Data Updates

Data Updates

April 2013

  • 04.30.2013
  • Employment Cost Index
  • Employer costs of compensation for civilian workers rose 0.3 percent (nonannualized) in the first quarter, following a 0.4 percent increase in the fourth quarter. The wages and salary component increased 0.5 percent, slightly above the fourth quarter’s 0.3 percent advance. The benefits component saw growth slow from 0.6 percent to 0.1 percent in the current quarter. Year-over-year, civilian compensation advanced 1.7 percent in the first quarter, slightly below its average (1.9 percent) since the recession ended. Civilian wages and salaries increased 1.7 percent over the past twelve months; wage and salary growth has ranged from 1.5 to 1.7 percent over the last 15 quarters. Growth in civilian benefits has slowed markedly from 3.7 percent in 2011 to increasing 1.9 percent in the first quarter. On a year-over-year basis, private compensation growth is 1.7 percent while private wages and salaries increased 1.7 percent and benefits grew just 1.5 percent. Inflationary impetus from the labor market continues to be minimal as compensation growth has averaged 1.9 percent for the since the recession ended.
  • 04.30.2013
  • Home Price Indexes
  • In February, the S&P Case-Shiller housing price indexes rose 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively for the 10- and 20-city composites. Cities like Atlanta and Phoenix, which are still recovering from a wave of recent foreclosures, showed strong double-digit annual gains, as well as Tampa and San Diego which posted their first ever double-digit annual gains. Annually, the 10-city composite was up by 8.6 percent and the 20-city composite was up by 9.3 percent. All 20 cities have posted annual improvements over the last two months and the February report marks the largest annual increase for both composites since May 2006. Overall, the home prices appear to be improving and are now back to fall of 2003 levels.

    The FHFA housing price index rose 0.7 percent from January to February and is up 7.1 percent over the past 12 months. Regionally, all areas made moderate monthly gains except for the Mid-Atlantic, which fell 0.6 percent, and also posted the smallest annual growth rate which ranged from increases of 1.9 percent to a 15.3 percent in the Pacific. The index has now improved to being 13.6 percent below its April 2007 peak and is back to late 2004 price levels.

  • 04.29.2013
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income increased at a nonannualized rate of 0.2 percent in March, following a 1.1 percent increase in February, and a 3.6 percent decline in January. The large decline in January was primarily due to changes in taxes and pay being pulled forward into the end of 2012. On a year-over-year basis, nominal personal income has increased 2.5 percent. Disposable personal income (nominal personal income less current taxes) increased 0.2 percent in March as well, and has increased 2.1 percent since March of last year. After controlling for price changes, real disposable personal income increased 0.3 percent for the month. This follows changes of −4.1 percent and 0.7 percent in January and February, respectively, and over the past twelve months, real DPI has increased 1.1 percent. Real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.3 percent, following increases of 0.2 and 0.3 percent in the prior two months. Consumption has gained some positive momentum recently, as it has increased each of the last five months. The year-over-year increase of 2.2 percent is the largest 12-month improvement in consumption since October of 2011. The increase in March was driven entirely by services consumption, which increased 0.6 percent. Goods consumption declined 0.3 percent, with durable good goods consumption remaining basically flat and nondurable goods consumption declining 0.4 percent. On a year-over-year basis, goods consumption has increased 2.5 percent and services consumption has increased 2.0 percent. The personal savings rate held steady at 2.7 percent.
  • 04.29.2013
  • PCE Price Index
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index fell at an annualized rate of 1.6 percent in March, following a 4.9 percent increase in February. The headline index has increased 1.0 percent since March of last year. The year-over-year changes in the headline PCE price index have been trending lower over the past few months, as 12-month percent changes averaged 1.2 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with averages of 1.5 and 1.6 percent in the third and fourth quarters of 2012, respectively. A 28.1 percent decline in the volatile price of energy goods and services pushed the headline index into negative territory. Excluding food and energy prices, “core” PCE prices increased 0.4 percent in March, following increases of 0.8 percent in February and 2.2 percent in January. Since March of 2012, the “core” PCE price index has increased 1.1 percent, which is the lowest year-over-year increase since March of 2011. The market-based “core” PCE price index, which also excludes most imputed prices, increased 0.7 percent in March following an increase of 1.3 percent in February, and has increased 1.3 percent over the last twelve months.
  • 04.26.2013
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • Final numbers show that The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment has risen to 76.4 from the preliminary number, 72.3, posted earlier in April. Both of the components, Current Economic Conditions and the Index of Consumer Expectations, contributed to the intramonth gain.

    As for inflation expectations, consumers now expect a year-ahead inflation rate of 3.1 percent and a longer-term (five- to ten-year) rate of 2.9 percent. Both of these numbers have risen by 0.1 percentage point during the month.

  • 04.26.2013
  • GDP
  • Real GDP grew in the first quarter at a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 2.5 percent, according to the advanced estimate. This is up from 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter, but below consensus expectations which were primarily around 3.0 percent. On a year-over-year basis, the growth rate for real GDP improved slightly to 1.8 percent.

    Primarily driving GDP growth in the first quarter were increases in real personal consumption expenditures and private inventories. Personal consumption expenditures increased 3.2 percent during the quarter, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, and contributed 2.2 percentage points to overall growth during the first three months of the year. Changes in inventories contributed 1.0 percentage point to GDP growth this quarter, compared with a contribution of −1.5 percentage points to GDP growth in the previous quarter. Fixed investment continued to contribute positively to GDP, adding 0.5 percentage points to GDP during the quarter. This makes seven consecutive quarters of positive contributions from this category.

    Offsetting those gains were decreases in net exports and government spending, which contributed −0.5 percent and −0.8 percent to the change in overall GDP, respectively. Real imports of goods and services increased 5.4 percent while exports increased 2.9 percent, leading to an overall decline in net exports. Government spending decreased −4.1 percent in the first quarter, following a −7.0 percent decline in the last quarter. Most of the change in government spending is coming at the national level, as federal government spending declined −14.8 in the final quarter of last year and −8.4 percent in the first quarter of this year.

  • 04.24.2013
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods fell 5.7 percent in March. Over the past year, new orders are up 0.5 percent. Much of the decline in the headline number was due to a large decline in transportation equipment (down 15.0 percent in March). Excluding transportation equipment, new orders decreased 1.4 percent in March, following a decline of 1.7 percent and gain of 3.0 percent in February and January, respectively. Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, which is used to evaluate the near-term outlook in equipment and software investment, fell 0.2 percent in March. Shipments of durable goods, which are up 4.1 percent over the past year, rose 0.4 percent in March. Perhaps more encouraging is that shipments of nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, which map directly into GDP, rose 0.3 percent in March. This increase followed a gain of 1.2 percent in February. On a year-over-year basis, shipments of nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft are up 1.2 percent.
  • 04.23.2013
  • New Home Sales
  • The sale of new single-family homes rose 1.5 percent in March and has advanced 18.5 percent since last March to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 417,000 units sold. The Western region posted the largest monthly decline in new homes sales, falling 20.9 percent, while also posting the largest annual increase of 37.5 percent. The median sales price of new single family homes fell 6.8 percent for the month, but rose 3.0 percent annually to $247,000. The inventory of new homes for sale rose 5.5 percent annually to 153,000 units for sale which represents a 4.4 month supply at the current sales pace.
  • 04.22.2013
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Existing single-family home sales slipped 0.2 percent in March to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 4.3 million units sold, representing a 9.1 percent improvement over the past 12 months. Regionally, all areas made strong to moderate annual gains while the monthly pace of sales ranged from a 2.8 percent decline in the West to a 1.9 percent increase in the Midwest. The median sales price of existing single-family homes rose 6.7 percent over the month and 12.1 percent annually to $185,100, which is the highest level since August. The inventory and monthly supply of existing single-family homes made slight improvements for the month—up 2.4 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively—but continue to post sharp annual declines, down 16.3 percent and 23.0 percent.
  • 04.16.2013
  • CPI
  • After rising sharply in February, the CPI fell 2.2 percent on an annualized basis in March. As in February, energy price changes contributed prominently to the change in the overall index. The energy index fell 27.5 percent in March, leading, in part, to the decline in the CPI and reversing its increase of nearly 90 percent in February. Two prominent energy components, motor fuel and fuel oil, which saw the largest price changes among our 45 components in February, experienced double-digit price declines in March.

    Excluding energy, the CPI rose 1.1 percent in March. Excluding both food and energy, the CPI rose 1.3 percent. These readings were in line with those from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s (FRBC) measures. The Median CPI rose 1.1 percent in March, while the 16 percent trimmed-mean rose 0.7 percent. Notably, the apparent acceleration in the FRBC-based measures since December stopped in March. On a year-over-year basis, the FRBC measures and core CPI remain relatively stable and close to 2 percent, with the median CPI at 2.1 percent, the trimmed-mean at 1.7 percent, and the core CPI at 1.9 percent.

    While energy price changes have been an important part of the story in recent months, more subtle shifts have also taken place. In January, nearly half of the items in the CPI’s market basket (weighted by expenditures) experienced price changes in the range of 1 percent to 3 percent, with nearly equal proportions—about 25 percent—above and below this band. In February, however, more items in the market basket shifted toward the right tail of the distribution, with almost 45 percent of the CPI seeing price changes at or above 3 percent during the month. This reversed in March, with about 40 percent of the market basket experiencing price changes of less than 1 percent. Which is more indicative of the underlying price trend remains to be seen.

  • 04.16.2013
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production increased 0.4 percent (nonannualized) in March, following an increase of 1.1 percent in February. The near-term trend (three-month annualized percent change) has remained stable at roughly 5.0 percent over the past five months. On a year-over-year basis, overall production is up 3.5 percent. Manufacturing production edged down 0.1 percent for the month while the year-over-year growth rate rests at 2.5 percent. Breaking down the manufacturing sector durable goods fell 0.2 percent while nondurable goods production was unchanged in March. Within durable goods manufacturing, motor vehicles and parts were one of the only areas to show gains in March, increasing 2.9 percent. Overall capacity utilization rose 0.2 percentage points to 78.5 percent of capacity, which is now 1.7 percentage points below its long run average.
  • 04.16.2013
  • Housing Starts
  • The groundbreaking of single-family homes fell 4.8 percent in March to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 619,000 units started, but are up 28.7 percent compared to this time last year. Regionally, the Northeast experienced the sharpest declines, down 32.8 percent for the month, and 4.4 percent since March 2012. The authorization of single-family home construction dipped 0.5 percent in March to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 595,000 units, which is an increase of 27.7 percent over the past 12 months. The completion of new single-family home construction rose to 2.6 percent for the month and 34.8 percent annually to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 593,000 units at the current pace. Overall single-family housing construction appears to be on the upswing and is back to mid-2008 levels.
  • 04.12.2013
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales decreased at a nonannualized rate of 0.4 percent in March and year-over-year retail sales are up 2.8 percent. Auto sales decrease 0.5 percent in March, following an increase in February of 1.3 percent. Excluding autos, retail sales decreased 0.4 percent, over the past 12 months. Retail sales excluding autos are up 2.0 percent. Declines were widespread across segments: gasoline stations (down 2.2 percent), electronics and appliance stores (down 1.6 percent), and general merchandise stores (down 1.2 percent). Gains were seen in furniture stores (up 0.9 percent), restaurants (up 0.8 percent) and non-store retailers (up 0.3 percent). A less volatile indicator of sales growth, “core” retail sales (which excludes sales of autos, building supplies, and gas stations) decreased 0.3 percent in March, and are up 2.1 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • 04.12.2013
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) fell at an annualized rate of 6.5 percent in March, following increases in February and January. On a year-over-year basis the PPI is still up 1.1 percent. Producer prices for finished consumer foods in March rose 9.9 percent following a decrease of 6.3 percent in February. Energy prices on the other hand sharply decreased 34.1 percent. Year-over-year energy prices decreased 1.9 percent since last March. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, “core” PPI rose 2.0 percent during the month and is up 1.7 percent year-over-year. At earlier stages of production, core intermediate good prices rose 2.5 percent and core crude prices increased 11.8 percent.
  • 04.12.2013
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • Preliminary numbers show that The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment slipped to 72.3 in early April from a slightly upwardly revised 78.6 in March. According to the release, unlike in past economic cycles when consumers viewed lower or stagnating incomes as a temporary departure from more favorable long term trends, consumers are now more likely to anticipate lower permanent after-tax incomes. Two topics continue to dominate the news heard and recalled by consumers. The most common are developments in jobs, on which consumers reported slightly more job losses than job gains in early April. The other topic involved negative references to government economic policies. In fact, references to all branches of the government have been more negative for a longer time (five months) than ever recorded. Consumers’ assessments of their own financial situation slipped in early April. Reports of recent after-tax income gains fell to a nine month low as 40 percent of all consumers reported that they were worse off financially than a year ago. Moreover, just 22 percent of all consumers in early April expected their financial situation to improve in the year ahead, barely above the all-time low of 20 percent last recorded in 2011.

    As for inflation expectations in early April, consumers expected a year-ahead inflation rate of 3.0 percent and a longer-term (5- to 10-year) rate of 2.8 percent.

  • 04.11.2013
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices decreased −0.5 percent in March after rising 0.6 percent in February and 0.5 percent in January. March’s decline was in line with expectations of consensus forecasters. Falling petroleum prices (down −1.9 percent) and falling nonpetroleum prices (down −0.1 percent) were responsible for the decrease in the overall index. On a year-over-year basis, import prices fell −2.7 percent, extending February’s yearly loss of −0.9 percent. March marks the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year declines. Petroleum prices dropped −10.4 percent, marking double-digit declines for the first time since July 2012. Nonpetroleum prices fell −0.2 percent year-over-year, the first decline since October 2012. After relatively strong import price reports in January and February, March’s read shows weakness similar to November’s and December’s reports. While oil prices contributed strength to January and February’s reports, their drop in March was a large driver of the weakness. Import prices will likely remain weak in the months to come due to the soft global economy.

    Export prices fell −0.4 percent in March after rising 0.8 percent in February and 0.4 percent in January. On a year-over-year basis, export prices advanced 0.3 percent.

  • 04.05.2013
  • International Trade
  • In February, the U.S. trade deficit contracted by $1.5 billion to a level of $43.0 billion ($44.5 billion, previously). Consensus forecast had predicted a slight expansion to a level of $44.6 billion making February’s contraction unexpected. Imports remained flat at a level of $228.9 billion after increasing 1.8 percent last month. Exports advanced 0.9 percent to a level of $186.0 billion after falling 1.2 percent last month. On a year-over-year basis, imports increased 1.9 percent after falling −0.9 percent in January and −2.0 percent in December. Exports continued to post year-over-year gains, rising 3.2 percent in February. If exports continue to outpace imports, trade could positively impact GDP in the first quarter of 2013.
  • 04.05.2013
  • The Employment Situation
  • In March, the unemployment rate ticked down to 7.6 percent, and nonfarm payrolls increased by 88,000—both of which fell short of consensus forecasts. On the household side of the report, the labor force participation rate fell 0.2 percent to 63.3 percent, which is the lowest level in over three decades. Meanwhile, the employment-to-population ratio, at 58.5 percent, posted a modest decline of 0.1 percent. The total number of persons employed fell by roughly 200,000 or 0.14 percent for the month, but remains up 0.89 percent since last March.

    As for the establishment side of the report, positive revisions to January and February figures have added a total of 61,000 jobs to previous estimates. Over the past 12 months employment growth has averaged monthly gains of 159,000. Professional and business services as well as healthcare and education continued to post strong gains in line with annual and monthly trends. Construction posted an increase of 18,000 jobs, which were split evenly between residential and nonresidential. Manufacturing employment fell by 3,000. However, the sharpest declines were seen within the retail trade sector, which lost a total of 24,000 jobs after having averaged a gain of 32,000 jobs over the past six months. Government employment continues to trend downward, with postal services leading with declines of 12,000, while other areas were little changed.

    The average workweek for all employees increased 0.1 hour to 34.6 hours, which is the highest since last February. The manufacturing workweek fell 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, and factory overtime rose by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours. Average hourly earnings rose 1 cent to $23.82, and over the past year hourly earnings have increased 42 cents or 1.8 percent.

  • 04.02.2013
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased $14.5 billion, or 3.0 percent (nonannualized), in February, following a decrease of 1.0 percent in January. Year-over-year growth rates for new orders may have slowed from higher levels seen earlier in the recovery, yet they are trending in the right direction in recent months, having increased 2.7 percent from last February. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.3 percent for the month, while the durable and nondurable goods orders series rose 5.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders, considered a leading indicator of business investment spending, fell 3.2 percent for the month, pulling its 3-month annualized growth rate down to 10.1 percent from 42.8 percent in January. Shipments and unfilled orders of manufactured goods both increased by 0.9 percent for the month. The unfilledndash;orders-to-shipments ratio now rests at 6.28, roughly where it has been since late 2009 but still well above the pre-crisis average of 4.3. Inventories edged up for the third month in a row, increasing 0.2 percent; the inventory-to-shipments ratio edged down to 1.27, roughly where it has been since late 2009.
  • 04.01.2013
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Manufacturers Index (PMI) decreased 2.9 percentage points (pp) in March to 51.3 percent (from 54.2 percent in February) but is still the fourth consecutive month above the growth threshold of 50.0. The March PMI has also surpassed the 2012:Q4 average of 50.6 percent, but fell slightly below its 2012 average of 51.9 percent. The 2013:Q1 PMI average is 52.9, beating both the 2012 and 2012:Q4 average due to a strong January and February. Four of the five components that make up the PMI decreased in March. Specifically, new orders were down 6.4 pp to 51.4 percent, production was down 5.4 pp to 52.2 percent, supplier deliveries was down 2.0 pp to 49.4 percent, and inventories was down 2.0 pp to 49.5 percent. Employment, the fifth component of PMI, increased by 1.6 pp to 54.2 percent. Although four of the five components that make up the PMI decreased, three of them—new orders, production, and employment—were still above the growth threshold of 50 with just supplier deliveries and inventories coming in below. The rest of the report showed a somewhat strong position within the manufacturing sector with a notable change in prices decreasing 7.0 ppt. to 54.5 percent.
  • 04.01.2013
  • Construction Spending
  • Private construction spending rose to $613.0 billion in February, a 1.3 percent increase from the downwardly revised January estimate of $605.2 billion. February”s results are 12.6 percent higher on a year-over-year basis. Residential construction spending increased 2.2 percent over the month, to $303.4 billion. New multi-family construction spending fell 2.2 percent in February, but is still up 51.8 percent year-over-year. New single-family construction posted a monthly gain of 4.3 percent. Private nonresidential construction spending was at $309.6 billion, 0.4 percent above the revised January estimate of $308.3 billion. The communication sector fell 9.2 percent over the month, and the transportation sector posted its fourth straight month of declines, falling 2.4 percent since January.