Data Updates

Data Updates

June 2010

  • 06.29.2010
  • Housing Price Indexes
  • The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index resumed growth in April, rising 0.4 percent following small slumps the previous two months. The 10-city index picked up 0.3 percent and has risen solidly since last May, likely reflecting amped-up demand from the homebuyer tax credit program, which expired at the end of April. Year-over-year growth in both indexes also strengthened, as the 20-city index has grown 3.8 percent since April 2009, and the 10-city index has climbed 4.6 percent. California metro areas showed the most improvement over the last 12 months, with home prices appreciating 18 percent in San Francisco, 11.7 percent in San Diego, and 7.8 percent in Los Angeles.

    Growth in the FHFA Purchase-Only House Price Index picked up pace, advancing 0.8 percent in April’s report after inching up 0.1 percent in March. Year-over-year growth is still negative but perked up from −2.7 percent to −1.5 percent.

  • 06.28.2010
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income climbed 0.4 percent (nonannualized) in March following a 0.5 percent increase in April and is trending at a 12-month growth rate of 1.6 percent. Disposable personal income (personal income less current taxes) rose 0.4 percent while nominal consumption expenditures inched up 0.2 percent during the month. The personal savings rate (as a percentage of disposable income) rose from 3.8 percent to 4.0 percent in May, its highest level since last September. After adjusting for price effects, “real” personal income increase 0.3 percent in May and is trending at an annualized 3-month growth rate of 2.8 percent over the past three months, slightly above its year-over-year growth of 2.6 percent.
  • 06.28.2010
  • PCE
  • The PCE price index ticked down at an annualized rate of 0.4 percent in May, largely as energy prices fell sharply. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” PCE rose 2.0 percent after advancing 1.1 percent in April, leaving its 12-month growth rate at 1.3 percent. The market-based core PCE price index—which excludes implicit prices and consumption expenses of nonprofits serving households”rose 1.6 percent in May, and is up just 1.0 percent over the past year.
  • 06.25.2010
  • Real GDP
  • First quarter real GDP was revised down yet again, from an annualized gain of 3.0 percent in the first quarter to 2.7 percent during the third estimate. The lower estimate was largely due to an upward revision to imports and a downward revision to consumption that was partially offset by upward adjustments to exports and inventories. Personal consumption rose 3.0 percent during the first quarter according to the third estimate, 0.6 percentage point below the BEA’s initial guess, but still its largest quarterly gain since 2007:Q1. Business investment weakened slightly during the revision, from a 3.1 percent to a 2.2 percent increase in the first quarter, as both equipment and structures were revised lower. The swing in inventories (from a slight loss in the fourth quarter to accumulation in the first quarter) was revised up by 0.2 percentage points, now adding 1.9 percentage points to growth in the first quarter. Net exports subtracted 0.8 percentage points from growth (in GDP calculation), as imports outpaced export growth in the first quarter. Final sales of real GDP—which subtract out inventories and thus give us a purer read on demand—were revised down from 1.4 percent to 0.8 percent in the first quarter, a little less than half of the fourth quarter’s gain of 1.7 percent. Final sales to domestic purchasers (a read on domestic demand), which rose 1.6 percent in the first quarter, after a 1.4 percent gain in the fourth. Both measures are trending slightly above 1.0 percent over the past four quarters, well below “trend” growth.
  • 06.25.2010
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment continued its upward push, rising from an index value of 73.6 in May to 76.0 in June (a slight increase over the early June estimate. The overall increase came as the current economic conditions component jumped up from 81.0 to 85.6, while the increase in the expectations component was more muted; from 68.8 in May to 69.8 in June. The expectations component has been relatively stagnant over the past year, up just 0.6 index point from last June. Inflation expectations slipped down slightly in June relative to May but were revised up from the preliminary report. One-year-ahead average inflation expectations fell from 4.1 percent in May to 3.3 percent in June (the median ticked down from 3.2 percent to 2.8 percent); while longer-run (5- to 10-year-ahead) average expectations slid down from 3.4 percent to 3.1 percent during the month (with the median edging down from 2.9 percent to 2.8 percent).
  • 06.25.2010
  • Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
  • The FOMC statement from this week gave very little hope that the composition or the size of the Fed’s balance sheet would be changing anytime soon. Weak economic data and low inflation trends and expectations suggest that the Fed will likely be content to leave its accommodative monetary policy on the balance sheet for a while longer. In preparing for the transition, however, the H.4.1 data release has added a weekly update on the status of Term Deposits outstanding from the Fed’s new Term Deposit facility. This facility adds another dimension to the Fed’s reserve draining powers, all which may be used in tandem with interest on reserve rate hikes or asset sales. There were no major changes on the holdings side of the balance sheet, but a minor action was another $3 million drawing by Japan through the central bank liquidity swap lines.
  • 06.24.2010
  • Durable Goods
  • Both new orders and shipments of durables fell in May, slipping down 1.1 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. However, the overall declines were largely tied to decreases in aircraft and parts. Excluding transportation equipment, orders rose 0.9 percent in May, while shipments ticked up 0.4 percent. Recent strength has led to double-digit year-over-year growth rates for both series. Notably, the 12-month growth rate in shipments of transportation equipment rose to 13.7 percent in May, its second highest growth rate on record (back to 1992) exceeded only by a 13.9 percent gain in February 2005. Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft rebounded after a 2.7 percent drop in April, rising 2.1 percent during the month, helping to elevate its 3-month annualized growth rate to 26.2 percent; above its 12-month growth rate of 17.3 percent. Manufacturers’ added to their inventory of durables for the fifth straight month, as the series rose by 0.8 percent in May. Still, after a massive draw-down during the recession, its 12-month growth rate still sits below zero, at −3.1 percent.
  • 06.23.2010
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Existing single-family home sales slipped down 1.6 percent in May following two increases of nearly 8 percent in March and April. Sales have been volatile over the last six months, varying from a record drop of 950,000 annual units last December to gains in the mid-300,000’s. At 4.98 million annual units, the current sales pace sits 23 percent above its November 2008 trough but about 13 percent (730,000 units) shy of the recent peak in November 2009. Year-over-year sales growth slowed slightly in May but remains at a respectable 17.5 percent. The inventory of existing single-family homes for sale dropped 4.7 percent in May, outpacing the decline in sales and bringing the months of supply down from 8.1 to 7.8 months. The supply is now 1.9 months lower than in May 2009. Year-over-year growth in the median sales price held onto positive territory for a second straight month but weakened from 3.9 to 2.7 percent. Prior to April, the sales price had seen over three and a half years of negative 12-month growth.
  • 06.23.2010
  • New Home Sales
  • New single-family home sales plummeted 32.7 percent in May, undoubtedly driven by the deadline for the homebuyers’ tax credit at the end of April. The larger-than-expected decline set back the annual sales pace, now at 300,000 units, to its slowest since records began 1963. In fact, May’s sales pace decline was not only larger-than-expected but came in a whole 70,000 units below the low end of analysts’ consensus range. All regions of the U.S. showed a significant drop, particularly the South and the West, which accounted for 80 percent of the total decline over the month. This dismal report comes after more than a whole year of stable (but low) reported sales, apparently propped up in large part by the government’s tax credit program. Given the noise surrounding this program, though, it is difficult to discern any definitive trend or signal from the data. Year-over-year growth obviously took a hit with this report as well, diving all the way from 30.8 percent growth down to −18.3 percent. The Northeast and Midwest were the only regions with positive year-over-year growth.

    New single-family homes for sale slipped a slight 0.5 percent, and due to the oversized fall in sales, the months’ supply of new homes at the current sales rate rose quite dramatically, from 5.8 months to 8.5. Months’ supply began descending from its peak 12.1 months in January 2009, but the increase accompanying this report elevates months’ supply back up to its June 2009 level.

  • 06.18.2010
  • Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
  • As the Federal Reserve continues to prepare for its eventual exit from an accommodative monetary policy stance, it has worked to ready its Term Deposit Facility. Early this week, the facility was tested with a small-scale ($1 billion) auction operation of two-week term deposits. The auction was met with great demand, drawing a bid-to-cover ratio of over 6. Testing will continue through the summer, as the Fed works to cope with the elevated level of excess reserves remaining from the financial crisis. Other aspects of the balance sheet were largely unchanged this week, as the recently reestablished central bank liquidity swap lines were untapped. Small adjustments were made as some agency mortgage-backed securities purchases were cleared and TALF loans were prepaid.
  • 06.17.2010
  • CPI
  • The overall CPI fell at an annualized rate of 1.9 percent in May, though that was largely due to declining energy prices (down 30.2 percent). Food prices were flat. The “core” CPI rose 1.5 percent during the month, which is its largest monthly gain since last October. On a year-over-year basis, the core CPI remained at 0.9 percent, which is still its lowest growth rate since 1961.The median and 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI were both virtually unchanged in May, rising at annualized rates of just 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. On a nonannualized basis, the median CPI was unchanged for the fifth straight month and now eight out of the last 11 months. The 12-month growth rate in the median CPI remained at a paltry 0.5 percent, while the trim stayed at 0.9 percent. Underpinning the softness of the trimmed-mean measures relative to the core, was a continued shift in the mass of the price-change distribution toward the lower end. Perhaps the most striking feature of the distribution this month was that just 18 percent of the overall index (by expenditure weight) rose at rates exceeding 3.0 percent, its lowest share on record (back to 1967). As has been the case over the previous six months, a majority of the distribution (63 percent in May) either rose less than 1.0 percent or exhibited outright price decreases.
  • 06.16.2010
  • PPI
  • The Producer Price Index for finished goods slipped down at an annualized rate of 3.3 percent in May after a 1.3 percent decrease in April. On a year-over-year basis, the index ticked down from 5.4 percent to 5.1 percent in May. Energy and foods prices contributed to the overall decline during the month, falling 16.8 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively. Excluding those prices, the “core” PPI rose 2.8 percent in May—matching April’s gain—pushing its 12-month growth rate up 0.4 percentage point to 1.3 percent. Further upstream, pricing pressures were mixed, as core intermediate goods prices rose 3.4 percent, while core crude goods fell 17.2 percent.
  • 06.16.2010
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production continued to expand in May, rising at an annualized rate of 16.0 percent following an 8.7 percent gain in April. Over the past year, industrial production is up a whopping 7.6 percent, its highest growth rate since January 1998. While some of the overall gain came as utilities usage jumped up 4.8 percent on a warmer than unusual May (increasing air conditioning usage), the manufacturing sector continued to post healthy gains. Manufacturing output jumped up 11.2 percent in May, mostly on strength in durables production, nearly matching April’s gain, and is now trending at an annualized rate of 12.7 percent over the last three months. Over the past year, manufacturing production is up 7.9 percent, its highest growth rate in 12 years. Elsewhere, mining output dipped down slightly in May, falling 1.9 percent, though this came after a four-month string of double-digit increases that has left its 12-month growth rate up 9.6 percent. Capacity utilization continued to improve in May, rising 1.0 percentage point to 74.7 percent, and has now climbed about half-way back to its level of 80.6 at the start of the recession.
  • 06.16.2010
  • Housing Starts
  • Single-family housing starts dropped a greater-than-expected 17.2 percent in May, reflecting the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit and following a string of four consecutive monthly gains. Before the plummet, the annual pace of starts had climbed to its strongest since August 2008. The current pace of 468,000 units, however, is now its weakest since May 2009. By region, May’s decline was led by the South, where activity fell 26.8 percent. Activity dipped 10.9 percent in the Midwest but only declined about 2 percent in the Northeast and West. Single-family starts still sit 15 percent above their year-ago pace, but this is down from near-50 percent growth reported between February and April.

    Building permits for single-family homes also fell in May (9.9 percent) and are now up just 3.1 percent over the last year, down from average year-over-year growth of 40 percent in the first quarter.

  • 06.15.2010
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices fell 0.6 percent (nonannualized) in May, the largest drop since January 2009, following a 1.1 percent increase in April. After four straight months of sitting above 11 percent, the series’ 12-month growth rate is now at its December 2009 level of 8.6 percent. The decline is largely due to a 5.0 percent drop in petroleum prices, the largest decrease since December 2008, as nonpetroleum import prices rose 0.5 percent for the second month in a row. On a year-over-year basis, nonpetroleum import prices are in positive territory for the fifth straight month, climbing 3.7 percent. Export prices rose 0.7 percent in April, the smallest of three consecutive increases, pulling the 12-month growth rate up to 5.8 percent. The increase was largely due to a 1.9 percent climb in industrial supplies and materials prices.
  • 06.11.2010
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales slipped down 1.2 percent (nonannualized) in May, its largest decrease since last September, but is trending at an annualized growth rate of 6.0 percent over the past three months. While the headline number seems dour, the details are a little more sanguine. Price effects likely played a role in May’s decrease, as oil prices fell and some component prices have been trending lower as of late. Nominal sales fell at gasoline stations (down 3.3 percent), clothing and accessory stores (down 1.3 percent), and general merchandise stores (down 1.1 percent), but price effects likely played a role as oil prices fell during the month and those component prices have been trending lower as of late. Also, sales of building materials and at garden equipment and supply dealers plummeted 9.3 percent in May (its largest decrease since the series began in 1992), following two consecutive months of above 8.0 percent growth. However, building material sales get picked up in residential construction, and the pattern of sales is likely influenced by the expiration of the first-time home-buyers tax credit. A measure of “core” retail sales, designed to give us a clearer look at the underlying trend—sales excluding autos, building supplies, and gas stations—inched up 0.1 percent in May, following a slight dip in April (−0.2 percent). The 3-month annualized growth rate in core retail sales fell from 7.7 percent to 2.0 percent in May, though the series is still up 4.4 percent over the past year.
  • 06.11.2010
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment increased from an index value of 73.6 to 75.5 in early June. The modest gain was enough to push the series back near its highs seen at the beginning of the recession (78.4 in January 2008). The overall increase came as the current economic conditions component rose from 81.0 to 82.9, and the expectations component edged up from 68.8 to 70.7 in June. Still, the expectations component has been relatively stagnant over the past year, up just 1.5 index points from last June, “signaling that consumers expect a very slow pace of economic growth in the year ahead,” according to the release. Inflation expectations slipped down slightly in June. One-year-ahead average inflation expectations fell by 1.0 percentage point in June to 3.1 percent (the median ticked down from 3.2 percent to 2.8 percent); while longer-run (5- to 10-year-ahead) average expectations slid down from 3.4 percent to 2.8 percent during the month (with the median edging down from 2.9 percent to 2.7 percent). Interestingly, the monthly variance in the longer-run expectations slipped down to its lowest level since April 1999, more than halving its average variance since the recession began.
  • 06.11.2010
  • Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
  • This week, the outstanding balances in Maiden Lane II and III were paid down according to their monthly schedules. Currently, the outstanding loans to the two facilities are $14.3 billion for Maiden Lane II and $15.8 billion Maiden Lane III. For the liquidity swap lines, there were no new draws this week, leaving only about $1.2 billion outstanding. The majority of the outstanding balance ($1 billion) is extended to the European Central Bank. Mortgage-backed securities dollar rolls continued their comeback, climbing up to $8.35 billion. Changes on the liabilities side of the balance sheet were very small.
  • 06.10.2010
  • International Trade
  • The nominal trade deficit widened by $0.2 billion in April following a $0.1 billion narrowing in March, as both imports and exports declined slightly. The deficit is at its highest level since December 2008, though it has inched up only $0.1 billion since February. Exports slipped 0.7 percent, largely driven by a 5.3 percent drop in consumer goods. Imports declined 0.4 percent, led by a 4.4 percent decrease in consumer goods, which was partially offset by a 4.2 percent climb in capital goods. The average price per barrel of crude oil rose by $2.81 to its highest level since October 2008, and the U.S. imported 5,355 million fewer barrels in April than in March. Despite the declines in exports and imports, their 12-month growth rates ticked up slightly, to 23.9 percent and 19.9 percent respectively.
  • 06.04.2010
  • The Employment Situation
  • Nonfarm payrolls rose 431,000 in May, almost entirely on a 411,000 boost from temporary Census takers. Private nonfarm payrolls inched up just 41,000 in May, compared to an average gain of 146,000 over the prior three months. Also, revisions subtracted an additional 29,000 from private payrolls over April and March. On the goods-producing side, construction employment fell by 35,000 during the month, resuming its string of losses after gains of 14,000 in April and 27,000 in March.

    Since December 2007, construction employment has fallen by 1.9 million workers (or roughly 25 percent). On the brighter side, manufacturing payrolls increased by 29,000, driven by broad-based gains in the durables sector, where employment rose for the fifth consecutive month.  Private service-providing employment increased by just 37,000 in May, following gains of 156,000 in April and 101,000 in March. Service-sector employment was again bolstered by an increase in temporary help services (up 31,000), as retail trade payrolls fell 9,000 and financial activities employment edged down 12,000. Average weekly hours of production and nonsupervisory workers continued to improve, ticking up 0.1 hour to 33.5 hours, their highest level since October 2008. Also, factory overtime hours rose 0.2 hour to 4.1 hours, their highest level since the first few months of 2008, which is closing in on their 2004–07 average of 4.4 hours. On the household side, the unemployment rate slipped down to 9.7 percent in May, but that came as 322,000 individuals left the labor force and the labor force participation rate fell 0.2 percentage point (pp) to 65.0 percent. A less noisy barometer of labor market conditions, the employment-to-population ratio, fell 0.2 pp to 58.7 percent in May.
  • 06.04.2010
  • Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
  • Total Discount Window lending dropped by $3.7 billion this week, falling to just over $1 billion outstanding. Other types of lending also continued their decline. Lending that had been extended to more specific markets, often referred to as “nontraditional” lending, is now almost exclusively made up of the outstanding balance for the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF). Facilities outside of TALF that are considered nontraditional have been allowed to expire, and all but $1 billion of their outstanding balances have matured. The 3- to 5-year maturity of the TALF loans, however, will force the balance of that facility to decline more slowly. There was a jump in the central bank liquidity swap lines this week after the European Central Bank took out an extra $5.4 billion in 7-day operations. On the liabilities side, following the end of a reserve maintenance period this week, excess reserves remained fairly stable. There was a relatively small $7 billion drop in excess reserves, which was offset by a jump in the Treasury general account by a similar amount.
  • 06.03.2010
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity was revised down from an annualized pace of 3.6 percent to 2.8 percent in the first quarter, as output was revised down and hours worked were adjusted upward. Still, the year-over-year growth rate in productivity is 6.1 percent, its highest growth rate since 2002:Q1 and only its second occurrence above 6.0 percent since the early 1960?s. Real output was nudged down from 4.4 percent to 4.0 percent in the first quarter, following a 7.0 percent gain in the fourth quarter of last year. Hours worked were revised up from a 0.8 percent increase to 1.1 percent in the first quarter, but are still down 3.0 percent over the past year. Nominal compensation was adjusted down from 1.9 percent to 1.5 percent in the first quarter and was virtually flat after adjusting for price effects. Unit labor costs still fell 1.3 percent during the quarter, compared to a 1.6 percent decline according to the advance estimate. Still, unit labor costs are down a substantial 4.2 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • 06.03.2010
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.2 percent (nonannualized) in April and are now up 18 percent on a year-over-year basis. However, new orders excluding transportation slipped down 0.5 percent in April, following a relatively large 3.8 percent spike in March, and are now up 15.6 percent over the past year. Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft were flat in April after a 2.3 percent increase in March, yet its 12-month growth rate improved from 6.5 percent to 9.0 percent. Manufacturers’ shipments increased 0.6 percent during the month, while inventories rose 0.5 percent. The I/S ratio for manufactured goods continues to decline from its peak reading of 1.46 months in January 2009, slipping down to 1.24 months in April.
  • 06.03.2010
  • Fourth District Employment Conditions
  • The Fourth District’s unemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage point to 10.3 percent for the month of April. The increase in the unemployment rate is attributed to an increase in the number of people employed (0.5 percent) outpacing increases in the number of people unemployed (−1.1 percent) and the labor force (0.3 percent).

    The distribution of unemployment rates among Fourth District counties ranges from 7.9 percent (Fayette County, Kentucky) to 19.1 percent (Magoffin County, Kentucky), with the median county unemployment rate at 11.6 percent. These county-level patterns are reflected in statewide unemployment rates as Ohio and Kentucky have unemployment rates of 10.9 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively, compared to Pennsylvania’s 9.0 percent and West Virginia’s 9.2 percent.

  • 06.02.2010
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) edged down from a recent high of 60.4 in April to an index value of 59.7 in May. However, that slight retrenchment was largely due to a 3.8 point drop in the inventories index to 45.6. Notably, the employment index continued to improve in May, jumping up 1.3 points to an index value of 59.8, its highest level in six years. The other indexes comprising the overall PMI (new orders, production, and supplier deliveries) were little changed during the month, remaining solidly above the ISM’s diffusion index growth threshold of 50.
  • 06.01.2010
  • Construction Spending
  • Total construction spending beat expectations in April, rising 2.7 percent on substantial gains in both private and public construction. Total construction is still 10.5 percent below its year-ago level, though this is entirely due to weakness on the nonresidential side, as residential construction has actually grown 4.6 percent since last April. Private spending increased 2.9 percent over the month, with residential construction gaining 4.4 percent and nonresidential advancing 1.7 percent. Within private residential spending, construction of single-family homes climbed 3.4 percent and is now up about 29 percent from last year, boding well for recovery in that segment of the housing market. Within private nonresidential construction, spending on power structures expanded 5.2 percent and manufacturing structures saw its third consecutive increase, although power structures so far is the only component to exhibit positive year-over-year growth emerging from the recession. April’s 2.4 percent rise in public construction was led by highway and street construction, water supply structures, and sewage and waste disposal. 12-month growth in total public and private construction is still negative, at −13.5 and −4.4 percent, respectively.