Data Updates

Data Updates

May 2013

  • 05.31.2013
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income was essentially flat in April, declining less than 0.1 percent on a nonannualized basis. This follows two consecutive months of increases, including a 1.2 percent increase in February and a 0.3 percent increase in March. On a year-over-year basis, nominal personal income has increased 2.8 percent. Disposable personal income, which is nominal personal income less current personal taxes, declined 0.1 percent for the month, showing a slight increase in taxes (0.6 percent). Since last year, disposable personal income has increased 1.7 percent. After controlling for price changes, real disposable personal income increased 0.1 percent, following increases of 0.8 percent and 0.3 percent in February and March, respectively. Since April of 2012, real disposable personal income has increased 1.0 percent, as the year-over-year changes have gradually improved since January.

    Real personal consumption expenditures increased a little less than 0.1 percent during April, following increases of 0.4 percent in February and 0.2 percent in March. Changes in consumption have been positive each month since last November, but the slight increase in April is the smallest monthly improvement over that time period. Since last year, consumption has increased 2.1 percent. The increase in consumption during April came entirely from goods consumption, which increased 0.3 percent due to an increase in durable goods consumption of 0.7 percent and an increase in nondurable goods consumption of 0.2 percent. Services consumption was basically flat, declining less than 0.1 percent. On a year-over-year basis, goods consumption is up 3.2 percent, while services consumption has increased 1.5 percent. The modest changes in income and consumption were not enough to impact the personal savings rate, which remained at 2.5 percent.

  • 05.31.2013
  • PCE Price Index
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index fell at an annualized rate of 3.0 percent in April, which marks the second consecutive monthly decline in the index. Since April of last year, PCE prices have increased just 0.7 percent, as the year-over-year changes in the index have gradually declined since reaching 1.8 percent in October of 2012. For the second straight month, the decline in the price of energy goods and services, which is a volatile component of the price basket, was a major contributor to the monthly decline in PCE prices. The price index for energy goods and services fell 42.1 percent during April, and is down 4.2 percent since last year. The core PCE price index, which excludes food and energy prices, increased just 0.1 percent in April, following increases of 0.9 percent and 0.7 percent in February and March, respectively. On a year-over-year basis, core PCE prices have increased 1.1 percent. The 12-month percent changes in core PCE prices have gradually fallen since early last year, when the year-over-year change in core PCE prices reached 2.0 percent in March 2012. Since the beginning of 2013, however, 12-month percent changes have averaged just 1.2 percent. The market-based core PCE price index, which also excludes most imputed prices, decreased at an annualized rate of 1.0 percent, the first decline in this index since May of 2001. On a year-over-year basis, market-based core PCE prices have increased just 1.1 percent.
  • 05.31.2013
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • Revised numbers show that the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment rose in May to 84.5 (preliminarily 83.7) from 76.4 in April. This marks the highest reading since July 2007. While the overall May gain continued to be paced by upper income households, confidence among middle- and lower-income households also began to improve in late May. According to the release, the data clearly suggest a faster pace of growth in consumer spending during the year ahead than was anticipated even one month ago. To be sure, however, consumers still expressed concerns with their financial prospects, especially about their prospects for income gains in the year ahead as well as over the longer term. The only revision to inflation expectations changed the longer-term (five- to ten-year) rate from 2.8 percent to 2.9 percent.

  • 05.28.2013
  • Home Price Indexes
  • The S&P Case-Shiller national housing price index rose 1.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and 10.2 percent over the past four quarters. Both the 10- and 20-city indexes rose 1.4 percent in March and are up 10.3 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively on an annual basis. All 20 MSAs posted annuals gains for the third consecutive month and five posted their highest month-to-month gains in over seven years. Cleveland was among the cities with the weakest annual gains (up 4.8 percent), which is still substantial compared to recent trends. Overall home prices are continuing to climb and all three indexes are back to 2003 price levels.

    The FHFA housing price index rose 1.9 percent from Q4:2012 to Q1:2013 and 6.7 percent since Q1:2012, representing the seventh consecutive quarter of price growth. On a monthly basis the index rose by 1.3 percent in March and 7.2 percent over the past 12 months. Regionally all areas posted positive growth rates on a monthly and annual basis and overall prices are back to late 2004 levels.

  • 05.24.2013
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods rose 3.3 percent in April. Over the past year, new orders are up 2.4 percent. New orders for transportation equipment increased 8.1 percent following a decline of 14.7 percent in March. Excluding transportation equipment, new orders increased 1.4 percent in April, following declines of 1.7 percent and 0.2 percent in March and February, respectively. Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, which is used to evaluate the near-term outlook in equipment and software investment, increased 1.2 percent in April. Shipments of durable goods, which are up 2.5 percent over the past year, fell 0.6 percent in April. Perhaps more disconcerting is that shipments of nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, which map directly into GDP, fell 1.5 percent in April. This decrease followed a gain of 0.5 percent in March. On a year-over-year basis, shipments of non-defense cap goods ex aircraft are up 1.4 percent.
  • 05.22.2013
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Existing single-family home sales rose 1.2 percent in April and 9.0 percent over the past 12 months to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 4.38 million units sold. This represents the highest sales pace since November 2009. Regionally, all areas posted positive annual growth rates, while on a monthly basis existing single-family home sales ranged from a 2.8 decline in the Midwest to a 2.9 percent increase in the South and West. The median sales price of existing single-family homes rose to $193,300 which is the highest level since August 2008. The inventory and monthly supply of existing homes continue to post double-digit annual declines, down 11.9 percent and 18.5 percent, respectively. On a monthly basis, the inventory of homes for sale rose 13.6 percent in April to 1.92 million units and the monthly supply of homes rose 12.8 percent to a 5.3 months’ supply at the current sales pace.
  • 05.17.2013
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • Preliminary numbers show that The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment rose to 83.7 in early May, from 76.4 in April. According to the release, the early May rebound was primarily due to a surge in optimism among upper-income households. Among households with incomes in the top third of the distribution, the Sentiment Index jumped 20.6 index points to the highest level since July 2007, compared with a gain of 2.3 index points among the bottom two-thirds. Whereas upper-income households anticipated net declines in unemployment during the year ahead, households in the bottom two-thirds of the income distribution anticipated continued net increases. Consumers reported a more favorable assessment of their personal financial situations in early May than at any time since 2007, with the largest gains reported by households in the upper third of the income distribution. Finally, buying attitudes toward household durables improved to the highest levels since mid-2007, and vehicle buying attitudes were at the highest level since mid-2005.

    As for inflation expectations in early May, consumers expected a year-ahead inflation rate of 3.1 percent and a longer-term (five- to ten-year) rate of 2.8 percent.

  • 05.16.2013
  • Housing Starts
  • New single-family housing starts fell 2.1 percent in April, but are up 20.8 percent over the past year to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 610,000 units started. Regionally, all areas posted solid double-digit annual growth rates. On a monthly basis, housing starts ranged widely from a 48.8 percent increase in the Northeast to a 12.9 percent decline in the South. The authorization of single-family building permits, which is an indicator of future demand, rose 3.0 percent in April and 27.5 percent over the past 12 months to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 617,000 permits.
  • 05.15.2013
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods fell at an annualized rate of 7.7 percent in April, its second consecutive monthly decrease. On a year-over-year basis, the PPI is its April 2012 level. The greatest contributor to this decrease was a large drop in energy prices, decreasing by 3.2 percent. Producer prices for finished consumer foods in April decreased 0.8 percent from March. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, “core” PPI rose 1.8 percent year over year. At earlier stages of production, core intermediate good prices decreased 0.2 percent from April to March, and core crude prices less energy increased decreased 2.8 percent over the same period.
  • 05.15.2013
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production fell 0.6 percent (nonannualized) in April, following an increase of 0.3 percent in March. The near-term trend (three-month annualized percent change) has slowed to 2.5 percent from 4.6 in March. On a year-over-year basis, overall production is up 1.9 percent. Manufacturing production also declined, falling 0.4 percent for the month while the year-over-year growth rate rests at 1.4 percent, its lowest reading since early 2010. Breaking down the manufacturing sector, durable goods fell 0.7 percent while nondurable goods production was unchanged in April. Within durable goods manufacturing, computers and electronic products was the only area to show gains for the month, increasing 0.2 percent. Elsewhere within durable goods production, nonmetallic mineral products and motor vehicle and parts production declined 1.7 and 1.3 percent, respectively. Overall capacity utilization fell 0.5 percentage points to 77.8 percent of capacity, which is now 2.4 percentage points below its long-run average.
  • 05.14.2013
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices decreased 0.5 percent in April after falling 0.2 percent in March and rising 0.9 percent in February. Similar to March, April’s falling petroleum prices (down 1.9 percent) were largely responsible for the headline decline. Nonpetroleum prices ticked down 0.1 percent as. On a yearly basis, import prices fell −2.6 percent marking six consecutive months of year-over-year losses. Petroleum prices dropped 9.5 percent year-over-year after dropping a revised 8.4 percent in March (10.4 percent, previously). Nonpetroleum prices fell −0.2 percent on a yearly basis. April’s report shows weakness akin to March with oil prices driving the decline. Import prices will likely remain weak in the months to come due to the soft global economy.
  • 05.13.2013
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales rose at a nonannualized rate of 0.1 percent in April after falling in March and January. On a year-over-year basis, retail sales increased 3.7 percent. Auto sales increased 1.0 percent in April after decreasing −0.6 percent in March. Excluding autos, retail sales fell 0.1 percent on a monthly basis indicating that auto sales contributed to April’s uptick in overall retail sales. After posting widespread declines last month, segments in April were much more mixed. At −4.7 percent, gasoline stations continued to drag down headline retail sales. Building materials (up 1.5 percent), clothing and accessories (up 1.2 percent), and nonstore retailers (up 1.4 percent) were several sources of strength. A less volatile indicator of sales growth, “core” retail sales (which excludes sales of autos, building supplies, and gas stations) increased 0.5 percent in April after increasing 0.1 percent in March. On a yearly basis, core retails sales are up 3.7 percent.
  • 05.07.2013
  • Consumer Credit
  • In March, outstanding consumer credit increased at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 3.4 percent to $2,808 billion, adding an eighth month to a string of positive reports. This preliminary increase is slower than February?s upwardly revised increase of 8 percent, and leaves the year-over-year figure at 5.9 percent. Revolving credit fell by 2.4 percent, while nonrevolving credit, which mainly reflects student and auto loans, rose by 6 percent. During the first quarter, consumer credit increased at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.75 percent. Revolving credit was little changed, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 8 percent.
  • 05.03.2013
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods decreased 4.0 percent (nonannualized) in March, following an increase of 2.0 percent in February. Year-over-year growth rates for new orders have turned negative (−0.3 percent) for the first time since last August. Excluding transportation, new orders fell 2.0 percent for the month while the durable and nondurable goods orders series declined 5.9 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. Nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders, considered a leading indicator of business investment spending, increased 0.9 percent for the month pulling its three-month annualized growth rate up to 10.4 percent. Shipments and unfilled orders of manufactured goods declined 1.0 and 0.7 percent for the month. The unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio now rests at 6.20, roughly where it has been since late 2009 but still well above the pre-crisis average of 4.3. Inventories were little changed for the month; the inventory/shipments ratio edged up to 1.29, roughly where it has been since late 2009.
  • 05.03.2013
  • The Employment Situation
  • Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 165,000 and the unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent in April, both of which exceeded consensus forecast. On the household side of the report, the labor force participation rate was unchanged at 63.5 percent, but has declined 0.3 percent since January. The employment to population ratio dipped slightly in April to 58.6 percent and has shown little movement over the past year. Overall this was a positive report and the total number of people employed increased by nearly 300,000, showing improved traction within the labor market.

    As for the establishment side of the report, strong revisions to both February and March have added a total of 114,000 more jobs than previously estimated. Over the past 12 months employment growth has averaged a total of 169,000 jobs per month. Professional and business services continue to show solid improvement, adding 73,000 jobs, as well as retail trade, leisure and hospitality, up 43,000, and retail trade, up 29,000. Employment growth in manufacturing was flat and minor declines were reported in construction, down 6,000, and mining and logging, down 3,000. Government continues to lead employment declines, falling 11,000 for the month. The total private diffusion index fell 2.3 percentage points to 53.9, but remains above the growth threshold of 50. The average workweek for all employees fell by 0.2 hours to 34.4 hours, while the average hourly earnings for all employees rose by four cents to $23.87.

  • 05.02.2013
  • International Trade
  • In March the U.S. trade deficit contracted $4.8 billion to a level of $38.8 billion ($43.6 billion, previously). The contraction, which was greater than consensus forecasters had predicted, was driven by declines in both imports and exports. Imports fell 2.8 percent to a level of $223.1 billion after increasing 0.3 percent in February and 1.8 percent in January. Exports dropped 0.9 percent to a level of $184.3 billion after increasing 0.9 percent in February and falling −1.2 percent in January. On a year-over-year basis, imports declined −5.6 percent marking the largest yearly decline since October 2010. Exports fell −0.2 percent year-over-year, the first yearly decline since November 2009. Despite mixed trade reports in the past several months and the global slowdown, exports had been maintaining strength. March’s contrastingly weak export activity coupled with weak import activity indicates that trade could negatively impact GDP in the first quarter of 2013.
  • 05.02.2013
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity—real output per hour of all persons—increased at an annualized rate of 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2013, according to the preliminary estimate. This follows a 1.7 percent decline in the fourth quarter of 2012, and on a year-over-year basis, productivity is up 0.9 percent. Real output increased at an annualized rate of 2.5 percent through the first three months of the year, while hours increased 1.8 percent, leading to the overall improvement in productivity. Over the past year, output and hours are up 2.5 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Compensation per hour increased at a rate of 1.2 percent in the first quarter. However, after controlling for price changes, real hourly compensation fell 0.3 percent. Since the first quarter of last year, real compensation has been basically flat, down just 0.1 percent. Unit labor costs, which are measured as hourly compensation per hourly output, increased 0.5 percent in the first quarter, following a 1.9 percent decline and a 4.4 percent increase in the third and fourth quarters of last year, respectively, and are up 0.6 percent since the first quarter of 2012.
  • 05.01.2013
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM report indicated growth in the manufacturing sector for the month of April, although at a slowing pace. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) decreased 0.6 percentage points to 50.7, this being its fifth consecutive month above the growth threshold of 50. April’s PMI of 50.7 was below both the 2012 average of 51.9, as well as the 2013:Q1 average of 52.9. Out of the five components that make up the PMI, all except for inventories were above 50. Inventories fell 3 percentage points to 46.5 from 49.5, new orders increased 0.9 percentage points to 52.3 from 51.4, and production increased 1.3 percentage points to 53.5 from 52.2. Supplier deliveries increased by 1.5 percentage points to 50.9 from 49.4, bringing it above the growth threshold. Employment saw a large decrease of 4 percentage points from 54.2 to 50.2 but still managed to stay above 50. Prices paid registered 50 percent, indicating that there was no change in prices from the previous month of March.
  • 05.01.2013
  • Construction Spending
  • Private construction spending fell in March to $598.4 billion, a 0.6 percent decrease from the downwardly revised February estimate of $602.0 billion. March’s results are 9.8 percent higher year-over-year. Residential construction spending increased 0.4 percent over the month, to $294.9 billion. New multi-family construction spending rose 0.3 percent in March and is still up 52.7 percent year-over-year. New single-family construction posted a monthly gain of 1.6 percent and is up 37.6 percent since last March. Private nonresidential construction spending was at $303.5 billion, 1.5 percent below the revised February estimate of $308.2 billion. Manufacturing, commercial, healthcare, educational, and power all registered declines over the month. The communication sector posted the largest monthly increase of 3.7 percent but is still down 4.1 percent year-over-year.