Data Updates

Data Updates

June 2009

  • 06.30.2009
  • Housing Price Indicators
  • The pace of home price declines shown by both the 10- and 20-city S&P/Case-Shiller home price indexes declined in April. The seasonally-adjusted 20-city index fell 0.9 percent over the month, the smallest decline since August 2007, while the 10-city index fell 1.0 percent over the month, the smallest decline since June 2008. The 12-month growth rates in both series improved in April and currently stand at −18.1 percent for the 20-city index and −18.0 percent for the 10-city index, up from lows in January of −19.0 percent and −19.4 percent, respectively.

    The FHFA purchase-only index was largely unchanged in April, falling just 0.1 percent over the month. The FHFA index has stabilized since November 2008 and has only fallen 0.6 percent over the past five months. The index’s 12-month growth rate improved in April, as well, coming in at −6.8 percent, its highest level since August 2008, and up from a low of −9.0 percent in November 2008.

  • 06.26.2009
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income jumped up more than expected, to 17.9 percent (annualized rate) in May, following an upwardly revised 8.1 percent increase in April. Disposable income jumped up 21.5 percent during the month, after a 16.8 percent increase in April. According to the release by the Bureau of Economic Aanalysis, “The pattern of changes in income reflect, in part, the pattern of reduced personal current taxes and increased government social benefit payments associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).” In the absence of these transfers, disposable personal income would have posted a slight increase in May. Real inflation-adjusted personal consumption expenditures rebounded in May, rising 2.3 percent after two consecutive monthly decreases. Over the past 12 months however, real consumption is down 1.9 percent, matching the current cyclical low that occurred in December 2008. The personal savings rate (as a percentage of disposable income) jumped up from 5.6 percent to 6.9 percent in May, its highest level since December 1993. Although this is in part an artifact of the reduced tax withholdings and transfer income from the ARRA, due to the large destruction of wealth over the past year or so it is not surprising to see savings increase.
  • 06.26.2009
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumer Sentiment was revised up to an index value of 70.8 in June, its first reading above 70.0 since September 2008, according to the final estimate. The index is up roughly 15 points since its current cyclical low in November 2008, but still has a way to go in order to get back to a pre-recession 12-month average of 86. Perhaps more importantly, one-year average inflation expectations rose to 3.9 percent in June (revised up by 0.1 percentage point during the revision), from 3.2 percent in May (most likely responding to increasing gasoline prices). The longer-term (5-to-10 year ahead) expectations were revised down from 3.4 percent to 3.2 percent in June, according to the final estimate, perhaps helping to further assuage fears of unhinging inflation expectations, at the margin.
  • 06.26.2009
  • PCE
  • The PCE price index increased at an annualized rate of 0.7 percent in May, following a 0.8 percent decrease in March. The 12-month growth rate in the PCE price index is only 0.1 percent (an all-time low), down from 0.5 percent in April. Excluding food and energy prices (core PCE), the index rose 1.1 percent in May, following an increase of 3.3 percent in April (which was biased upward due to the increased excise tax on tobacco products). Over the past 12 months, the core PCE is up 1.8 percent.
  • 06.25.2009
  • Real GDP Q1:Final Estimate
  • The final estimate for real GDP growth in the first quarter of 2009 came in at −5.5 percent, 0.2 percentage point above the preliminary estimate and 0.6 percentage point higher than the advance estimate (a relatively large advance-to-final revision by historical standards, but nowhere near the −2.5 percentage point advance-to-final revision in the previous quarter). A downward revision to real imports (which adds to real GDP growth) was the largest change from the previous estimate, adding 0.5 percentage point to real GDP growth. That gain was partially offset by a downward revision to real exports and a lessening in the contribution from real consumption, which combined subtracted an additional 0.4 pp from growth. The first quarter sell-off in private inventories was lessened from −$91.4 billion to −$87.1 billion (down from −$103.7 billion in the advance release), tacking on an additional 0.1 percentage point.
  • 06.24.2009
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods shocked expectations of a 0.9 percent decrease, rising 1.8 percent (nonannualized) in May, despite an 8.1 percent drop in motor vehicle and parts production. Over the past 12 months, new orders are down 23.3 percent, but that growth rate is up from a low of −26.6 percent in March. Nondefense capital goods orders (excluding aircraft) rebounded in May, rising 4.8 percent after a 2.9 percent drop in April, pushing its three-month growth rate into positive territory for the first time since July 2008. Unfortunately, the recent gains in orders have yet to materialize into shipments, as the series posted a record tenth consecutive decrease in May, falling 4.5 percent. Inventories were trimmed by 0.8 percent during the month, following a downwardly revised 1.1 percent sell-off in April. Still, due to the rapid deterioration in shipments, the inventory-to-shipments ratio ticked up from 1.88 months in April to 1.9 months in May, a signal that the outlook for production may continue to be weak.
  • 06.24.2009
  • New Home Sales
  • New single-family homes sales were virtually unchanged in May, falling just 0.6 percent, or 2,000 units, to an annual sales pace of 342,000. Over the last five months new home sales have been fairly stable and have actually increased 4.0 percent since reaching a cyclical low in January. That marks the first time the series’ four-month growth rate has reached positive territory since 2006 and the highest such growth rate since the series peaked in 2005. The number of new homes on the market continued to decline in May, falling 2.3 percent. With the decline, the number of new homes for sale remains on the low end of the normal range of inventories seen between 1970 and 2000. However, relative to the sales pace inventories are still elevated, with the current level being equal to 10.2 months of supply at the current sales pace, down from an all-time high of 12.4 months in January. The median sales price of new single-family homes sold jumped up in May yielding a 12-month growth rate of −3.4 percent.
  • 06.23.2009
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Existing single-family home sales increased 1.9 percent in May following April’s 2.2 percent increase. Over the past seven months, existing single-family home sales have been fairly stable, bouncing around between an annual sales pace of 4.1 and 4.2 million. The 12-month growth rate in sales has stabilized in recent months, as well. Coming in at 3.0 percent in May (for the second consecutive month) it is up substantially from its cyclical low of −23.7 percent in February 2008. The number of existing single-family homes for sale declined 3.3 percent in May, yielding 9.0 months of supply at the current sales pace, down from a cyclical high of 11.0 months in June 2008. The median sales price of existing single-family homes sold in May, which is not seasonally adjusted, increased 4.2 percent from April. The 12-month growth rate in the median sales price improved slightly from an all time low of 16.8 percent in April to −16.1 percent in May, as the share of sales that were distressed declined substantially.
  • 06.17.2009
  • CPI
  • The CPI rose 1.2 percent (annualized rate) in May, as rising fuel prices (up 37.0 percent) were partially offset by decreases in food prices (−2.4 percent) and fairly broad-based softness among other components. Over the past 12 months, the CPI is down 1.3 percent, a 6- year low—a fact not lost by newswires. The CPI excluding food and energy prices increased 1.7 percent during the month and is up 1.8 percent over the past year. The median CPI rose just 0.6 percent in May, its smallest increase since April 2003, as 56 percent of the overall index rose at rates less than 1.0 percent (with 33 percent exhibiting outright price decreases). The 16 percent trimmed-mean measure ticked up 1.1 percent during the month, managing to outpace its 3-month growth rate of 0.8 percent, but falling short of its longer-term (12-month) trend of 1.9 percent.
  • 06.16.2009
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods rose at an annualized rate of 2.9 percent in May, following a 3.6 percent increase in April. However, the PPI is down 2.5 percent over the past three months, and down −4.7 percent over the past year. Rising energy prices (up 41.3 percent in May) more than offset decreasing foods prices (−17.4 percent) and a slight decline in the PPI less food and energy prices (−0.7 percent) in May. Over the past 12 months, the PPI excluding food and energy prices is up 3.0 percent. Further back on the production line, prices were mixed. Core intermediate goods prices fell for the eight consecutive month, decreasing 2.8 percent in May, while core crude goods prices jumped up 118 percent during the month.
  • 06.16.2009
  • Industrial Productions
  • Industrial production decreased at an annualized rate of 12.7 percent in May, following a downwardly revised 8.0 percent loss in April. Still, its three-month growth rate is at −13.6 percent, well above its current cyclical low of −20.7 percent in January. However, seven consecutive monthly decreases have pushed the 12-month growth rate in production down to −13.4 percent, its deepest decline since July 1946. Broad-based losses across sectors pushing manufacturing output down 11.1 percent (annualized rate) in May, after a downwardly-revised 7.0 percent decrease in April. Motor vehicle and parts production slipped down by 62.9 percent during the month and is down 28.4 percent over the past year. Mining output continued to post double-digit decreases, falling 22.8 percent in May, while utilities output fell by 15.9 percent during the month. The capacity utilization rate dipped below 69 percent of capacity in May, falling to 68.3 percent. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, capacity utilization has plummeted by 12.3 percentage points.
  • 06.16.2009
  • Housing Starts
  • Total housing starts increased 78,000 units in May, in-line with typical increases over the past 50 years, however because the starts pace is so depressed that change amounts to a rather large 17.2 percent increase. Single-family housing starts, which are typically less-volatile than the total series, increased modestly in May. The 28,000 unit increase, though small by historical standards is the largest since February 2007 and only the tenth increase since the series peaked in January 2006. Single-family housing starts have not fallen in any of the past four months, yielding a four month growth rate above zero for the first time since the series peaked. Permits for single-family homes increased 7.9 percent in May and much like the starts series have shown signs of stabilizing over the past few months as wel, albeit at a low level.
  • 06.12.2009
  • Import Prices
  • Import prices increased 16.9 percent (annualized rate) in May, following a 13.4 percent increase in April. However, the series is still down 17.6 percent over the past 12 months. Rising petroleum and commodity prices—likely reflecting a recent weakening in the dollar—drove much of the price gains. Nonpetroleum import prices rose a meager 2.3 percent in May, and have fallen 3.3 percent over the past three months. Export prices jumped up 7.5 percent in May, as volatile agricultural prices spiked 53.4 percent. The three-month and 12-month growth rate in exports prices stands at 1.4 percent and -6.5 percent, respectively.
  • 06.12.2009
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan's Survey of Consumer Sentiment was virtually unchanged at an index level of 69.0 in June. Sentiment has improved from its recent low of 55.3 in November, but still has a way to go in order to get back to a pre-recession 12-month average of 86. Perhaps more importantly, one-year average inflation expectations rose to 3.8 percent in June, from 3.2 percent in May (most likely responding to increasing gasoline prices). The longer-term (5-to-10 year ahead) expectations returned to a more normal range after a period of relatively low expectations, ticking up to 3.4 percent in June. The release noted that the percentage of respondents that expected a deflationary episode over the year ahead fell from 23 percent in December to just 7 percent in June, while the longer-term expectation of deflation fell from near 10 percent in December, to just 5 percent currently.
  • 06.11.2009
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales increased 0.5 percent in May following an upwardly revised 0.2 percent decline in April. While total retail sales have increased in three of the last five months, they are up only 1.1 percent over that time and are still down 9.5 percent from a year ago. Sales at building material, garden equipment and supply dealers increased 1.3 percent in May, the first increase since June 2008. Sales at gasoline stations increased 3.6 percent over the month as higher prices reportedly bolstered sales. Total retail sales less auto and parts dealers and gasoline stations, two of the more volatile components, increased 0.1 percent following decline in March and April. The 12-month growth rate in retail sales excluding auto and parts dealers and gasoline stations was virtually unchanged at 2.9 percent, its lowest level since data became available in 1993.
  • 06.10.2009
  • International Trade
  • The nominal trade deficit increased $0.6 billion in April on top of an upwardly revised increase of $2.5 billion In March. Exports fell 2.3 percent over the course of April and have now fallen during eight of the past nine months. Imports fell 1.4 percent in April, their ninth consecutive monthly decline. Over that nine month span, exports have declined a total of 26.3 percent while imports have fallen a combined 34.5 percent. The result has been a $35.7 billion reduction in the trade deficit that has brought the trade balance from −$64.9 billion to −$29.2 billion, in line with the average deficit seen in 2001.
  • 06.04.2009
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity (output per hour of all persons) was revised up from an annualized increase of 0.8 percent to 1.6 percent in the first quarter. The revision was due entirely to an upward adjustment to output, as hours were unchanged at −9.0 percent according to the revised estimate. Even though hourly compensation was revised up slightly, from 6.6 percent to 7.1 percent after adjusting for price effects, unit labor costs edged down from 3.3 percent to 3.0 percent during the revision. That still leaves unit labor costs up 2.2 percent over the past four quarters, trending slightly above core inflation.
  • 06.04.2009
  • Employment and Unemployment
  • Nonfarm payroll employment fell by a much less-than-expected 345,000 in May, compared to an average decline of 643,000 over the prior six months. Moreover, this was the first release that upwardly revised both prior monthly estimates since before the start of the recession, netting a gain of 82,000. Goods-producing employment fell by 225,000, with manufacturing payrolls shedding 156,000 (nearly half of the overall total loss). The manufacturing sectors experiencing the largest losses all came out of durables: motor vehicles and parts (-29,800), machinery (-26,400), and metal fabrication (-18,700). On the service side, retail trade experienced its smallest loss since June of 2008, decreasing by 17,500. Financial payrolls fell 30,000 in May, compared to a loss of 45,000 last month. Employment services have been hit hard during the recession, averaging losses of 55,500 (or nearly 2.0 percent) per month, but these decreased to just 11,200 in May. Health care employment continued to rise in May, increasing 23,500. Also, education services increased by 8,000 following three straight monthly declines. On the household side, the unemployment rate continued its rapid ascent, climbing 0.5 percentage point to 9.4 percent, as the number of unemployed persons rose by 787,000. Consensus expectations were for 9.2 percent. The employment-to-population ratio, which had been steady at 59.9 percent in April, slipped down 0.2 percentage point to 59.7 percent. Both measures of the labor market are at levels not seen since the mid-1980s.
  • 06.03.2009
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods rose 0.7 percent (nonannualized) in April, following a 1.9 percent decrease in March. Over the past three months, new orders have decreased at an annualized rate of 1.9 percent, a substantial improvement over its longer-term (12-month) growth rate of −22.8 percent. Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft were downwardly revised from the advance report on durable goods, falling 2.4 percent (nonannualized) in April compared to the previous estimate of −1.5 percent. Over the past year, the series has fallen 25.1 percent. Shipments and inventories continued to decline in April, decreasing 0.2 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively. Consequently, the inventories-to-shipments ratio for manufactured goods ticked down from 1.46 months in March to 1.45 months in April
  • 06.01.2009
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income increased 6.0 percent (annualized rate) in April, following a 2.5 percent decrease in March. Disposable income jumped up 14.4 percent during the month, after a 0.9 percent increase in March. According to the release by the BEA, “The pattern of changes in income reflect, in part, the pattern of reduced personal current taxes and increased government social benefit payments associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).” Real inflation-adjusted personal consumption expenditures fell 1.4 percent in April, following a downwardly revised 3.5 percent decline in March. Over the past 12 months, real consumption is down 1.9 percent, matching the current cyclical low that occurred in December 2008. The personal savings rate (as a percentage of disposable income) jumped up from 4.5 percent to 5.7 percent in April, mostly a result of the reduced tax withholdings from the ARRA. Nevertheless, the personal savings rate is up markedly from April 2008—when the savings rate was 0.0 percent.
  • 06.01.2009
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) continued to improve in May, rising to 42.8 from 40.1 in April, but is still below the threshold of 50.0 that the ISM considers “growth” in the manufacturing sector. That said, the new orders component of the overall PMI jumped above that threshold, increasing 3.9 index points to 51.1 in May. The production index rose 5.6 points to 46.0 in May, but the employment series ticked down 0.1 point to 34.3 during the month. Reflecting rising oil and commodity prices, the ISM’s prices index jumped up 11.5 points to 43.5 in May.
  • 06.01.2009
  • PCE Prices
  • The PCE price index increased at an annualized rate of 0.8 percent in April, following a 0.4 percent decrease in March. The 12-month growth rate in the PCE price index is only 0.4 percent (an all-time low), down from 0.6 percent in March. Excluding food and energy prices (core PCE), the index jumped up 3.2 percent during the month, its largest monthly price gain since June 2008, pushing its 12-month growth rate up 0.1 percentage point to 1.9 percent in April. The recent excise tax increase on tobacco products was largely to blame for the increase in the core PCE prices, which should come as no surprise since it is the same price series that is used in the CPI.
  • 06.01.2009
  • Construction Spending
  • Total construction spending jumped up 0.8 percent (nonannualized) in April, well above consensus expectations for a modest decline. April’s gain comes on the heels of a 0.4 percent gain in March, but is still down 10.7 percent over the past 12 months. Nevertheless, April’s overall gain was driven by a 1.4 percent increase in private construction, as public construction fell 0.6 percent during the month. Moreover, private residential construction posted its first increase after seven consecutive monthly declines, rising 0.7 percent in April.