Data Updates

Data Updates

June 2008

  • 06.27.2008
  • Personal Income
  • Personal income growth increased an annualized 24.8 percent in May, however government stimulus checks were a major reason for the uncharacteristically rapid rate of growth. Still, there was strength outside of the government’s stimulus program. Total employee compensation increased an annualized 3.6 percent following essentially no change in April. Wage and salary income also increased over the month, growing at a 3.7 percent annualized pace, after falling at a 1.0 percent pace in May. On the disposition side of the report, real personal consumption expenditures grew an annualized 4.4 percent in May, no doubt reflecting at least some impact from the stimulus program. Also as a result of stimulus checks, May’s savings rate (personal savings as a percent of disposable personal income) jumped from 0.4 percent to 5.0 percent. The PCE price index increased and annualized 5.0 percent in May reflecting a rapid increase in food and energy prices. Excluding these two categories, core PCE increased at only a 1.4 percent annual rate. The 12–month growth rate for the headline and core PCE now stand at 3.1 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.
  • 06.27.2008
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment fell 3.4 point to 56.4 in June, down an additional 0.3 points from the preliminary report. The decline brings consumer sentiment to its lowest level since 1980, and its third lowest level since the series began in 1952. The median year–ahead inflation expectation decreased slightly from 5.2% to 5.1%, while the median 5– to 10–year–ahead inflation expectation was unchanged at 3.4%. Both readings are elevated compared to those of recent years.
  • 06.26.2008
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Total existing home sales rose 2.0 percent in May after falling 1.0 percent in April. The less–volatile single–family component of existing home sales increased 1.6 percent following April’s 0.5 percent reduction. The increase in existing single–family home sales was the third in the last five months; although the 12–month sales rate is still −14.5 percent, the series is up 2.1 percent for the year to date. Inventories of existing single–family homes for sale fell slightly in terms of both actual units and months of supply on the market, but both measures remain elevated. The median sales price of existing single–family homes sold in May was down 6.9 percent from a year earlier.
  • 06.26.2008
  • Real GDP
  • First–quarter real GDP growth was revised up from 0.9 percent to 1.0 percent with the release of the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s final estimate. The revision, which was widely expected, resulted from an increase in final sales that more than offset a reduction in estimates of inventory growth. Personal consumption expenditures, business investment in equipment and software, and state and local government spending were all revised up, whereas net exports was largely unchanged and inventory investment was revised down. The four–quarter growth rate in core PCE was unchanged at 2.0 percent. Although this was the “final” estimate of first quarter GDP growth, it will be revised next month with the release of the second–quarter advance estimate, as part of the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s benchmarking process, which will affect data going back to 2005.
  • 06.25.2008
  • New Home Sales
  • Sales of new single–family home fell 2.5 percent in May following a 4.8 percent rise in April. The 12–month growth rate in sales rebounded slightly to −40.3 percent from a cyclical low of −42.1 percent but remains lower than at any time since 1981. The number of new single–family homes on the market continued to fall in May and is now down 20 percent from its peak. However, sales continued to decline more rapidly than inventories; as a result, the supply of homes for sale (at the current pace) increased to 10.9 months’ worth in May, its second–highest level since 1981. The median sales price of new single–family homes was down 5.7 percent from a year earlier.
  • 06.25.2008
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods were virtually unchanged in May after April’s 1.0 percent decline. Excluding orders for transportation equipment, which tend to be volatile, durable goods orders fell 0.9 percent. Orders for capital goods increased 1.5 percent, thanks to a 10.9 percent increase in orders for defense capital goods. Nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, which some believe to be an indicator of business investment, fell 0.8 percent. Shipments of durable goods fell 1.1 percent in April, while shipments excluding transportation were down 0.2 percent.
  • 06.24.2008
  • Home Price Indexes
  • The monthly OFHEO and both the 10– and 20–city composite Case–Shiller Home Price indexes fell further in April. The OFHEO index now shows a 4.6 percent 12–month decline in home prices, and both Case–Shiller composite indexes show a much greater decline. According to the 20–city composite, home prices have fallen 15.3 percent over the last 12 months; the 10–city composite shows a decline of 16.3 percent.
  • 06.24.2008
  • Consumer Confidence
  • The Conference Board’s Index of Consumer Confidence fell 7.7 points in June to 50.4, its lowest level since 1992. Both the present–situation component and the expectations component fell sharply, leaving the expectations component at a historic low and the present situation not far from one. Over the last 12 months, the consumer confidence index has declined 52.1 percent, the sharpest 12–month decline on record, but roughly the rate of decline seen around the 1974, 1980, and 1991 recessions.
  • 06.17.2008
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) jumped up 17.4 percent (annualized rate) in May, following a meager 2.1 percent increase in April. Energy and food components pushed up the overall PPI, rising 77.7 percent and 10.0 percent, respectively. Over the past 12 months, the PPI has increased 7.2 percent. The PPI excluding food and energy (core PPI) rose 2.9 percent during the month, while its 12-month growth rate remained steady at 3.0 percent. Further back on the production line, both core intermediate and core crude goods production are showing price pressure. Core intermediate goods prices increased 26.4 percent in May, while prices of core crude goods?a more volatile series?spiked up 79.8 percent.
  • 06.17.2008
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production fell 2.1 percent (annualized rate) in May, following an 8.6 percent decrease in April. Industrial production has fallen 0.1 percent over the past year, its first negative 12-month growth rate since June 2003. Manufacturing production decreased slightly in May, falling 0.2 percent after a 9.9 percent drop in April. Electric and gas utilities output fell 20.0 percent during the month, the largest decrease in the series in 14 months. Mining output, after posting two consecutive decreases, rose 1.2 percent in May and is up 2.2 percent over the past 12 months. Capacity utilization declined 0.2 percentage point to 79.4 percent.
  • 06.17.2008
  • Housing Starts and Permits
  • Single-family housing starts fell 1.0 percent in May, after declining 4.2 percent in April. The decline brings starts down 63.0 percent from their peak in January 2006 and 41.2 percent from a year ago. While single-family starts declined for the 24th consecutive month, the pace of decline has slowed in recent months. The series’ 9-, 6-, and 3-month growth rates—while all still negative—have increased steadily over the past few months and are substantially above their cyclical lows. Permits for single-family homes fell 4.0 percent in May, negating much of April’s 4.5 percent increase and leaving the series basically unchanged over the past two months.
  • 06.13.2008
  • CPI
  • The CPI rose 8.1 percent (annualized rate) in May, pushed up by a 67.8 percent increase in energy components. Over the past 12 months, the CPI is up 4.2 percent. Excluding food and energy (core) the CPI increased 2.5 percent in May, following a 1.3 percent increase in April. There was an unusual amount of dispersion between the median and 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI in May, as the 16 percent trimmed-mean measure rose 4.0 percent, while the median CPI increased just 2.2 percent. Looking at the component distribution reveals that nearly 36 percent of the CPI’s components rose at rates in excess of 5.0 percent during the month. This, coupled with 38 percent of the index rising at rates less than 1 percent, shows that 74 percent of the CPI was in the tails of the component price distribution, and the 16 percent trimmed-mean incorporated some of those wild component price swings, while the median CPI did not. Over the past 12 months, both trimmed-mean measures of underlying inflation have risen 3.0 percent.
  • 06.13.2008
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan?s Index of Consumer Sentiment fell to a 28-year low of 56.7 in June, down 3.1 points from May. While both the current conditions and consumer expectations components fell during the month, the current conditions component fell further, from 73.3 to 68.7. Average inflation expectations in both the short– and long-term ticked down in June—at 6.6 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively—but remain elevated compared to the past few years.
  • 06.12.2008
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales rose 12.9 percent (annualized rate) in May, beating expectations of a modest gain, and following an upwardly revised gain of 5.0 percent (from −2.2 percent) in April. Over the past three months, retail sales are up 8.0 percent. Retail sales excluding motor vehicles increased 15.1 percent in May, after a 12.8 percent increase last month. Sales at building material, garden equipment, and supply dealers jumped up 33.5 percent during the month, but are still down 3.2 percent over the past 12 months. Sales at gasoline stations, most likely driven by price effects, increased 35.6 percent in May.
  • 06.12.2008
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices continued to surge ahead in May, rising 30.9 percent (annualized rate), following an upwardly revised 32.9 percent jump in April. Over the past three months, import prices are up 35.4 percent. Petroleum import prices continue to soar, up 147.0 percent in May and 98.1 percent in April. Nonpetroleum imports rose 6.6 percent in May, a month after posting their largest increase on record (17.4 percent). Nonpetroleum import prices have shot up 6.6 percent over the past 12 months. Export prices, which have averaged increases of 12.6 percent over the past three months, rose 3.9 percent in May.
  • 06.10.2008
  • Trade Deficit
  • The nominal trade deficit increased $4.4 billion in April, the largest monthly increase in the deficit since 2005. Export growth was strong in April, increasing $5.0 billion, a 3.3 percent gain. Import growth was even stronger however, as nominal imports rose 4.5 percent, a $9.4 billion gain. The increase in imports was widespread, with the largest area of growth in industrial supplies and materials, which increased $5.6 billion in April, a 9.1 percent increase. Imports of consumer goods saw the slowest growth, rising only $0.6 billion , a 1.7 percent increase from March. The large increase in the trade deficit was almost entirely the result of price changes. After taking account of prices, the real trade deficit was virtually unchanged, as imports increased $3.8 billion and exports increased $3.9 billion.
  • 06.06.2008
  • Employment
  • Nonfarm payroll employment fell by 49,000 in May, in line with market expectations. Nonfarm payrolls are down 324,000 year-to-date. Goods-producing industries continue to trim payrolls, as construction employment fell by 34,000 and manufacturing decreased by 26,000 jobs in May. There were also losses in retail trade (down 27,100) and professional and business services (down 39,000). Given the recent environment surrounding financial institutions and credit markets, it is somewhat curious that we have yet to see any major layoffs in that sector. Employment in financial activities was virtually flat in May. There were a few bright spots during the month: Health-care payrolls added 33,900 workers, leisure and hospitality gained 12,000, and local government payrolls were boosted by 22,000.
  • 06.04.2008
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity (output per hour of all persons) rose at an annualized rate of 2.6 percent in the first quarter, according to the revised release, up from a preliminary growth rate of 2.2 percent. The revision was primarily due to an upward adjustment to output, from 0.4 percent to 0.7 percent, as the revised estimate for hours worked—a decline of 1.8 percent—remained the same as the preliminary. Compensation per hour was revised up to a 4.9 percent increase, from one of 4.4 percent in the preliminary release. After adjusting for price effects, compensation per hour rose slightly, up 0.6 percent during the first quarter. Unit labor costs, a measure some use to detect the onset of inflationary pressures, increased 2.2 percent in the first quarter, down from a 2.8 percent increase in the fourth quarter. Over the past 4 four quarters, unit labor costs are up only 0.7 percent.
  • 06.03.2008
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.1 percent (nonannualized rate) in April, following a 1.5 percent increase in March. New orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft—which had decreased in each of the past three months—jumped up 4.0 percent in April. This is a slight downward revision from the advance report on durable goods, which had the series increasing 4.2 percent in April. Over the past 12 months, new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft have risen 2.2 percent. Shipments for all manufacturing industries rose 2.2 percent during the month and are up 5.0 percent over the past 12 months. Overall manufacturing inventories were flat in April, but inventories of consumer goods fell 1.8 percent, their largest contraction since February 2001.
  • 06.02.2008
  • ISM Manufacturing Index
  • The ISM manufacturing index rose 1.0 point to 49.6 in May, but remained below 50 for the fourth straight month, which—according to the ISM—would indicate that the manufacturing economy is contracting. The new orders index rose 3.2 points to 49.7, its largest monthly increase in 13 months. The production index crossed the threshold into expansionary territory, rising 2.1 points to 51.2. The employment, deliveries, and inventory indexes were little changed in May, but the prices paid by manufacturers index continued to surge and is up to 87.0. The highest value ever reached by the prices index was 100.0 in June of 1950.
  • 06.02.2008
  • Construction Spending
  • Total private construction spending fell 0.5 percent in April, after falling 1.1 percent in March. Private residential construction fell 2.3 percent over the month, continuing its two-year-long trend of negative growth. During that time, private residential construction has fallen 1.8 percent per month on average. Private nonresidential construction spending also continued its recent upward trend in April, increasing 1.6 percent, its largest increase since September.