Data Updates

Data Updates

May 2008

  • 05.30.2008
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income increased 2.0 percent (annualized rate) in April, following a revised 4.6 percent increase in March. Disposable personal income rose 2.7 percent, its lowest growth rate in a year. Nominal personal consumption advanced 2.6 percent during the month. However, after adjusting for prices, real personal consumption was slightly negative, falling 0.2 percent in April. Over the past 12 months, real personal consumption has increased 1.6 percent.
  • 05.30.2008
  • PCE Price Index
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) price index increased 2.8 percent in April, following a 3.7 percent increase in March. The PCE was pushed up by an 11.4 percent jump in food prices, their largest increase since January of 1990. Fuel and other energy goods actually fell 17.4 percent in April after seasonal adjustment. Over the past 12 months, the PCE has increased 3.2 percent. The PCE excluding food and energy prices (core PCE) rose just 1.7 percent during the month and 2.1 percent over the past 12 months.
  • 05.30.2008
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment was revised up to 59.8, according to the final May report. The revision represents a slight increase over the preliminary estimate’s 59.5. Since January 2008 the index has fallen 18.6 points. The slight upward adjustment was due to a correction to the current conditions component (from 71.7 to 73.3), which was partially offset by a downward revision to expectations (from 51.7 to 51.1). Long-run (5-10 year) average inflation expectations were revised up from 3.8 percent to 4.0 percent in May, an increase of 0.5 percentage point over April. Expectations for one year ahead remained at 7.0 percent, up 1.3 percentage points from April.
  • 05.29.2008
  • First Quarter Preliminary Real GDP
  • First-quarter real (inflation-adjusted) GDP was revised up to 0.9 percent (annualized rate) from 0.6 percent, according to the preliminary estimate by the BEA. The revision was primarily due to upward adjustments to nondurable consumer spending, nonresidential fixed investment, and net exports. Nondurable consumer spending was revised up from −1.3 percent to −0.3 percent. Nonresidential investment in structures was adjusted up from −6.2 percent to 1.1 percent. While export growth was revised down from 5.5 percent to 2.8 percent in the first quarter, import growth fell further, from of 2.5 percent to −2.6 percent. All of these upward adjustments added 0.9 percentage point to real GDP growth. However, they were tempered by a downward revision to private inventories—from an accumulation of $20.1 billion to just $3.9 billion—which subtracted 0.6 percentage point from growth.
  • 05.28.2008
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods fell 0.5 percent (nonannualized) in April, following a 0.3 percent decrease in March, and are now down 3.4 percent over the past 12 months. On the other hand, new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft jumped up 4.2 percent in April, pushing their 12-month growth rate to 2.4 percent. Shipments of durable goods rebounded during the last month, rising 1.2 percent after two consecutive monthly declines. Inventories expanded 0.5 percent in April and are up 5.0 percent over the past 12 months.
  • 05.27.2008
  • S&P/Case-Shiller Housing Price Index
  • The S&P/Case-Shiller Housing Price Index fell a record 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2008, bringing the four-quarter growth rate down to −14.1 percent, also a record. The four-quarter growth rate has fallen significantly in each of the last 10 quarters and has been negative for five consecutive quarters.
  • 05.27.2008
  • New Single-Family Home Sales
  • New single-family home sales increased 3.3 percent in April after falling a downwardly revised 11.0 percent in March. The annualized level of sales—while up from March’s revised level—was actually unchanged from March’s original estimate. On a year-over-year basis, sales hit a new cyclical low of 42.0 percent below last April’s level. The inventory of new single-family homes for sale relative to the current sales pace fell from its recent high of 11.1 months to a still-elevated 10.6 months. In terms of actual homes for sale, inventories fell for the twelfth consecutive month but still remain higher than at any time prior to 2005. The median sales price of new single-family homes sold in April was up 1.5 percent from a year ago, and in March the median sales price was down 14.1 percent from a year ago.
  • 05.23.2008
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Existing single-family home sales fell 0.5 percent in April after a 2.5 percent decline in March. While existing single-family home sales are still down 16.1 percent from a year ago and 31.5 percent from their peak, the pace of decline has slowed in recent months. The three-, six-, and nine-month growth rates are all up from recent lows. Inventories of existing single-family homes for sale increased substantially in April in terms of both numbers of units and months of supply. Inventory levels by both measures are now at their highest levels since the housing downturn began. The median sales price of existing single-family homes sold in April was down 8.5 percent from a year ago.
  • 05.22.2008
  • OFHEO Housing Price Index
  • The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) purchase-only index of home prices declined 1.7 percent in the first quarter, after a 1.4 percent decline in the fourth quarter of 2007. According to the purchase-only index, which does not include price data from refinancing transactions, home prices are now down a record 3.1 percent from a year ago. The OFHEO total house-price index, which includes purchase price data as well as data from refinancings, was virtually unchanged from a year ago, the worst-ever year-over-year performance in that index as well.
  • 05.20.2008
  • PPI
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) increased 2.1 percent (annualized rate) in April, following a 13.9 percent spike in March. The PPI was tempered by a 2.0 percent decrease in energy prices, as the PPI for finished goods excluding food and energy rose 5.2 percent. It seems that the same seasonal factors that underestimated gasoline and fuel prices in the CPI are also affecting the PPI, as unadjusted energy prices jumped up 40.5 percent. The 12-month growth rate in the core PPI for finished goods rose 3.0 percent in April to its largest growth rate since December 1991. Further back on the production line, both intermediate and core goods production is showing price pressure. Core intermediate goods prices increased 16.1 percent during the month, while prices of core crude goods—a more volatile series—spiked 157.1 percent.
  • 05.16.2008
  • Housing Starts
  • Single–family housing starts fell 1.7 percent in April to their lowest level since 1991. However, it was the smallest decline in single–family housing starts since June 2007. Also on the positive side, permits for single–family homes rose in April for only the fourth time since the series began its long descent in October 2005. April?s 4.0 percent increase in permits was by far the largest of those gains, although it still leaves the level of permits issued at levels last regularly seen in 1990.
  • 05.16.2008
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan?s Index of Consumer Sentiment fell to 59.5 in May, below 60.0 for the first time since June 1980. The current economic conditions component decreased 5.3 points to 71.7 and the expectations component fell from 53.3 to 51.7 . The details of the survey revealed that half of all families surveyed reported weaker finances due to increasing food and fuel prices, and 90 percent of the consumers surveyed thought the economy was in a recession. Average one–year–ahead inflation expectations jumped up to 7.0 percent in May from 5.7 percent in April. Also, the five–to–ten year–ahead inflation expectations ticked up 0.3 percentage point to 3.8 percent.
  • 05.15.2008
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production fell 8.3 percent (annualized rate) in April, following a 2.2 percent gain in March, and is now up only 0.2 percent on a year-over-year basis. Manufacturing production decreased 9.4 percent, although half of the downturn was due to a 64.4 percent drop in motor vehicle and parts production that, according to the release, was held down by strikes and strike-related parts shortages. Industrial production excluding motor vehicles and parts decreased 4.1 percent in April. The output of other industry groups was mixed, as mining production fell 9.7 percent and utilities output increased 3.5 percent during the month. Capacity utilization declined 0.7 percentage point to 79.7 percent, its first dip under 80 percent since October 2005.
  • 05.14.2008
  • CPI
  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose at an annualized rate of 2.5 percent in April, following a 4.2 percent increase in March. The CPI was pushed up by an 11.9 percent jump in food prices, which was tempered by curious decreases in energy prices and lodging away from home. Gasoline prices fell 21.4 percent (annualized rate) after seasonal adjustment, compared to the nonseasonally adjusted increase of 91.7 percent. The seasonal factors for gasoline were rather large in April, as the Easter holiday that usually falls in April actually occurred in March. Another component related to holiday travel-lodging away from home-exhibited a similar trend in its seasonal behavior as well, and fell 20.1 percent in April. The CPI excluding food and energy (core CPI) increased only 1.3 percent during the month. The median and 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI measures, which are less vulnerable to large, transitory price swings, rose 2.9 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively, in April. Over the past 12 months, the median CPI has increased 3.1 percent, while the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI has risen 2.8 percent.
  • 05.13.2008
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales fell 2.2 percent (annualized rate) in April, erasing most of March’s 2.4 gain. The decrease was largely due to a 30.9 percent drop in auto sales, as retail sales excluding motor vehicles and parts rose 4.8 percent. Sales at gasoline stations fell 5.1 percent during the month, but are still up 16.4 percent over the past 12 months. Sales at electronics and appliance stores increased 18.6 percent in April, pushing their 12-month growth rate up to 4.0 percent from 2.4 percent last month.
  • 05.13.2008
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices continued to surge ahead in April, rising 23.9 percent (annualized rate), following an upwardly revised 40.9 percent jump in March. Over the past three months, import prices are up 21.3 percent. While it comes as no surprise that petroleum import prices are continuing to soar—up 66.9 percent in April and 187.9 percent in March—nonpetroleum imports rose 13.7 percent, a month after posting their largest increase on record (13.9 percent). Nonpetroleum import prices have shot up 6.2 percent over the past 12 months. Export prices increased 4.0 percent in April, following double-digit monthly gains over the past three months, and are up 7.7 percent over April of last year.
  • 05.09.2008
  • International Trade
  • The nominal trade deficit decreased $3.5 billion in March to a deficit of $58.2 billion. Export growth fell 1.7 percent in March, following a 1.8 percent increase in February. Despite the oil price increases in March, imports decreased 2.9 percent in March, pulling their 12-month growth rate down to 7.9 percent from 16.0 percent in February. The improvement to the trade balance in March, combined with a slight revision to February’s trade balance—from -$62.3 billion to -$61.7 billion—implies a small upward revision to first-quarter GDP.
  • 05.07.2008
  • Productivity and Costs (1Q preliminary)
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity (output per hour of all persons) rose at an annualized rate of 2.2 percent in the first quarter, higher than expected, but due more to a decline in hours worked than an increase in output. Hours worked fell 1.8 percent (annualized rate), while output in the nonfarm business sector only increased 0.4 percent (annualized rate) during the quarter. Compensation per hour increased 4.4 percent in the first quarter. However, after adjusting for price effects, compensation per hour was virtually flat, rising only 0.1 percent at an annualized rate. On a year-over-year basis, real compensation has decreased 0.7 percent. Unit labor costs, a measure some use to detect the onset of inflationary pressures, increased 2.2 percent, down from last quarter’s 2.8 percent increase. Over the past 4 four quarters, unit labor costs are up only 0.2 percent.
  • 05.02.2008
  • Employment Report
  • Nonfarm payrolls fell by 20,000 in April, following a loss of 81,000 in March and a loss of 83,000 in February. Since the beginning of the year, nonfarm payrolls have trimmed 260,000 jobs. Employment in goods-producing industries, which has decreased in each of the past 13 months, fell by 110,000 workers in April. Manufacturing payrolls lost 46,000 jobs, 43,000 from durable goods industries. There were also broad-based losses in construction employment, which fell by 61,000. The service sector added 90,000 workers, mostly in health care and food services. In contrast, 26,800 jobs were lost in retail trade—with nearly half coming from building material and supply stores—bringing the year-to-date loss to 105,100 workers. Payrolls in the financial sector gained 3,000, which may come as somewhat of a surprise to those who were expecting fallout from the ongoing financial stress.
  • 05.02.2008
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.4 percent (nonannualized rate) in March, following a 0.9 percent decrease in February. The 12-month growth rate in new orders fell to 3.7 percent in March from 6.5 percent in February, but this had more to due with a rather sizeable (4.1 percent) jump in orders last March. New orders for durable goods excluding aircraft decreased for the third consecutive month, falling 1.0 percent in March. Shipments for all manufacturing industries rose 1.1 percent during the month and are up 4.7 percent over the lpast 12-months. Inventories continued to expand in March, rising 0.9 percent, pushing their 12-month growth rate to 6.5 percent, the highest since November 2006.
  • 05.01.2008
  • Personal Consumption Expenditures
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) price index, pushed up by a 26.8 percent jump in gasoline and energy goods, rose 3.7 percent (annualized rate) in March, following a revised increase of 1.7 percent in February. Over the past 12 months, the PCE index has risen 3.2 percent. The PCE price index excluding food and energy (core PCE) increased 2.0 percent during the month, and 2.1 percent over the past 12 months. Because apparel components for the PCE are taken directly from the CPI, the extreme downward swing in clothing prices—a decline of 17.2 percent—affected the Core PCE as well.
  • 05.01.2008
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income rose 4.0 percent (annualized rate) in March, following a revised 6.0 percent increase in February. Nominal disposable personal income rose 3.4 percent in during the month, after three consecutive increases above 5.0 percent.After accounting for inflation, however, real disposable personal income was virtually flat, falling 0.2 percent. Real (inflation-adjusted) personal consumption expenditures reversed course in March, rising 1.6 percent, after posting a decrease of 0.4 percent in February. Spending on durable goods continued to fall, however, dropping 5.4 percent in March, its fifth decrease in the past six months.
  • 05.01.2008
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM manufacturing index remained unchanged from last month at 48.6, its third straight month below 50, which—according to the ISM—would indicate that the manufacturing economy is contracting. The new orders, production, and supplier deliveries components were little changed during the month. However, the employment component fell 3.8 points to 45.2, and the inventories index jumped up 3.2 points to 48.1. The prices index continued to increase from a recent low of 59.0 in September 2007, rising 1.0 point in April to 84.5.
  • 05.01.2008
  • Construction Spending
  • Total private construction spending fell 1.7 percent in March, as a 4.6 percent decline in private residential construction was partially offset by a 1.9 percent increase on the nonresidential side. The decline on the residential side was the largest monthly decline since 1981. However, total private construction activity in January and February was revised up a combined 1.4 percent, while the residential and nonresidential sides were revised up 1.6 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.