Data Updates

Data Updates

April 2014

  • 04.30.2014
  • GDP
  • Real GDP increased at an annualized rate of just 0.1 percent in the first quarter of 2014 in the advance estimate, which was lower than most projections. An increase in consumption and a decline in imports contributed positively to the quarterly increase, while business fixed investment, residential investment, inventories, exports, and government spending all declined for the quarter. GDP has averaged quarterly increases of 2.1 percent since the beginning of 2013.

    Personal consumption expenditures increased 3.0 percent in Q1, and contributed 2 percentage points to GDP growth. Residential investment declined 5.7 percent in the first quarter, which marks the second consecutive quarterly decline. Business fixed investment also declined in the first quarter, falling 2.1 percent and contributing −0.3 percentage points to GDP. The decline in business fixed investment was entirely the result of a decline in the investment in equipment. Investment in structures and intellectual property increased 0.2 and 1.5 percent, respectively, while investment in equipment fell 5.5 percent. Additionally, inventory investment also fell in the first quarter, pulling down GDP growth by another 0.6 percentage points.

    Also weighing on GDP growth were a large decline in exports. Exports fell 7.6 percent in the first quarter, which pulled down GDP growth by 1.1 percentage points. Partially working against the decline in exports was a 1.4 percent decline in imports. The decrease in imports contributed 0.2 percentage points to GDP, resulting in net contribution from net exports of around −0.8 percentage points. Additionally, government spending fell 0.5 percent for the quarter, which was the result of an increase in federal government spending of 0.7 percent and a decline in state and local government spending of 1.3 percent. Overall, government spending contributed −0.1 percentage to GDP growth.

  • 04.30.2014
  • Employment Cost Index
  • Employer costs of compensation for civilian workers rose 0.3 percent (nonannualized) in the first quarter of 2014, following a 0.5 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2013. The wages and salary component increased 0.3 percent, slightly below the fourth quarter?s 0.5 percent advance. The benefits component rose 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter. Year-over-year, civilian compensation did not differ from the post-recession average growth of 1.9 percent. Civilian wages and salaries increased 1.6 percent over the past twelve months, while benefits rose 2.4 percent. Private compensation grew 0.7 percent from last quarter. Private wages and salaries increased 0.6 percent, while benefits grew 0.8 percent.
  • 04.29.2014
  • Home Price Indexes
  • In February the S&P/Case-Shiller 10- and 20-city housing price indexes were unchanged for the month, but rose 13.1 percent and 12.9 percent, respectively over the past 12 months. Thirteen of the 20 MSAs experienced price declines over the month. Cleveland led the declines, down 1.6 percent—the sharpest decline since January 2012, while San Diego showed the most improvement, up 1.0 percent. Annual growth rates cooled the most they have been for some time now and Dallas and Denver remain the only cities to reach new post-crisis peaks. Overall price are back to mid-2004 price levels.

    The FHFA housing price index rose 0.6 percent in February, representing the third consecutive month of growth and is up 6.9 percent since February 2013. Regionally, all areas showed positive growth on an annual basis while monthly growth rates ranged from a 2.5 percent decline in New England to a 1.7 percent increase in the South Atlantic. Overall, home prices are back to mid-2005 price levels.

  • 04.25.2014
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • Final numbers show that the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment increased to 84.1 from the preliminary number (82.6) posted earlier in April. This reading is the highest reading since July 2013. The Index of Consumer Expectations increased to 74.7 from the preliminary number of 73.3. The economic conditions index increased to 98.7 from the preliminary number of 97.1.

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

  • 04.24.2014
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods increased 2.6 percent in March, following an increase of 2.1 percent in February. Over the past year, new orders are up 3.6 percent. New orders for computers and electronics products lead the monthly increase, rising 5.7 percent in March. Excluding volatile transportation equipment orders, new orders were up 2.0 percent, following a slight increase of 0.1 percent in February. Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, which is used to evaluate the near-term outlook in equipment and software investment, rose 2.3 percent in March after falling 1.1 percent in February. Shipments of durable goods, which are up 3.6 percent over the past year, rose 1.1 percent in March. Shipments of nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, which map directly into GDP, rose 1.0 percent in March and are up 1.6 percent year-over-year.
  • 04.23.2014
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Existing single-family home sales growth was unchanged from February to March, holding at a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 4.04 million units sold. Regionally, monthly price changes ranged from a 4.3 percent decline in the West to an 8.9 percent in the Northeast. On a year-over-year basis, existing home sales slipped 7.3 percent compared to last March and are down throughout all regions. Meanwhile, the median price of existing single-family home sales was $198,200, showing an increase of 4.9 percent for the month and 7.4 percent annually. The available inventory of existing single-family homes for sale was 1.74 million units, representing a 5.2 month supply at the current sales pace.
  • 04.23.2014
  • New Home Sales
  • New single-family home sales fell sharply in March, down 14.5 percent for the month and 13.3 percent over the past 12 months to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 384,000 units sold. Regionally, all areas declined on an annual basis while monthly growth rates ranged from a 21.5 percent decline in the Midwest to a 12.5 percent increase in the Northeast. The median sales price of new single-family homes jumped 11.1 percent for the month and 12.7 percent annually. The inventory of available new single-family homes was 190,000 units, representing a 6.0 month supply at the current sales pace.
  • 04.16.2014
  • Housing Starts
  • The groundbreaking of new single-family homes rose 6.0 percent in March and 1.9 percent over the past 12 months to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 635,000 units started. On a regional basis, the Northeast showed the strongest monthly and annual improvements, up 38.5 percent and 20.0, respectively. Meanwhile, the South showed the most sluggish growth, down 1.7 percent over the month and no growth on an annual basis. The authorization of single-family housing permits rose 0.5 percent for the month, but declined 1.2 percent since last March to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 592,000 permits issued.
  • 04.16.2014
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production rose 0.7 percent in March and February’s increase was revised up to 1.2 percent. For the first quarter of 2014, industrial production rose at an annual rate of 4.4 percent. Manufacturing output rose 0.5 percent. Breaking down the manufacturing sector, both durable and nondurable goods output rose 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. Within the durable goods sector, wood products and nonmetallic mineral products recorded the largest gains of about 2.5 percent. The largest declines were for primary metals and motor vehicles and parts. Motor vehicles and parts production decreased 0.8 percent. Within the nondurable goods sector, apparel and leather goods, petroleum and coal products, and textile and product mills recorded increases of 2.5 percent or more. Mining production increased 1.5 percent and utility production increased 1 percent. The overall capacity utilization rate rose to 79.2 percent.
  • 04.15.2014
  • Consumer Price Index
  • The headline CPI index rose at an annualized rate of 2.4 percent from February to March after increasing 1.2 percent in February and 1.7 percent in January. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” CPI index advanced 2.5 percent after rising 1.4 percent last month. On a year-over-year basis, the headline CPI rose 1.5 percent, up from February’s 1.1 percent advance and closer in-line with January’s 1.6 percent and December’s 1.5 percent advances. The core CPI advanced 1.7 percent on a year-over-year basis, edging up from February’s 1.6 percent increase. The 16 percent trimmed-mean rose 2.4 percent and the median CPI advanced 2.6 percent in March. The trimmed-mean increased 1.7 percent on a year-over-year basis, a slight uptick from its 1.6 percent increase in February and January. The median CPI rose 2.1 percent on a year-over-year basis after advancing 2.0 percent for five of the past six months.
  • 04.14.2014
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales increased at a nonannualized rate of 1.1 percent in March. Year-over-year retail sales are up 3.8 percent, their strongest reading since November 2013. The strength in March is attributed to a substantial upward revision to February’s reading, up to 0.7 from 0.3 percent. Excluding autos, retail sales were up 0.7 percent and 2.6 percent year-over-year in March. Contributing to the monthly gains in total sales were motor vehicle and parts (up 3.1 percent), general merchandisers (up 1.9 percent), building materials (up 1.8 percent), and non-store retailers (up 1.7 percent). Sectors that saw the largest declines in March were electronics and appliances (down 1.6 percent) and gasoline stations (down 1.3 percent). A less volatile indicator of sales growth, “core” retail sales (which excludes sales of autos, building supplies, and gas stations) increased 1.0 percent in March, while year-over-year core retail sales are up 3.5 percent.
  • 04.11.2014
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) decreased at an annualized rate of 0.6 percent in March and on a year-over-year basis, PPI is up 1.7 percent. Producer prices for finished consumer foods increased at an annualized rate of 9.1 percent. Energy prices decreased at an annualized rate of 11.6 percent. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, “core” PPI is up 1.3 percent and “core” crude prices increased 5.9 percent.
  • 04.11.2014
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • Preliminary numbers show that the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment increased 2.6 points to 82.6 in early April. This is the highest reading since August 2013. Both the current economic conditions and consumer expectations indexes contributed to the increase in the overall numbers. The current economic conditions index rose slightly to 97.1 from 95.7 in March. The consumer expectations index increased to 73.3, up from 70.0. Finally, buying attitudes toward household durables decreased from 148 to 142 in April’s preliminary results.

    As for inflation expectations in early April, consumers expect a year-ahead inflation rate of 3.1 percent and a longer-term (five- to ten-years) rate of 3.0 percent.

  • 04.10.2014
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices increased by 0.6 percent in March, representing the fourth consecutive month of increases. Nonpetroleum prices increased by 0.6 percent in March, while petroleum prices ticked up 0.1 percent. On a year-over-year basis, import prices decreased −0.6 percent, marking the seventh consecutive month of declines. Petroleum prices fell by −2.4 percent on a yearly basis, after falling −2.6 percent in February. Nonpetroleum imports increased by 0.1 percent in March, which was the first year-over-year increase since February of 2013. Firmer nonpetroleum prices suggest a slight reversal of the softening in prices prevalent throughout the second half of 2013.

    Export prices increased by 0.8 percent in March, marking five months of consecutive increases. On a year-over-year basis, export prices increased 0.2 percent, making the first increase since June of 2013.

  • 04.08.2014
  • Consumer Credit
  • In February, outstanding consumer credit increased at a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 6.4 percent, compared to the 5.3 percent increase in January. Revolving credit decreased 3.3 percent in February after falling 0.3 percent in January. Nonrevolving credit, which mainly reflects student and auto loans, increased 10.5 percent for the month after rising 7.8 percent the month prior.
  • 04.04.2014
  • The Employment Situation
  • In March, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 192,000 and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent. On the household side of the report, both the labor force participation rate and the employment-to-population ratio showed modest improvement, ticking up to 63.2 percent and 58.9 percent, respectively. Over the past year, the number of unemployed persons has declined by 1.2 million.

    On the establishment side of the report, revisions to employment figures over the past two months have added a total of 37,000 more jobs than previously reported. Job growth over the past 12 months has averaged 183,000 per month and 178,000 per month over the past three months. Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend upward in March and have added 323,000 jobs over the past year. Other notable employment growth was seen within professional and business services, healthcare, and mining and logging. Sectors with the most sluggish growth were manufacturing, wholesale trade, financial activities, and government. The average workweek for all employees increased by 0.2 hour to 34.5 hours, while average hourly earnings for all employees fell by 1 cent to $24.30. Average hourly earnings for all employees have increased by $0.49 or 2.1 percent over the past year.

  • 04.03.2014
  • International Trade
  • In February, the US trade deficit expanded to $42.3 billion, up from a revised $39.3 billion in January. February’s increase was driven by a −1.1 percent decrease in exports. In addition, imports increased by 0.4 percent. While consensus forecasters predicted a widening of $38.5 billion, the decrease in exports and increase in imports lead to a larger-than-expected widening of the overall deficit. On a year over year basis, exports advanced 2.0 percent after increasing by a revised 3.0 percent in January and 1.4 percent in December. Imports increased by 1.1 percent in February on a year-over-year basis, preceded by 1.2 percent revised growth in January and 1.4 percent in December.
  • 04.02.2014
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased at a nonannualized rate of 1.6 percent in February, following a decrease of 1.0 percent in January. Orders for nondurable goods grew 1.0 percent, while orders for durable goods grew 2.2 percent. Since February of 2013, orders for manufactured goods have increased 0.1 percent. After excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.7 percent in February. New orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft fell 1.4 percent in February, following an increase of 0.8 percent in January and a 1.6 percent decrease in December. On a year-over-year basis, orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft are flat.

    Shipments of manufactured goods increased 0.9 percent in February. Unfilled orders increased 0.3 percent and inventories increased 0.8 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.

  • 04.01.2014
  • Construction Spending
  • Private construction spending rose to $680.0 billion in February, 0.1 percent above the upwardly revised January estimate of $679.1 billion. February’s results are 13.0 percent higher year-over-year. Residential construction spending fell 0.8 percent over the month, to $360.4 billion. New single-family construction fell 1.1 percent, but is still up 13.6 percent since last February. New multifamily construction spending grew 2.6 percent in February and is up 29.7 percent year-over-year. Private nonresidential construction spending was at $319.6 billion, 1.2 percent above the revised January estimate of $315.8 billion. Six of the eleven nonresidential construction sectors saw month-to-month declines in spending, with the religious sector posting the largest monthly decline of 6.9 percent. The communication sector registered the largest monthly increase of 6.4 percent.
  • 04.01.2014
  • PMI and ISM Manufacturing
  • The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose 0.5 percentage points to 53.7 in March, 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. Two of the five components of the PMI increased since February. Furthermore, all five components were above the growth threshold of 50. The production index posted a large monthly increase, rising 7.7 percentage points to 55.9. New orders increased 0.6 percentage points to 55.1. The inventory index was unchanged at 52.5. Supplier deliveries fell 4.5 percentage points to 54.0 percent. The employment index fell 1.2 percentage points to 51.1.

    The ISM prices index fell 1.0 percentage point to 59.0 percent. Prices have decreased by 2.5 percentage points since February 2013’s high of 61.5 percent.