essentially flat from July through September. However, the current three-month average growth rate is at 0.3 percent, largely due to the November increase. On a year-over-year basis, “real” DPI is up 2.5 percent, the highest twelve month increase since March of last year. “Real” personal consumption expenditures increased 0.6 percent in November, following a 0.2 percent decline in October, and have increased 2.1 percent over the past twelve months. During November, consumption of durable goods increased 2.6 percent, while consumption of both non-durable goods and services both increased 0.3 percent. The current near-term (three-month) average growth rate in consumption is at 0.3 percent, similar to a 0.2 percent average improvement during the third quarter. As a percentage of disposable personal income, the personal savings rate increased from 3.4 percent in October to 3.6 percent in November.
  • 12.21.2012
  • PCE Price Index
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index fell at an annualized rate of 2.6 percent in November, following increases of 3.9 percent in September and 1.5 percent in October. Over the past twelve months, the headline index is up 1.4 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” PCE price index increased 0.5 percent in November, as a drop in the price of energy goods in services, which declined 41.7 percent during the month, pushed the headline index into negative territory. Over the last three months, “core” PCE prices have increased at an average rate of 0.9 percent, below the second quarter average month-to-month increases of 1.6 percent but a bit higher than average increases of 0.6 percent during the third quarter. Over the past year, the “core&rdquo PCE price index has increased 1.5 percent. The market-based “core&rdquo PCE price index, which also excludes most imputed prices, increased 0.4 percent in November, following increases of 0.9 and 1.5 percent in September and October, respectively, and is up 1.6 percent over the past twelve months.
  • 12.21.2012
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment was revised lower in December, and is now estimated to have fallen to an index level of 72.9, nearly ten points below November’s recent cyclical high. The overall decline in sentiment was driven almost entirely by a drop in consumers’ expectations—from 77.6 in November to 63.8 in December—reportedly as respondents became increasingly concerned over the looming fiscal cliff. The current conditions component edged down slightly during the month (from 90.7 to 87.0), though it ended the year up 7.4 points. In December, the median respondent’s expectation over the next year is for inflation to rise 3.2 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from November. Over the longer-term (Five-to-ten years ahead), the median inflation expectation is for an increase of 2.9 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from last month, but remaining within its “normal” range of 2.7 to 3.0 percent that it has oscillated around throughout the past few years.
  • 12.20.2012
  • GDP
  • Real GDP was revised up from 2.7 percent to 3.1 percent in the third quarter, according to the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The upward revision—which was modestly above the consensus estimate from the Bloomberg survey—was largely due to upward adjustments to real personal consumption expenditures, real exports, real state and local government spending, and a downward revision to real imports (which are a subtraction in GDP accounting). Real consumption expenditures were revised up from 1.4 percent in the second estimate to 1.6 percent. All three components (durables, nondurables, and services) were nudged up slightly. Net exports added an additional 0.2 percentage points to third-quarter real GDP growth, as real export growth was revised up from 1.1 percent to 1.9 percent and real import growth was revised down from roughly flat to −0.6 percent. Also, real state and local government spending was revised up from a decrease of 0.1 percent to a slight (0.3 percent) gain. If that gain holds through benchmark revisions it will mark the first positive quarterly increase for the series since 2009:Q3. Relative to the initial release for the third quarter, real GDP has been revised up by 1.1 percentage points. However, the primary contributors to that gain were private inventories (which added nearly 0.9 percentage points to real GDP growth after both revisions) and real exports (which were revised up from a 1.6 percent decrease in the advanced release to 1.9 percent in the third estimate). Upward revisions to these categories, given the limited information contained in the initial release and the somewhat ambiguous growth signal from inventory swings, don't necessarily point to stronger growth in Q4. Unfortunately, a more robust signal of carry-over momentum comes from real personal consumption expenditures, which were revised down 0.4 percentage points from the initial-to-final release.
  • 12.20.2012
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Existing single-family home sales rose 5.5 percent in November and 12.4 percent over the past 12 months to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 4.4 million units. The median price of existing homes ticked up 2 percent during the month and 10.1 percent since last November. Meanwhile, the available housing stock and monthly supply of existing homes continue to decline sharply at the current sales pace. On an annual basis the inventory of existing single-family homes fell 22.7 percent to 1.8 million units for sale and the monthly supply of homes has fallen 31 percent to a 4.9 month supply. Overall, sales are at the highest level since November 2009 when the annual pace spiked at 5.44 million.
  • 12.19.2012
  • Housing Starts
  • New residential construction starts fell 4.1 percent in November to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 565,000 units after reaching the highest monthly growth rate since 2008 in October. Over the past 12 months, housing starts have risen 22.8 percent, which was driven mainly by strong gains in the West and Midwest regions. The authorization of single-family build permits, a sign of future demand, fell 0.2 percent from October to November, but have risen 25.3 percent since this time last year to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 565,000 permits. While the construction of new residential homes is making significant strides, it is still well below the peak of 2.3 million in 2006.
  • 12.18.2012
  • Current Account
  • In the third quarter of 2012, the U.S. current account deficit contracted to −$107.5, a 10.6 billion decrease from the second quarter’s revised −$118.1 billion deficit (−$117.4 billion, previously). The narrowing marks the second consecutive quarter of contractions in the deficit. As a percentage of GDP, the current account fell 0.3 percentage points to 2.7 percent, the smallest ratio since the fourth quarter of 2009. Driving the overall contraction, the goods deficit fell $11.8 billion—the largest contraction since the first quarter of 2009‐to a level of $173.9 billion while the services surplus increased $1.1 billion to $49.4 billion. Exports of goods, services, and incomes increased in the third quarter by $1.2 billion to a level of $736.9 billion. Imports of goods, services, and incomes contracted for the second consecutive quarter, decreasing $10.4 billion to $810.6 billion
  • 12.14.2012
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production increased 1.1 percent (nonannualized) in November, following a decline of 0.7 percent in October. November’s increase is largely due to the return from production interruptions stemming from Hurricane Sandy. The near-term trend (three-month annualized growth) returned to positive territory, 2.1 percent, however production levels continued to slow following a strong first quarter. On a year-over-year basis, overall production is up 2.5 percent. Manufacturing production rose 1.2 percent in November, while the three-month annualized growth rate increased 0.9 percent. Breaking down the manufacturing sector, durable and nondurable goods increased 1.6 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. Within durable goods manufacturing, wood products, primary metals, electrical equipment, appliances and components, and motor vehicles and parts all posted increases greater than 2.0 percent in November. Overall capacity utilization jumped 0.7 percentage points to 78.4 percent of capacity.
  • 12.14.2012
  • CPI
  • The CPI fell at an annualized rate of 3.7 percent in November, as falling gasoline prices more than offset modest increases elsewhere in the retail marketbasket (and overran the sharpest increase in energy services prices since March 2010). Over the past 12 months, the CPI is up 1.8 percent, down 0.4 percentage points from October’s figure. Food prices rose 2.7 percent in November, nearly identical to October’s gain, and are up 1.8 percent over the past year. Excluding food and energy prices, the (“core”) CPI rose 1.4 percent in November, slightly softer than its near-term (three-month) annualized growth rate of 1.8 percent and its 12-month growth rate of 1.9 percent. Our measures of underlying inflation—the median CPI and the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI—rose 2.3 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. Both measures are running a little north of the trend in the core CPI over the past three months, with the trim increasing 2.0 percent and the median up 2.4 percent. Over the past 12 months the median CPI has risen 2.2 percent, while the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI has increased 1.9 percent. The 12-month growth rate in the median CPI hasn’t changed much from the start of the year (slipping just 0.2 percentage points), while the growth rate in the 16 percent trimmed-mean has fallen from roughly 3/4 of a percentage point since January. Some of that relatively elevated near-term trend in the trimmed-mean measures has to do with rising homeowners’ equivalent rent, which increased 2.4 percent in November, and are up 2.6 percent over the past three months (rent of primary residence is up 3.6 percent over the past three months). Still, the influence from rents on the year-over-year growth rate in the median CPI is relatively minor—just 0.1 percentage point.
  • 12.13.2012
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI), pulled down by a sharp decline in energy prices, fell at an annualized rate of 8.7 percent in November, following a more modest (and also energy price-related) decline of 1.8 percent in October. Over the past 12 months, the PPI is up just 1.5 percent, well below its long-run (10-year) annualized growth rate of 3.4 percent. Perhaps as a nascent sign of the summer drought in the Midwest, food prices jumped up 17.3 percent in November, following a relatively sanguine 12-month period where food prices only increased 2.2 percent. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the “core” PPI edged up 1.3 percent during the month. After a modest decline in October and a flat reading in September, the three-month annualized growth rate in the core PPI stands at −0.4 percent—a marked deceleration compared to its year-over-year growth rate of 2.2 percent. At earlier stages of production there was a dearth of price pressure, as core intermediate goods prices were flat and core crude prices edged up just 0.9 percent.
  • 12.13.2012
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales rose 0.3 percent in November, offsetting a 0.3 percent decline in October. Over the past 12 months, retail sales are up 3.7 percent. However, after excluding autos, sales have been flat over the past two months, despite increasing 3.3 percent over the past year. Sales performance was mixed across broad categories, though. For the most part, categories that exhibited gains in November were just reversing declines seen in October. The two exceptions were sales at general merchandise stores (which fell modestly in both periods) and sporting goods, hobby, book and music store sales (which rose modestly in both periods). A less-volatile indicator of sales strength—“core” retail sales (which excludes sales of autos, building supplies, and gas stations)—jumped up 0.5 percent in November, following a roughly flat reading in October. Strong gains in September and November have helped push up the near-term growth trajectory in core sales. Its three-month annualized growth rate has improved from 2.0 percent back in August to 5.4 percent as of November. That said, its 12-month growth rate stands at 3.4 percent (roughly 1.5 percent after adjusting for inflation), well below its growth rate at the start of the year of 6.1 percent.
  • 12.12.2012
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices fell −0.9 percent in November after increasing 0.3 percent in October. November’s decrease came after three months of gains and was greater than the −0.5 percent decline predicted by the consensus forecast. Falling petroleum and nonpetroleum prices contributed to the overall decrease with the former driving the drop by falling −3.6 percent and the latter edging down −0.1 percent. On a year-over-year basis, petroleum prices fell −7.0 percent in November after falling 0.2 percent in October. Nonpetroleum prices remained unchanged compared to November 2011 ending a five month streak of year-over-year declines. After strong relatively strong reports in September and October, November’s report displays much of the weakness stemming from the global slowdown.

    Export prices fell −0.7 percent after posting gains throughout the third quarter. On a year-over-year basis, export prices rose 0.7 percent marking the second consecutive month of gains.

  • 12.11.2012
  • International Trade
  • In October, the U.S. trade deficit expanded by $2.0 billion to a level of $42.2 billion after increasing $2.3 billion the month prior. After increasing in September, both imports and exports plummeted in October resuming simultaneous declines seen in July and August. October’s report displays the expected weakness from the global slowdown. Imports fell 2.1 percent to a level of $222.8 billion, the largest monthly decline since February 2012. Exports, falling 3.6 percent in October to a level of $180.5 billion, posted the largest monthly drop since January 2009. On a year-over-year basis, imports fell 0.8 percent marking the first decrease since November 2009. Exports posted yearly gains of 1.0 percent after averaging 5.0 percent growth throughout 2012.
  • 12.07.2012
  • Consumer Credit
  • In October, total consumer credit increased at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.2 percent to bring total credit outstanding to $2,753.5 billion. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 4.7 percent, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 6.9 percent. Revisions to preliminary numbers show that total consumer credit rose in September by 5.4 percent rather than 5 percent, an upward revision to the drop in revolving credit (to −3.1 percent from −4.1 percent) caused this change.
  • 12.07.2012
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment preliminary December level fell 8.2 percentage points from its November five year high of 82.7 to 74.5. Current economic conditions saw a smaller decrease of 0.8 points from 90.7 to 89.9, although this is still a post-recession high excluding November. The expectations component saw the largest decline of 13 points from 77.6 to 64.6, reaching a new one year low. One-year-ahead inflation expectations increased 0.2 percent from 3.1 percent to 3.3 percent, and consumer&rsquoo;s expectations of long term inflation over the next five years increased 0.1 percent to 2.9 percent. Long-term inflation expectations have remained within the 2.7 to 3.0 percent range throughout the past few years.
  • 12.05.2012
  • Productivity and Costs
  • The increase in nonfarm business sector productivity during the third quarter of this year, which is measured as real output per hour of all persons, was revised up from 1.9 percent (annualized) to 2.9 percent. This follows changes of −0.5 percent and 1.9 percent in the first and second quarters, respectively. Over the past year, productivity is up 1.7 percent. The improvement in productivity came from a 4.2 percent increase in output (revised up from 3.2 percent), while hours increased just 1.3 percent. Following gains of 5.8 percent and 1.3 percent in the first two quarters of the year, hourly compensation increased 0.9 percent during the third quarter (revised down from 1.8 percent). However, after controlling for price changes, “real” hourly compensation fell 1.4 percent (revised down from a 0.4 percent decline). Over the past year, “real” compensation per hour is basically flat, increasing just 0.1 percent. Unit labor costs, which is measured as hourly compensation per hourly output, fell 0.5 percent during the third quarter (revised down from zero), and over the past twelve months, is up just 0.1 percent.
  • 12.05.2012
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 0.8 percent (nonannualized) in October, following an increase of 4.5 percent in September. This month’s decrease pulled the near-term trend (three-month annualized growth rate) back into negative territory at −0.1 percent. With exception of two months, the near-term trend has been negative since March 2012. Year-over-year growth rates for new orders increased 3.0 percent, the highest reading since April of this year. Excluding transportation new orders increased 1.3 percent for the month, while the durable goods orders series rose 0.5 percent for the month and its three-month annualized growth rate remains negative at −17.4 percent. Nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders—considered a leading indicator of business investment spending—grew 2.9 percent for the month, pulling its three-month annualized growth rate up from −21.1 percent in September to 11.2 percent. Shipments and unfilled orders of manufactured goods increased 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent for the month, respectively. The unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio now rests at 6.25, roughly where it has been since late 2009. Inventories also continue to accumulate at 0.1 percent, however the inventory/sales ratio (1.28) has also remained stable around since late 2009.
  • 12.03.2012
  • Construction Spending
  • Private construction spending increased 1.6 percent from September to October to $592.1 billion and is up 15.5 percent on a year-over-year basis. Residential construction spending continued to lead the gains with an increase of 3 percent over the month. New multi-family construction spending increased 6.2 percent in October and is up 53.2 percent since October 2011. New single-family construction posted a smaller monthly gain of 3.6 percent. Private nonresidential construction spending increased 0.3 percent over the month to $297.9 billion and is up 10.7 percent year-over-year. The lodging and transportation sectors registered the largest monthly gains of 3.5 and 3.9 percent, respectively. Communications construction recorded the largest monthly decline of 6.5 percent.
  • 12.03.2012
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Manufacturers Index (PMI) decreased 2.2 percentage points in November to 49.5 percent (from 51.7 percent in October) following two consecutive months of being above the growth threshold of 50.0. It has also fallen below its 2012:Q3 average of 50.3 percent. This is the lowest the PMI has been since its July 2009 level of 49.2 percent. The only increases occurred in the production (up 1.3 points to 53.7 percent), import (up 0.5 points to 48.0 percent), and supplier deliveries (up 0.7 points to 50.3 percent) components. These modest gains were offset by the decreases in the other components. Specifically, new orders shed its recent gain in October by decreasing 3.9 points to 50.3 percent, but still managed to maintain its third consecutive month above the growth threshold. Prices paid also decreased by 2.5 points to 52.5 percent, its fourth consecutive month above 50.0 percent. The employment component decreased 3.7 percentage points to 48.4 percent, its lowest level since September 2009. This is also the first time the employment index has dropped below 50.0 since October 2009.