Data Updates

Data Updates

March 2014

  • 03.28.2014
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • Final numbers show that the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment increased to 80 from the preliminary number (79.9) posted earlier in March. The Index of Consumer Expectations increased to 70 from the preliminary number of 69.4. The economic conditions index decreased to 95.7, from the preliminary number of 96.1.

    In regards to inflation expectations in March, consumers expect a year-ahead inflation rate of 3.2 percent and a longer (5- to 10-year) rate of 2.9 percent.

  • 03.28.2014
  • Personal Income and Consumption
  • Nominal personal income increased at a nonannualized rate of 0.3 percent in February, following a similar 0.3 percent increase in January. Over the past year, nominal personal income has increased 3.1 percent. Disposable personal income (DPI)— personal income less current personal taxes—also increased at a nonannualized rate of 0.3 percent; and after controlling for price changes, real disposable personal income increased 0.3 percent for the month as well. The monthly improvement in real DPI follows a 0.3 percent decline in December and a 0.2 percent increase in January. Since February 2013, real disposable personal income has increased 2.1 percent.

    Real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.2 percent in February. This follows a 0.1 percent decline in December and a 0.1 percent increase in January. On a year-over-year basis, consumption has increased 2.1 percent. Contributing to the gain in February were increases in both goods and services consumption. Consumption of durable goods increased 0.1 percent, while consumption of nondurable goods increased 0.3 percent. Services consumption was up 0.2 percent for the month. On a year-over-year basis, goods consumption has increased 1.9 percent and services consumption has increased 1.5 percent. The personal savings rate, which is personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income, ticked up from 4.2 percent in January to 4.3 percent in February.

  • 03.28.2014
  • Personal Consumption Expenditures
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index increased at an annualized rate of 0.9 percent in February, following a 1.3 percent increase in January. On a year-over-year basis, the PCE price index has increased 0.9 percent. The core PCE price index, which excludes both the food and energy components, increased 1.1 percent in February, and has increased 1.1 percent over the past year. The 12-month changes in this index have remained in a relatively narrow window between 1.1 and 1.2 percent since April 2013. The market-based core PCE price index, which also excludes most imputed prices, increased 1.0 percent in February. This follows a 0.9 percent increase in January and over the past year, this index has increased 0.9 percent.
  • 03.27.2014
  • GDP
  • The annualized percent change in real GDP for the fourth quarter of 2013 was revised up from 2.4 percent to 2.6 percent based on the third estimate. The improvement in GDP growth was mostly the result of an upward revision to consumption, which was partially offset by downward revisions to business fixed investment and inventories. Consumption is now estimated to have increased 3.3 percent, compared with a previous estimate of 2.6 percent, and the contribution of consumption to GDP growth was revised up from 1.7 percentage points to 2.2 percentage points. The entire upward revision to consumption was the result of an upward revision to services consumption, and much of the improvement in services consumption is related to consumption of medical services. Consumption of medical services is now estimated to have contributed 0.6 percentage points to GDP growth, compared with a previous estimate of 0.2 percentage points.

    Business fixed investment was revised down from a 7.3 percent increase to a 5.7 percent increase for the quarter. The result was a decline in the contribution of business fixed investment to GDP from 0.9 percentage points to 0.7 percentage points, while the contribution of inventory investment was also revised down from 0.1 percentage point to zero. Residential investment, as well as imports and exports were mostly unrevised, while government spending was revised up slightly from a 5.6 percent decline to a decline of 5.2 percent.

  • 03.26.2014
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods increased 2.2 percent in February, following a decline of 1.3 percent in January. Over the past year, new orders are up 0.2 percent. New orders for transportation equipment lead the monthly increase, rising 6.9 percent in February. Excluding volatile transportation equipment orders, new orders were only up 0.2 percent, following an increase of 0.9 percent in January. Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, which is used to evaluate the near-term outlook in equipment and software investment, fell 1.3 percent in February after rising 0.8 percent in January. Shipments of durable goods, which are up 3.4 percent over the past year, rose 0.9 percent in February. Shipments of nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, which map directly into GDP, rose 0.5 percent in February and are up 1.0 percent year-over-year.
  • 03.25.2014
  • Home Price Indexes
  • In January, the S&P/Case-Shiller 10-city composite showed no change, while the 20-city composite ticked down for the third consecutive month—down 0.1 percent. On an annual basis, the 10- and 20-city composites rose 13.5 percent and 13.2 percent, respectively, however 12 of the 20 cities experienced annual declines. While some of the declines are likely due to cold weather, some areas like Las Vegas are still 45 percent below the peak reached in 2006. Elsewhere, Dallas and Denver are now less than 1 percent away from their recent all-time index highs.

    The FHFA house price index rose 0.5 percent from December to January, and 7.4 percent over the past 12 months. The seasonally-adjusted purchase-only index for the nation has shown increases for 23 of the last 24 months. The Pacific region showed the largest improvement on a monthly and annual basis, up 0.8 percent and 14.0 percent, respectively. The overall index is now back to mid-2005 price levels.

  • 03.25.2014
  • New Home Sales
  • In February, the sale of new single-family homes fell 3.3 percent for the month and 1.1 percent over the past 12 months to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 440,000 units sold. The median sales price was $261,800, representing a 0.4 percent increase for the month, but a 1.2 percent decline since last February. The inventory of new homes for sale has risen 24.3 percent over the past year to 189,000 units, which is a 5.2 month supply at the current sales pace.
  • 03.20.2014
  • Existing Home Sales
  • In February, the sale of existing single-family home fell 0.2 percent for the month and 6.9 percent over the past 12 months to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 4.04 million units sold. The largest declines were in the Northeast, where sales ticked down 13.5 percent on both a monthly and annual basis. The median price of existing single-family homes rose to $189,200, an improvement of 0.69 percent for the month and 9.0 percent annually. The inventory of existing homes was 1.73 million units available for sale, representing a 5.1 month supply at the current sales pace.
  • 03.19.2014
  • Current Account
  • The US current account deficit narrowed to −$81.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, a $15.2 billion contraction from the third quarter’s revised −$96.4 billion deficit (−$94.8 billion, previously). As of the fourth quarter of 2013, the current account deficit was the smallest since the third quarter of 1999. The current account deficit has now contracted in six of the past seven quarters. The contraction was driven by a $12.9 billion decrease in the balance of trade in goods, services, and income. Both imports and exports of goods, services, and income increased in the fourth quarter; however, exports surged by 2.5 percent, which overshadowed an increase of 0.4 percent in imports. As a percent of GDP, the current account deficit declined to 1.9 percent from 2.3 percent in the third quarter, which is the smallest recorded percentage since the third quarter of 1997.
  • 03.18.2014
  • Consumer Price Index
  • The headline CPI index rose at an annualized rate of 1.2 percent from January to February after increasing 1.7 percent in January and 2.9 percent in December. Excluding food and energy, the “core” CPI index advanced 1.4 percent after rising 1.5 percent last month. The BLS reported that more than half of the increase in the consumer basket was driven by a 4.9 percent jump in the food index. Counteracting the increase in food, the energy index declined −5.6 percent. Plummeting gasoline prices (down −19.0 percent) offset advances in fuel oil and natural gas. On a year-over-year basis, the headline CPI rose 1.1 percent, bringing February’s number below those of January (1.6 percent) and December(1.5 percent). The core CPI advanced 1.6 percent, unchanged from January’s 1.6 percent increase. The 16 percent trimmed-mean posted annualized monthly gains of 1.9 percent and the median CPI rose 2.2 percent. The year-over-year growth rates of the trimmed-mean CPI and the median CPI remained unchanged relative to the past two months with the trimmed-mean marking 1.6 percent and the median 2.0 percent. The median CPI has increased at a pace of 2.0 percent for five of the past six months.
  • 03.18.2014
  • Housing Starts
  • In February, the groundbreaking of new single-family residential homes was up 0.3 percent but down 10.6 percent over the past 12 months to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 583,000 units started. Regionally, housing starts ranged from a 32.7 percent decline in the Northeast to a 40.7 percent increase in the Midwest. On an annual basis, housing starts ranged from a 46.8 percent decline in the Northeast to 3.4 percent decline in the South. The authorization of new single-family home building permits fell 1.8 percent on a monthly basis and 2.0 percent to a total of 588,000 permits issued on a seasonally-adjusted annualized basis.
  • 03.17.2014
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production increased 0.6 percent in February and manufacturing production increased 0.8 percent. Breaking down the manufacturing sector into durable and nondurable goods, durable and nondurable goods production rose 0.9 and 0.7 percent, respectively. The largest gain in the durable goods sector occurred in auto production. Output of motor vehicles and parts increased 4.8 percent. Utilities production fell 0.2 percent while mining production rose 0.3 percent. The overall capacity utilization rate increased to 78.8 percent.
  • 03.14.2014
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) increased at an annualized rate of 4.3 percent in February and on a year-over-year basis, PPI is up 1.3 percent. Producer prices for finished consumer foods increased at annualized rate of 8.5 percent. Energy prices increased at an annualized rate of 5.7 percent. Excluding volatile food and energy prices “core” PPI is up 1.3 percent and core crude prices decreased 7.6 percent.
  • 03.14.2014
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • Preliminary numbers show that the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment decreased 0.7 points to 79.9 in early March. The current economic conditions index rose slightly to 96.1 (from 95.4 in February). The survey noted that consumers expect annual income gains of 1.1 percent, the highest figure recorded since the November 2008 survey. The entire loss in the overall sentiment reading was due to decreases in the index of consumer expectations index, down to 69.4 in March from 72.7 in February. Explanations for the decrease range from weather, recent downturns in GDP growth, and simply a transitory dip. Finally, buying attitudes toward household durables increased from 148 to 149 in March’s preliminary results.

    As for inflation expectations in early March, consumers expect a year-ahead inflation rate of 3.2 percent and a longer-term (five- to ten-year) rate of 2.9 percent.

  • 03.13.2014
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales increased at a nonannualized rate of 0.3 percent in February. On a year-over-year basis, sales are up 1.5 percent. Year-over- year total sales were 1.5 percent in February, the series’ weakest growth since November 2009. Auto sales increased 0.3 percent and over the past 12 months, retails sales excluding autos are up 1.3 percent. Contributing to the monthly gains in total sales were sporting goods and hobbies (up 2.5 percent), nonstore retailers (up 1.2 percent), clothing and accessories, and building materials (both up 0.3 percent). Sectors that saw the largest declines in February were general merchandisers (down 0.3 percent), food and beverages (down 0.2 percent), and electronics and appliances (0.2 percent). A less-volatile indicator of sales growth, “core” retail sales (which excludes sales of autos, building supplies, and gas stations) increased 0.3 percent in February, while year-over-year core retail sales are up 2.3 percent.
  • 03.13.2014
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices increased by 0.9 percent in February after rising 0.4 percent on a monthly basis in January. A main driver of the increase was petroleum prices, which jumped up 4.4 percent in February. Nonpetroleum prices posted a 0.2 percent monthly gain while nonfuel import prices fell −0.2 percent. Surging natural gas prices (up 22.4 percent) contributed to the 0.4 percentage point spread between the nonpetroleum and nonfuel import prices. On a year-over-year basis, import prices fell −1.1 percent, marking the sixth consecutive month of yearly declines. Petroleum prices dropped by −2.6 percent on a yearly basis, after a revised drop of −3.0 in January. Nonpetroleum prices were down as well by −0.6 percent and marked twelve consecutive months of yearly declines. Increases in energy prices contributed to the uptick in February. Nonfuel import prices and yearly figures indicate an extension of the softness seen since the fourth quarter of 2013.

    Export prices rose 0.6 percent in February after increasing 0.2 percent in January. On a year-over-year basis, export prices fell −1.3 percent, marking seven months of consecutive declines.

  • 03.07.2014
  • International Trade
  • In January, the US trade deficit expanded slightly by $0.1 billion to −$39.1 billion after expanding by a revised 3.8 billion in December ($4.1 billion previously). January’s expansion was just above the consensus forecast of −$39.0 billion. January’s uptick was driven by a 0.6 percent increase in exports and a 0.6 percent increase in imports. January’s 0.6 percent increase in both imports and exports contributed to the slight uptick in the overall deficit. On a year over year basis, exports advanced 3.0 percent after increasing by a revised 1.4 percent in December and 5.1 percent in November. Imports increased by 1.2 percent in January on a year-over-year basis, preceded by 1.4 percent revised growth in December and a reduction of −0.8 percent in November. Overall growth in the trade deficit was largely flat in January, having a small potential impact on first quarter GDP.
  • 03.07.2014
  • The Employment Situation
  • In February, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 175,000 and the unemployment rate ticked up to 6.7 percent. On the household side of the report, both the labor force participation rate and the employment-to-population ratio were unchanged at 63.0 and 58.8 percent, respectively.

    On the establishment side of the report, revisions to figures from December and January combine for a total of 25,000 more jobs added than previously reported. Over the past 12 months, job growth has averaged 189,000 per month and 129,000 per month over the past three months. Sectors with the strongest gains were professional and business services (up 79,000), health and education (up 33,000), and leisure and hospitality (up 25,000). The largest employment decline was within the information sector, down 16,000, which was largely due to a drop in motion picture and sound recording. Retail trade employment fell by 4,000, led by declines in electronic, appliance, sporting goods and hobby stores. The effect of severe weather on overall employment was modest and was mostly seen within the 0.1 hour decline in the average workweek for all employees down to 34.2 hours. Meanwhile, average hourly earnings rose 9 cents to $24.31, and are up $0.52 or 2.2 percent over the past year.

  • 03.07.2014
  • Consumer Credit
  • In January, outstanding consumer credit increased at a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 5.3 percent, compared to the 6.2 percent increase in December. Revolving credit decreased 0.3 percent in January, compared to the 4.4 percent increase in December. Nonrevolving credit, which mainly reflects student and auto loans, increased 7.7 percent for the month, rising $13.9 billion after a revised increase of $12.8 billion in the previous month.
  • 03.06.2014
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods fell at a nonannualized rate of 0.7 percent in January, following a decrease of 2.0 percent in December. Orders for nondurable goods fell 0.4 percent, while orders for durable goods fell 1.0 percent. Since January of 2013, orders for manufactured goods have increased 1.2 percent. After excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.2 percent in January. New orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft grew 1.5 percent in January, following a decline of 1.6 percent in December and a 3.0 percent increase in November. On a year-over-year basis, orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft have decreased 1.7 percent.

    Shipments of manufactured goods declined 0.3 percent in January. Unfilled orders were unchanged and inventories decreased 0.3 percent for the month. The unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio remained at 6.5, and the inventory-to-shipment ratio remained at 1.3, roughly where it has been since late 2009.

  • 03.06.2014
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Based on the revised estimate, nonfarm business sector productivity—real output per hour of all persons—increased at an annualized rate of 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, which was revised down from a previous estimate of 3.2 percent. This follows increases of 1.8 percent and 3.5 percent in the second and third quarters, respectively. On a year-over-year basis, productivity has increased 1.3 percent.

    Both hours and output increased in the fourth quarter. Hours increased 1.6 percent and are up 1.7 percent over the past four quarters, while real output increased 3.4 percent and is up 2.9 percent since the fourth quarter of 2012. Real hourly compensation, which is measured as compensation per hour after controlling for price changes, was revised up from a 0.6 percent increase to a 0.8 percent increase for the quarter, but over the past year, hourly compensation is down 0.9 percent. Unit labor costs, which are the ratio of hourly compensation to hourly output, declined just 0.1 percent in the fourth (compared with a previously estimated decline of 1.6 percent), and are down 0.9 percent since the end of 2012.

  • 03.03.2014
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The Purchasing Managers’Index (PMI) rose 1.9 percentage points to 53.2 in February, which indicates a general expansion in the manufacturing sector as the index is above the growth threshold of 50. The index has slipped below 50 only twice since July 2009. Three of the five components of the PMI increased since January. Furthermore, four of the five components were above the growth threshold of 50. The production index posted a sharp monthly decline, falling 6.6 percentage points to 48.2. New orders increased 3.3 percentage points to 54.5. The inventory index reversed three consecutive monthly declines rising to 52.5 from 44.0 in January. Supplier deliveries increased 4.2 percentage points to 58.5 percent. The employment index was unchanged at 52.3. The ISM Prices Index fell 0.5 percentage points to 60.0 percent. Prices have decreased by 1.5 percentage points since February 2013’s high of 61.5 percent.
  • 03.03.2014
  • Construction Spending
  • Private construction spending rose in January to $670.8 billion, 0.5 percent above the upwardly revised December estimate of $667.5 billion. January’s results are 12.3 percent higher on a year-over-year basis. Residential construction spending rose 1.1 percent over the month to $359.9 billion. New single-family construction led the monthly increase (rising 2.3 percent) and is up 21.0 percent since last January. New multi-family construction spending grew 1.0 percent in January and is up 28.0 percent year-over-year. Private nonresidential construction spending was at $310.9 billion, 0.2 percent below the revised December estimate of $311.5 billion. Eight of the eleven nonresidential construction sectors saw month-to-month declines in spending with the power sector posting the largest monthly decline of 5.0 percent. The communication sector registered the largest monthly increase of 18.2 percent.
  • 03.03.2014
  • PCE Price Indexes
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index increased at an annualized rate of 1.2 percent in January, following a 2.0 percent increase in December. Over the past twelve months, the PCE price index increased 1.2 percent. The core PCE price index, which excludes the volatile food and energy components, increased 1.1 percent in January, following increases of 1.4 percent in November and 1.0 percent in December. On a year-over-year basis, the core PCE price index has increased 1.1 percent, as the 12-month changes in this index have mostly remained in a relatively narrow window between 1.1 and 1.2 percent since April of 2013. The market-based core PCE price index, which also excludes most imputed prices, increased 0.7 percent in January, following increases of 1.2 percent in November and 0.6 percent in December. Since January of 2013, this index has increased 1.0 percent.
  • 03.03.2014
  • Personal Income and Consumption
  • Nominal personal income increased at a nonannualized rate of 0.3 percent in January. This comes after a slight decline (less than 0.1 percent) in December, and over the past twelve months, nominal personal income has increased 4.1 percent. Disposable personal income (DPI)—personal income less current personal taxes— increased 0.4 percent in January and is up 4.0 percent since last year. After controlling for price changes, real disposable personal income increased 0.3 percent, following a 0.1 percent increase in November and a 0.2 percent decline in December. Since January of 2013, real DPI has increased 2.8 percent.

    Real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.3 percent in January following a 0.1 percent decline in the prior month. Over the past twelve months, consumption is up 2.2 percent. The increase in January was entirely driven by services consumption, as a 0.8 percent increase in the consumption of services offset a 0.6 percent decline in the consumption of goods. The decrease in goods consumption was the result of a decline in the consumption of both durable and nondurable goods. Durable goods consumption fell 0.2 percent and nondurable goods consumption was down 0.7 percent for the month. On a year-over-year basis, goods consumption is up 2.5 percent, while services consumption is up 2.1 percent. The similar increase in income and consumption in January kept the personal savings rate steady at 4.3 percent.