Data Updates

Data Updates

June 2011

  • 06.28.2011
  • Home Price Indexes
  • From March to April the S&P Case-Shiller 10– and 20–city composite home price indexes reported positive monthly growth for the first time in eight months—up 0.8 and 0.7 percent, respectively. However, on an annual basis both indexes remain in negative territory and six of the 20-city composite showed new index lows in April: Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, and Tampa. The seasonally adjusted numbers reveal that much of the perceived improvements simply reflect the beginning of the spring-summer home buying season. Although foreclosures remain a large factor in most parts of the country, the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default indexes show a small decline in the pace of new defaults since last November as banks tighten lending standards and lengthen the foreclosure process. While both the 10- and 20-city composite indices are down over 30 percent from their 2006 peaks they have gained 1.4 and .07 percent from their 2009 troughs.

    The FHFA national home price index also rose 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from March to April, yet is still down 5.7 percent from April of 2010. Across all nine Census Divisions, prices remain down on a year-over-year basis, while monthly price changes from March to April ranged from a decline of 1.3 percent in the Mountain Division to a 2.2 percent increase in the New England Division. Overall, home prices are continuing an upward struggle and are nearly the same as January 2004 levels. Despite gradual improvements to the national housing markets we would need to see several months of growth to shift the annual momentum to the positive side.

  • 06.27.2011
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income rose 0.3 percent (non-annualized) in May, after similar increases in March and April. On a year-over-year basis, personal income is up 4.2 percent. Disposable personal income increased 0.2 percent in May, following a downwardly revised 0.3 percent increase in April. After adjusting for price changes, “real” disposable personal income ticked up 0.1 percent in May, reversing a 0.1 percent decrease in April. Real disposable income hasn't posted a gain above 0.1 percent so far this year, and is up just 0.6 percent over the past 12 months. Real personal consumption expenditures fell 0.1 percent in May, matching a downwardly revised 0.1 percent decrease in April. However, the release noted that much of the softness in consumption over the last two months was tied to purchases of motor vehicles and parts (likely impacted by supply disruptions connected to the Japanese tsunami). Still, abstracting from durables purchases, the 6-month annualized trend in both nondurables and services is somewhat pessimistic, up just 0.2 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. Overall consumption expenditures are up just 1.1 percent over the past 6 months, and 2.1 percent over the past year.
  • 06.27.2011
  • Personal Consumption Expenditure
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) price index rose at an annualized rate of 2.1 percent in May, as energy prices decreased for the first time since June 2010. Over the past year, PCE prices are up 2.5. percent. Underlying inflation as measured by the core PCE accelerated in May, rising 3.1 percent—its largest monthly increase since October 2009—helping to push up its near-term (3-month) annualized growth rate from 2.0 percent in April to 2.4 percent in May. Still, core PCE prices are up just 1.2 percent over the past year.
  • 06.24.2011
  • GDP
  • Real GDP was revised up by 0.1 percentage points (pp) to 1.9 percent in the first quarter, according to the third estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The revision was primarily due to a downward revision to imports and an upward adjustment to private inventories that was mostly offset by downward revisions to exports, BFI, and state and local government spending. The largest category, consumption, was essentially unrevised from the second estimate, increasing 2.2 percent in the first quarter, compared to 4.0 percent in the fourth quarter. Real imports were revised down in the first quarter from a 7.6 percent gain to a 5.1 percent increase. Since imports enter into GDP accounting as a negative, the knockdown in the growth rate added nearly 0.4 pp to real GDP growth in the first quarter. Private inventories swelled by a little more than previously estimated, adding 0.1 pp to output growth. The contribution to first quarter output growth from business fixed investment was knocked down by 0.1 pp during the revision as the increase in equipment and software investment was revised down from 11.6 percent to 8.7 percent. Real export growth was revised down from 9.2 percent to 7.7 percent in the first quarter. Also, real government spending subtracted an additional 0.1 pp (1.2 pp in total) after the revision, largely as state and local government spending (already a drag on growth) was revised down from a 3.1 percent decrease to a 4.1 percent decline.
  • 06.24.2011
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durables increased 1.9 percent in May, after plunging 2.7 percent in April (though that decrease was revised up from a 3.6 percent decline). Over the past year, new orders are up 9.0 percent. Excluding transportation, durables orders more than reversed a 0.4 percent decline in April, rising 0.6 percent in May, and are now up 7.2 percent on a year-over-year basis. An important signal of future equipment and software investment—new orders of nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft—increased 1.6 percent in May, compared to a 0.8 percent decrease April. The series has increased in just two of the past five months, but is still up 10.5 percent over the past year. Shipments of durables, after 1.4 percent in April (its first decrease in five months), ticked up 0.3 percent in May. Durables inventories continued to swell, rising by 1.2 percent in May. Inventories are now up 13 percent over the past year (its highest growth rate since the early 1980s).
  • 06.23.2011
  • New Home Single-Family Homes
  • Sales of new single-family homes fell 2.1 percent in May to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 319,000. May’s decline follows an upwardly revised increase of 6.5 percent in April. On a year-over-year basis, sales of new single-family homes were up 13.5 percent in May, representing the first year-over-year increase since April 2010. The South region was the only region where sales of new single-family homes improved, increasing 2.4 percent. Sales of new single-family homes were flat in the Midwest region whiles sales declined in the Northeast and West regions by 26.7 percent and 3.5 percent respectively. Despite the slowdown in new single-family home sales, the median sales price of new single-family homes improved 2.6 percent in May to $222,600. The number of new single-family homes for sale declined 2.3 percent 167,000 units, representing 5.6 months of supply at the current sales rate.
  • 06.21.2011
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Existing single-family home sales fell 3.2 percent to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 4.24 million units sold in May. This is a drop from the downwardly revised 4.38 million units sold in April and a 15.4 percent decline from May of 2010. The median price of existing single-family homes rose to the highest level of the year to $166,700 in May, however this is down 4.5 percent from median price of homes this time last year. Throughout the nation, the Midwest experienced the greatest decrease as homes sales and prices fell 23.1 and 8.0 percent, respectively from last year. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) believes that it was temporary factors (such as the rise in gasoline prices and severe weather in April) that held back closings in May. Going forward, the NAR expects the second half of the year to be much stronger than both the first half of this year and the second half of 2010 despite stricter standards within the lending community.
  • 06.17.2011
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • According to the latest release from the University of Michigan, its Index of Consumer Sentiment slipped down from an index level of 74.3 in May to 71.8 in June, but remains up from 69.8 in April. Both the current conditions and expectations components decreased during the month. The current conditions component fell from 81.9 to 79.6 in June and is now below 80 for the first time since last October. Consumer expectations decreased from 69.5 to 66.8 in June as pessimism over future income and employment prospects grew. Median year-ahead inflation expectations edged down from 4.1 percent to 4.0 percent in June, while longer-term (5- to 10-year) median inflation expectations ticked up 0.1 percentage points to 3.0 percent.
  • 06.16.2011
  • Housing Starts
  • Single-family housing starts rose 3.7 percent in May, following an upwardly revised 3.3 percent decline in April. The pace of single-family housing starts improved to 419,000 annualized units but remains 8.9 percent below May 2010’s pace. Single-family housing starts improved in the Midwest, South, and West regions 12.5 percent, 1.9 percent, and 15.6 percent respectively while single-family housing starts declined 19.1 percent in the Northeast. Housing permits also improved in May, increasing 2.5 percent to 405,000 annualized units but remains 6.9 percent below May 2010’s level of 435,000 annualized units.
  • 06.16.2011
  • Current Account
  • In the first quarter of 2011, the U.S. current account deficit increased to $119.3 billion, widening by $7.1 billion from the fourth quarter’s revised $112.2 billion (previously $113.3 billion). As a percentage of GDP, current account grew to 3.2 percent in the first quarter, up from 3.0 percent in the fourth quarter. The first quarter expansion of the current account deficit was caused by an increase in the deficit on goods and services, which advanced $22.1 billion from $118.7 billion to total $140.8 billion. Driving the deterioration of the deficit of goods and services—or trade gap—was a $23.3 billion jump in the goods deficit from $159.2 billion to $182.5 billion. The combination of an increase in surplus on income to $54.8 billion from $39.9 billion, an advance of surplus on services to $41.7 billion from $40.5 billion, and a decrease in net unilateral transfers to $33.2 billion from $33.4 billion partially offset the expansion of the trade gap and prevented a larger deterioration of the current account deficit.
  • 06.15.2011
  • CPI
  • The CPI rose at an annualized rate of 2.0 percent in May, settling down after five months of gasoline fueled increases that have left its near-term (6-month annualized) growth rate at an elevated 5.1 percent. Over the past year, the CPI is up 3.6 percent. Gasoline prices slipped down 21.1 percent in May, falling for the first time since last June, helping to pull overall energy prices down 11.2 percent during the month (household energy prices rose 5.9 percent in May, slightly less than over the past three months). Food prices rose 4.3 percent in May, roughly in line with its 12-month growth rate of 3.5 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the (“core”) CPI jumped up 3.5 percent in May—its sharpest monthly increase since May 2006—helping to push its near-term (3-month annualized) growth rate up from 2.1 percent to 2.5 percent and add 0.2 percentage points to its 12-month growth rate (which now stands at 1.5 percent). Measures of underlying inflation trends produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland—the median and 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI—rose 2.1 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively, matching their respective 6-month trends. Over the past 12 months, the median CPI is up 1.5 percent and the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI is up 1.9 percent. Another forward-looking measure of inflation—the sticky price CPI—rose just 1.7 percent in May, and is up 1.4 percent over the past year.
  • 06.15.2011
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production remains in a slump after the supply chain disruption caused by the natural disasters in Japan and the Southern United States. After having nearly zero gain in April, total production in May ticked up only 0.1 percent. While manufacturing, durables, and outdoor mining production rose by 0.4, 0.22, and 0.5 percent, respectively, the production of consumer goods, autos, and utilities fell by 0.1, 0.5, and 2.8 percent, respectively. Capacity utilization for the total industry also remains flat for the second month at 76.7 percent, 3.4 percent higher than May of 2010. Overall total industrial production is at 93 percent of its 2007 average and down 3.7 percent from the historical average from 1972-2010.
  • 06.14.2011
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods rose at an annualized rate of 2.5 percent in May, compared to an 11.5 percent growth rate over the previous six months and a 12-month growth rate of 7.3 percent. Producer prices for energy goods rose 19.8 percent during the month and accounted for most of the headline increase, but that was the smallest monthly increase in energy goods over the past 8 months. Interestingly, producer prices for finished consumer foods fell 16 percent in May and are up 4.0 percent over the past year. Excluding volatile food and energy items, producer prices increased 2.1 percent in May, matching its 12-month growth rate. At earlier stages of production, pricing pressure was mixed, as core intermediate goods rose 11.2 percent and core crude goods slipped down 10.2 percent in May.
  • 06.14.2011
  • Retails Sales
  • Retail sales slipped down 0.2 percent in May following a 0.3 percent gain in April. On a year-over-year basis, retail sales are up 7.7 percent. Performance was mixed across broad categories. Notably, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers fell 2.9 percent in May after a 0.7 percent decrease in April, dragging down the headline series (which rose 0.3 percent in May after excluding this category). Nominal sales at gasoline stations edged up 0.3 percent in May (likely as gasoline prices stabilized), compared to its 12-month (price-induced) 22.3 percent gain. Elsewhere, sales at furniture and home furnishing stores and electronics and appliance stores fell for the second consecutive month, decreasing 0.7 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively, in May. Nominal sales in May also fell at food and beverage stores (down 0.5 percent), sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (down 0.4 percent), and general merchandise stores (down 0.1 percent). Sales at the remaining 7 (out of 13) broad categories were up in May, led by miscellaneous store retailers (up 2.1 percent), nonstore retailers (up 1.2 percent), and health and personal care stores (up 0.8 percent). An alternative gauge of retail spending—“core” retail sales (sales excluding autos, building supplies, and gas stations)—edged up just 0.2 percent during the month, its smallest increase over the past five months. The near-term (3-month) annualized growth rate in core retail sales has slipped a bit in recent months—from 10.2 percent in March to 4.7 percent through May, and is now trending slightly below its year-over-year growth rate of 6.1 percent.
  • 06.10.2011
  • U.S. Trade Prices
  • In May, U.S. import prices rose a modest 0.2 percent, down from April’s revised 2.1 percent gain. May marks the first month since October 2010 that import prices failed to increase by more than 1 percent. On a year-over-year basis, import prices continued to advance 12.5, marking the highest increase since September 2008. Non-oil import prices rose 0.4 percent, down slightly from April’s 0.6 percent advance. On a year-over-year basis, non-oil prices increased 4.4 percent. The slowing of overall import prices can be attributed to offsetting factors of rising non-oil prices (up 0.4 percent) and declining fuel prices (down 0.2 percent). Although fuel import prices declined on a monthly basis, they were up 42.3 percent year-over-year which contributed to the double digit gains in year-over-year import prices. Rising prices in industrial supplies and materials as well as finished goods offset falling food, feed, and beverage prices, contributing to the slight gains in non-oil import prices for May.

    U.S. export prices rose 0.2 percent in May, down from April?s revised 0.9 percent advance. On a year-over-year basis, export prices rose 9 percent, down from April’s 9.6 percent gain. Rising nonagricultural export prices (up 0.5 percent), were offset by falling agricultural export prices (down 2.0 percent) to contribute to May’s moderate gains in overall export prices.

  • 06.09.2011
  • U.S. Trade
  • The U.S. trade deficit narrowed 6.7 percent to $43.7 billion in April, decreasing by $3.1 billion from March’s revised $46.8 (previously $48.2 billion). Imports decreased $1 billion to $219.2 billion while exports continued to expand, posting gains of $2.2 billion to total $175.6 billion. April’s modest 0.4 percent decrease in imports reflects a downturn from March’s robust 4.9 percent gains. On a year-over-year basis, however, imports were up by 15.9 percent. The contraction of imports from March to April can be attributed to decreased volume of petroleum imports (down 11 percent) as well as decreased imports of automotive vehicles (down 13.2 percent). Imports from Japan—another major factor to April’s import decrease—fell by a record $3.0 billion from the previous month. Exports edged up 1.3 percent in April and advanced 18.8 percent from a year ago, continuing to surpass their 2008 peak of $165.7 billion. April’s gains stem from more record setting numbers in both exports of goods ($126.4 billion) and exports of services ($49.1 billion). Other major categories contributing to the advance include increases in exports of industrial supplies (2.7 percent) and capital goods (2.9 percent).
  • 06.07.2011
  • Consumer Credit
  • Total consumer credit outstanding rose for the seventh consecutive month in April, increasing 0.26 percent. The improvement follows a downwardly revised increase of 0.20 percent in March. On a year-over-year basis, total consumer credit outstanding increased for the first time since March 2009, rising 0.55 percent. The improvement in consumer credit outstanding was driven by continued growth in non-revolving accounts, which rose 0.44 percent in April. Revolving accounts declined 0.13 percent in April after increasing 0.01 percent increase in March.
  • 06.03.2011
  • The Employment Situation
  • Nonfarm payrolls were little changed in May, rising just 54,000 and coming in well below consensus expectations. Revisions to the past two months data were also disappointing, as nonfarm payrolls were revised down in April and March by 39,000 (29,000 of that came from private payrolls). May’s performance looks like a clear break from the recent past, as average gain in nonfarm payrolls over the prior three months was 220,000. However, since the official end of the recession 23 months ago, nonfarm payroll employment has increased just 550,000, while private payrolls have gained nearly 1 million workers. Goods-producing payrolls were virtually unchanged in May (up 3,000), following an average gain of 53,000 over the prior three months. Construction employment increased 2,000 in May, while mining and logging payrolls rose by 6,000. Manufacturing payrolls, which have swelled by 160,000 in the past six months, slipped down 5,000 during the month, in concert with the recent dour reports on the sector. Private service-providing employment rose 80,000 in May, following stronger readings in April (up 213,000) and March (up 179,000). Retail trade employment, which has been bouncing around noisily over the past six months or so, slipped down by 8,500 in May after a relatively strong 64,000 gain in April (behavior characteristic of either seasonal adjustment issues or mismeasurement ). Smoothing over the last three months, retail trade payrolls are averaging a gain of 16,600, compared to an average increase of 9,000 over the past 12 months. Professional & business services payrolls posted the largest increase across broad service industry categories in May, rising 44,000 and doing so without a boost from temporary help services, which fell slightly for the second consecutive month.

    Elsewhere, education and health services employment continued its acyclical upward trend (rising 34,000), while leisure and hospitality employment edged down 6,000, contrasting rather robust gains over the prior three months (totaling 132,000). Average weekly hours of private employees were unchanged at 34.4 hours in May, but average hourly earnings ticked up 6 cents an hour to $22.98/hour. Unfortunately, the breadth of the expansion in payrolls appeared to falter in May, as the one-month diffusion index fell from 65.0 to 53.6 (indicating that just over half of private industries added to their payrolls during the month). On the household side of the report, the unemployment rate edged up from 9.0 percent to 9.1 percent in May as the number of unemployed persons and the labor force ticked up slightly. The employment-to-population ratio remained at 58.4 percent and is essentially unchanged over the past five months.

  • 06.03.2011
  • Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
  • Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, larger trends in the balance sheet have continued in June. Purchases of Treasury securities continue to grow at a steep pace due to the second round of large-scale asset purchases and the reinvestment of maturing agency securities. Treasury purchases related to large-scale purchasing programs have now grown from just over $320 billion in August 2010 to $1.04 trillion this week. “Lending to financial institutions,” which incorporates programs that acted as an expansion of the discount window, has remained fairly flat over that same time period, bouncing around between $125 billion and $150 billion. Programs that were extended to new markets, like money market funds and commercial paper, have been declining since August 2010. Falling under “providing liquidity to key credit markets,” these programs have dropped from nearly $110 billion to just under $78 billion. One final note, the counterparties for the Fed’s reverse repurchase agreement operations have now been expanded to include government sponsored enterprises. Eligible institutions would include both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as all Federal Home Loan Banks.
  • 06.02.2011
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity—real output per hour of all persons—rose at a revised annualized rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter 2011, up from an initial 1.6 percent gain, but still slipping from a 2.9 percent gain in the fourth quarter 2010. Productivity advanced just 1.3 percent over the past four quarters. The upward productivity revision in the first quarter came after a bump in first-quarter output, from 3.1 percent to 3.2 percent. Hours remained unchanged after revisions, growing at an annualized rate of 1.4 percent. Hourly compensation increased 2.5 percent in the first quarter, coming in just below the original first-quarter estimate of 2.6 percent. After adjusting for price changes, real compensation was notched down 0.1 percentage point to a 2.6 percent drop. Hourly compensation, both nominal and real, was also revised down sharply in the fourth quarter of 2010. The nominal fourth-quarter gain fell from 1.9 percent to 0.1 percent, and the real measure was revised down from a 0.8 percent decrease to a 2.6 percent decline, helping to push the real measure from a 0.3 percent increase to a 0.2 percent decline on a year-over-year basis. After revisions, unit labor costs—compensation per hour divided by output per hour—are now estimated to have grown 0.7 percent in the first quarter rather than 1.0 percent, and the year-over-year estimate has fallen from a 1.2 percent gain to a softer 0.7 percent increase.
  • 06.02.2011
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods decreased 1.2 percent (nonannualized) in April. Year-over-year new order growth rose 10.5 percent, down from 13.8 percent in March. New orders for nondefense capital goods decreased 7.1 percent in April and increased 4.9 percent on a year over year basis. Durable goods orders decreased 3.6 percent while nondurables rose 0.7 percent in April. Shipments of manufactured goods fell 0.2 percent in April. In April, inventory stocks continued to accumulate, increasing 1.3 percent and are up 12.3 percent over the past year.
  • 06.01.2011
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • It appears that the manufacturing sector is not immune to the weakness that has been creeping into other areas of the economy, as the ISM’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) plummeted 6.9 points to 53.5 in May (its largest monthly decrease since January 1984). While the index remains above 50 (the growth threshold for this diffusion index), its level slipped to a 21-month low (back to September 2009). Every subindex that enters into the overall PMI registered decreases in May, led by a 10.7 point drop in the new orders index (from 61.7 in April to 51.0 in May) and a 9.8 point decrease in the production index (falling to 54.0). The employment index fell 4.5 points to 58.2 in May, but remains high relative to its 20-year average level (48.4). Also, the manufacturing index slipped from 53.6 to 48.7 in May. Perhaps the only positive sign in the report was that the prices index (which is not seasonally adjusted and does not enter into the overall PMI) decreased for the first time in six months, falling from 85.5 in April to 76.5 in May.
  • 06.01.2011
  • Construction Spending
  • In April, private construction ticked up slightly for a gain of 1.7 percent over the month. While spending is down about 10 percent over the year, the April increase is the largest we’ve seen in five months. Both residential and nonresidential construction spending posted gains over the month, but residential came in much stronger (up 3 percent over the month) than nonresidential (up 0.5 percent over the month). All of the gains in residential spending came through home improvement spending, which was up 7.6 percent over the month from a downwardly revised March number. Interestingly, spending on home improvements is down as much as spending on new housing over the year, about 12 percent. On the nonresidential side, six industries were down over the month while five were up, bringing the topside number to $250.8 billion (seasonally adjusted annual rate). Nonresidential spending is currently around levels last seen in 2005. Notably, manufacturing experienced a small decrease over the month, after increasing in February and March.