Data Updates

Data Updates

June 2012

  • 06.29.2012
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income increased 0.2 percent (nonannualized) in May, following an increase of 0.2 percent in April and 0.4 percent in March. On a year-over-year basis, personal income is up 2.9 percent. Disposable personal income—personal income less current taxes—also increased 0.2 percent in May. After adjusting for price effects, “real” disposable personal income (DPI) rose 0.3 percent during the month, its largest monthly increase since October 2010. The series’ near-term (3-month annualized) growth rate, boosted by May’s increase, jumped up from 1.3 percent to 2.6 percent, which is well above its year-over-year growth rate of 1.1 percent. Real personal consumption expenditures edged up 0.1 percent in May, and has been sluggish in recent months; rising at an annualized rate of a mere 0.4 percent over the past three months, compared to its modest (1.9 percent) year-over-year growth rate. The personal savings rate (as a percent of DPI) edged up to 3.9 percent in May, but is still below its post-recession average of 4.7 percent.
  • 06.29.2012
  • PCE Price Index
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index fell at an annualized rate of 2.2 percent in May, brought down by a relatively sharp decrease in energy prices (−43.4 percent annualized rate). On a year-over-year basis, the headline PCE price index has edged down to 1.5 percent, its slowest growth rate since January 2011. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the “core” PCE price index rose 1.4 percent in May, following a 1.7 percent increase in April. The near-term (three-month annualized growth rate) in the core index has softened a bit—from 2.4 percent in March to 1.8 percent currently. On a year-over-year basis, the series is up 1.8 percent.
  • 06.29.2012
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment was revised down from 74.1 to 73.2 in June, a relatively large (6 point) decline from its level in May. Interestingly, the release noted that nearly all of June’s decline was driven by respondents with household income north of $75,000. These respondents viewed prospects for the economy and their own financial situation as significantly worse (causing a 15.7 index point decline in their respective sentiment index). The sentiment index for respondents with lower incomes was unchanged in June. Despite the drop off in sentiment, median inflation expectations for the short-run (one-year ahead) and longer-term (five-to-ten years ahead) ticked up in June, with each index rising 0.1 percentage point to 3.1 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.
  • 06.28.2012
  • GDP
  • The growth rate of real GDP was unchanged in the first quarter—at 1.9 percent—according to the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That said, we’re due for an Annual Revision (covering data from 2009 to 2012:Q1) alongside the first estimate of second quarter GDP on July 27th, and it’s likely 1.9 percent won’t be the “final” estimate. Even though the top-line was unchanged in this release, there were a few key developments in the details of the report. First, real personal consumption expenditures were revised down from a 2.7 percent to 2.5 percent during this revision, and are down 0.4 percentage points (pp) from the first estimate. All three major components of consumption (durables, nondurables, services) were shaded down. Roughly offsetting the downward revision in consumption, business investment in structures was revised up from a 3.3 percent decrease to a 1.9 percent increase during the revision. Also, residential investment was nudged up from a 19.3 percent gain to a 20.0 percent gain in the first quarter, further outpacing a relatively strong 11.7 percent gain in 2011:Q4. Perhaps not surprisingly, the largest revisions were to net exports. Both the growth rate in real imports and exports were revised down sharply. Export growth fell 3.0 pp during the revision to 4.2 percent (roughly 1.0 pp below the advance estimate). Import growth got knocked down from 6.1 percent to 2.7 percent during the revision. The downward revision to imports more than offset the adjustment to export growth, leading to an increase in the contribution to the change in real GDP from net exports of roughly 0.2 pp.
  • 06.27.2012
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods rose 1.1 percent (nonannualized rate) in May, following a modest downward revision to April’s estimate (down from a 0.1 uptick to a 0.2 percent decrease). Some of May’s increase in new orders can be attributed to a 2.7 percent rise in new orders for transportation equipment (and most of that was aircraft orders). Excluding this category, new orders rose 0.4 percent in May, following declines of 0.6 percent in April and 0.8 percent in March. The near-term trajectory in new orders excluding transportation is decidedly sluggish. It’s 3-month annualized growth rate stands at −3.7 percent, while its 6-month trend is up just 1.5 percent. This near-term softness has weighed on the series’ 12-month growth rate, which has fallen from a recent high of 10.3 percent in February to just 3.8 percent as of May. The near-term outlook for equipment and software investment is often proxied by nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, which rebounded from April’s 1.4 percent decline, rising 1.6 percent in May. Still, its trajectory looks weak, as the year-over-year growth rate in nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft has fallen from a recent high of 12 percent in February to a mere 1.5 percent in May (its slowest growth rate since December 2009). Shipments of durables look a little stronger than new orders. Shipments rose 0.7 percent in May, and strengthening on a year-over-year basis (up 8.7 percent in May compared to a recent low of 5.9 percent in March). Even excluding transportation equipment, shipments are up 6.2 percent over the past year. Inventories grew by 0.5 percent in May and are up 5.8 percent over the past year.
  • 06.26.2012
  • Home Price Indexes
  • Both the 10- and 20-city S&P Case-Shiller housing price composite indexes rose 0.7 percent from March to April. On an annual basis the 10-city composite is down 2.2 percent and the 20-city composite is down 1.86 percent. While annual growth rates are still negative, 18 of the 20 MSAs covered saw prices improve—representing the lowest decline in 15 months. Overall both indexes are back to mid-2003 levels, and four cities, including Cleveland, continue to have average home prices below their January 2000 levels.

    The FHFA housing price index rose 0.8 percent from March to April and 3.0 percent over the past 12-months to an index level of 186.8. Regionally, housing price varied from a 6.5 percent increase in the Mountain Division to a 2.6 decline in the New England Division. Housing prices are now back to May 2004 index levels.

  • 06.25.2012
  • New Home Sales
  • New single-family home sales rose 7.6 percent in May to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 369,000 units sold. On a year-over-year basis, new single-family home sales are up 19.8 percent. Regionally, sales were strongest in the Northeast and South, increasing 36.7 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively, while sales fell in the Midwest (10.6 percent) and West (3.5 percent). The median sales price fell for the second consecutive month, declining 0.6 percent to $234,500 while the average sales price fell even further, declining 3.5 percent $273,900. Finally, the number of new single-family homes for sale rose 0.7 percent to 145,000 units on a seasonally-adjusted basis, representing 4.7 months of supply at the current sales rate.
  • 06.21.2012
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Existing single-family home sales slipped 1.0 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.05 million in May (from 4.09 million in April), but are 10.4 percent above the 3.67 million unit level in May 2011. The median sales price was $182,900 in May, up 5.1 percent from last month and 7.7 percent over the past 12-months. The monthly supply and inventory of available homes for sale rose 1.6 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively. Inventory shortages in certain areas have been building all year, and this slight pullback in monthly home sales is more likely due to supply constraints rather than softening demand.
  • 06.19.2012
  • Housing Starts and Permits
  • Single-family housing starts rose for the fourth consecutive month in May, increasing 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 516,000 units. The improvement in May follows an upwardly revised increase of 4.0 percent in April. On a year-over-year basis, new single-family housing starts are up 26.2 percent. Regionally, housing starts ranged from a 5.4 percent decline in the Midwest to a 14.4 percent increase in the West. New single-family units authorized also improved in May, increasing 4.0 percent to 494,000 seasonally-adjusted annualized units. Moreover, compared to May 2011, new single-family housing units authorized are up 19.9 percent.
  • 06.15.2012
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment decreased to 74.1 in June’s initial report, the index's lowest level since December. This follows an index of 79.3 in May. Unless there is a major upward revision to the initial estimate in the final report, June’s index will mark the first monthly decline in the index since August of last year. Both the current conditions component and the consumer expectations component showed noticeable declines, with conditions falling from 87.2 to 82.1 and expectations falling from 74.3 to 68.9. Inflation expectations remained relatively stable, as median short-run (one-year ahead) expectations were flat from May to June, remaining at 3.0 percent. They are 0.8 percent lower than in June 2011. Longer-term (five-to-ten years ahead) inflation expectations ticked up slightly from 2.7 percent to 2.9 percent.

  • 06.15.2012
  • Industrial Production
  • The industrial production index edged down 0.1 percent in May following a 1.0 percent gain in April. From this time last year, it is up 4.7 percent. The near-term trend (three-month annualized growth) of industrial production has fallen to 1.3 percent from 3.5 percent. Construction had the sharpest monthly decline, falling 1.2 percent after a 0.7 percent increase in April, but it remains up 5.1 percent on a year-over-year basis. Over the past 12 months, business equipment has seen the strongest gains. It is up 11.3 percent, with sizable improvements in all three of its major categories: transit, information processing, and industrial/other. Manufacturing fell 0.4 percent in May after having advanced 0.7 percent in April. Breaking down the monthly manufacturing sector, durable and nondurable goods fell 0.5 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. Durable goods industries with declines of more than 1 percent include: nonmetallic mineral products, primary metals, motor vehicles and parts, and furniture and related products. Wood products showed the largest gain of durable goods, increasing 1.0 percent. Overall capacity utilization declined 0.2 percent to 79.0 percent of capacity, still 1.3 percentage points below its historic average.

  • 06.13.2012
  • Retail Sales
  • Retail sales slipped down 0.2 percent in May, following a sizeable downward revision to April’s estimate (from a 0.1 percent gain to a 0.2 percent decline). The recent weakness has pulled the series’ 3-month annualized growth rate down to −0.1 percent (it’s first dip into negative territory since November 2009), and well below its 12-month growth rate of 5.3 percent. Interestingly, auto sales continued to prop up the headline in May, jumping up 1.0 percent and surprising consensus expectations of a decrease in the sector. Over the past 12 months, auto sales are up 11.0 percent. Excluding autos, retail sales fell 0.4 percent in May following a 0.3 percent decline in April, leaving the series’ 12 month growth rate at 4.3 percent, down 2.5 percentage points since February. Cross-category sales performance was mixed (with a downside tilt) in May, with 5 of the 13 broad sectors posting declines. It’s very likely the some of the recent weakness is price related, as sales at gasoline stations have fallen sharply over the past two months on declining prices at the pump. “Core” retail sales—a cleaner measure of consumer spending trajectory—which excludes autos, building supplies, and gas stations was flat in May and has been trending down since the beginning of the year. While the year-over-year growth rate in core sales is still up 4.8 percent, its near term (3-month annualized) trend has fallen from 8.1 percent through the first 3 months of the year to its slowest growth rate since July 2010.
  • 06.13.2012
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods decreased at an annualized rate of 11.7 percent in May following a 2.4 percent decline in April. Dragged down by sharp decreases in energy prices over the past three months (and a 6.5 percent decrease in foods prices in May), the year-over-year growth rate in the headline PPI has slowed from 4.1 percent in January to just 0.7 percent as of May. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” PPI rose 2.0 percent in May, matching its increase in April, and is now up 2.7 percent over the past year. Further back on the production line, pricing pressure was to the downside, as core intermediate goods prices slipped down 2.4 percent and volatile core crude goods prices fell 15 percent in May.
  • 06.12.2012
  • Import and Export Prices
  • U.S. import prices fell 1.0 percent in May after remaining unchanged in April (down 0.5 percent before revisions). Both lower petroleum and nonpetroleum prices contributed to the decline meaning that weaker foreign prices have the potential to weigh on the domestic price level in the coming months should the downward movements persist. Petroleum prices fell 4.2 percent marking the largest monthly decline in two years while nonpetroleum prices edged down 0.1 percent. On a year-over-year basis, import prices fell 0.3 percent, the first yearly decline since October 2009. Petroleum prices (down 2.0 percent) also turned negative for the first time since the second quarter of 2009. Despite nonpetroleum prices remaining in positive territory, May’s 0.3 percent yearly advance is the smallest gain since the fourth quarter of 2009.

    Export prices fell 0.5 percent in May after rising 0.4 percent in April. Although agricultural prices rose 0.7 percent, nonagricultural prices fell by 0.5 percent contributing to the decline in the overall export index. On a year-over-year basis, export prices ticked down 0.1 percent, also decreasing for the first time since October 2009.

  • 06.08.2012
  • Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
  • In May, the New York Fed agreed to sell another collateralized debt obligation (CDO) from the Maiden Lane III portfolio. The securities were auctioned off, and the details will be reflected in the next quarterly report scheduled for July 16, 2012. Combined with an asset sale in April, the outstanding loan balance for Maiden Lane III now stands at just under $3 billion, and the portfolio value remains just over $15 billion. During the last week of May, the outstanding balance of dollar liquidity swaps rose for the first time since March, but the balance still remains close to its lowest point since last December. The Treasury purchase schedule for June was released, again with slightly more purchases planned than sales.
  • 06.08.2012
  • International Trade
  • In April, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed by $2.5 billion to −$50.2 billion, down from March’s upwardly revised $52.6 ($51.8, previously). The narrowing was driven by declines in both imports and exports with the former dropping $4.1 billion to $233.0 billion ($237.1 billion, previously) and the later falling $1.5 billion to a level of $182.9 billion ($184.4, previously). April’s decreases come after record jumps in both imports and exports last month. On a year-over-year basis, imports posted gains of 6.3 percent, down from March’s 8.2 percent climb. Exports rose 4.2 percent, also down from a 5.9 percent pace in March. Annual revisions to data from January 2009 to March 2012 were incorporated into this release which showed little alteration to overall trends, but revised down the trade deficit for 2009 and 2010 by 0.6 percent and 1.1 percent.
  • 06.07.2012
  • Consumer Credit
  • Total consumer credit rose for the eighth consecutive month in April, improving 0.3 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis. April’s improvement follows upward revisions total consumer credit in February (up $11 billion) and March (up $2.1 billion). Compared to April 2011, total consumer credit outstanding is up 4.8 percent. Growth in total consumer credit in April was driven by an increase in nonrevolving credit which improved 0.6 percent. Compared to April 2011, nonrevolving credit outstanding is up 6.6 percent, the largest annual increase since August 2005. Comparatively, revolving credit fell 0.4 percent in April but is up 1.3 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • 06.05.2012
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity—real output per hour of all persons—declined faster than originally estimated in the first quarter of 2012, decreasing at an annualized rate of 0.9 percent after being revised down from a 0.5 percent drop. Over the past four quarters, productivity growth has slowed to just 0.4 percent. The revisions were the result of a 0.3 percentage point decline in output, which grew 2.4 percent in the first quarter, and a slight tick up in the rate at which hours worked grew. Hourly compensation was heavily revised in both the first quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2011. In the first quarter, compensation grew at a revised rate of 0.4 percent (1.5 percent initially), while the fourth quarter compensation numbers tumbled from a 3.9 percent gain to a 0.4 percent fall. After adjusting for price changes, real hourly compensation has now fallen 2.0 percent in the first quarter following a 1.6 percent drop in the fourth quarter. Unit labor costs were dragged down by the lower compensation numbers, increasing just 1.3 percent in the first quarter (after a 0.7 percentage point downward revision) and declining 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter. The four-quarter growth rate dropped from 2.0 percent to 0.9 percent in the first quarter, hitting its lowest mark since 2010.
  • 06.04.2012
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods decreased 0.6 percent (nonannualized) in April, following a decrease of 2.1 percent in March. This month’s decrease kept the near-term trend (3-month annualized growth rate) negative at −4.7 percent following a reading of −9.8 percent last month. Year-over-year growth rates continue to slow, at 3.5 percent. Excluding transportation, new orders were down 1.1 percent following a downwardly revised March estimate of −0.7 percent. New orders for durable goods were little changed for the month following a downwardly revised March estimate of −23.8 percent. Nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders, considered a leading indicator of business investment spending, fell 2.1 percent for the month while its 3-month annualized growth rate, −6.3 percent, posted two consecutive months of declines for the first time since late spring 2009. Shipments of manufactured goods declined 0.3 percent for the month, while its 3-month annualized growth rate has fallen to 0.5 percent (from 7.0 percent in February). Unfilled orders were little changed in April, falling 0.1 percent. Inventories, up two of the last 23 months, continue to accumulate, however the inventory/sales ratio has remained stable at 1.28.
  • 06.01.2012
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell from 54.8 to 53.5 in May, almost entirely reversing April’s increase. All but one component of the index decreased during the month. Production posted the biggest fall, dropping from 61.0 to 55.6 after two straight months of gains. Inventories also continued to fall, decreasing for the second time in as many months. The inventories index declined from 48.5 in April to 46.0 in May. Smaller declines were also realized in the employment index, down 0.4 point to 56.9, and the supplier deliveries index, now at 48.7 after a 0.5 point drop in May. The only increase occurred in the new orders index, which added 1.9 points to an index level of 60.1. The prices index (which is not seasonally adjusted and does not enter into the overall PMI) tumbled in May, falling 13.5 points to 47.5. This is the lowest level since December 2011, and it also represents a decline in the price of raw materials.
  • 06.01.2012
  • Employment Situation
  • Nonfarm payrolls rose just 69,000 in May, following a downwardly revised 77,000 (from 115,000) increase in April. March’s payrolls estimate was also nudged a little lower—from 154,000 to 143,000. Moreover, the downward revisions to March and April were entirely on the private payrolls side (revised down by 62,000) compared to a slight upward revision in government payrolls (adding 13,000). Payroll growth now looks to have slowed considerably from its average monthly gain of 226,000 in the first quarter. The recent fall-off in momentum does appear consistent with the story that first quarter performance was inflated by mild weather and mismeasured seasonals, which may take a little sting out of this report. Nevertheless, if we smooth over the last six reports, payrolls are just averaging a 174,000 gain per month. Goods-producing payrolls slipped by 15,000 in May, its first monthly decline since last August. That decline was due to a relatively sharp 28,000 decrease in construction payrolls. Manufacturing (of durable goods in particular) seems to be the one bright spot on the establishment side of this report. Manufacturing payrolls rose 12,000, roughly in line with its 12 month average gain of 19,000. Durables manufacturing rose 13,000, in large part due to a healthy boost (6,000) from autos manufacturing. Private service-providing payrolls rose 97,000, slightly up from an increase of 83,000 in April, but well below its first quarter average gain of 179,000.

    Professional and business services employment looked particularly weak, falling 1,000 in May (despite a 9,000 boost from temp help employment), and contrasting its 12 month average gain of roughly 50,000. Also, leisure and hospitality payrolls fell for the second straight month, edging down 9,000 in May and breaking from its 12 month average gain of 25,000. Government payrolls, which have fallen in every month since July 2010, slipped down 17,000 in May. There was more bad news in hours and earnings. Average weekly hours edged down 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in May, and are now down 0.2 hours after reaching a post-recession high (and even with its December 2007 level) of 34.6 hours in February. Perhaps the more striking development was the 0.3 hour decline in the average manufacturing workweek (from 40.8 hours to 40.5 hours), only its second decline of that magnitude since the end of the recession. Manufacturing overtime hours edged down 0.1 hour in May. Also, average weekly earnings slipped down 1.7 percent in May, its sharpest decline since last August. On the household side, the unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage point to 8.2 percent in May, as the civilian labor force jumped up 642,000 (more than reversing a 500,000 exodus over the previous 2 months), and outpaced a 422,000 rise in the number of employed persons. Reflecting the bounce back in employment during May, the employment-to-population ratio did rise 0.2 percentage points to 58.6, though that's still 0.8 percentage points below its level at the end of the previous recession (June 2009).

  • 06.01.2012
  • Construction Spending
  • After upward revisions to both February and March, private construction was up 1.2 percent over the month in April to $549.7 billion. Residential construction showed improvement of 2.8 percent (nonannualized) over last month and 7.5 percent over the year. Spending on new multi-family homes and improvements increased over April, 4.1 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. Multi-family spending increased 31.4 percent over the last year. Nonresidential was up 17.4 percent from April 2011 levels, but had a slight 0.2 percent fall back over the month. The largest monthly growth components were healthcare and commercial structures. Manufacturing has had the largest yearly growth of 26.8 percent even with the set back of 4.6 percent last month. All sectors continue their flat, but slightly upward trend.
  • 06.01.2012
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income increased 0.2 percent (nonannualized) in April, following a 0.4 percent increase in March, and was up 2.8 percent since last year. This release also included revised data for the fourth quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year due to new wage and salary information from the QECW. Nominal personal income for the past two quarters were revised down a bit, with the fourth quarter average year-over-year change dropping from 4.6 percent to 4.2 percent, and the average year-over-year change for the first quarter dropping from 3.4 percent to 2.9 percent. Disposable personal income—personal income less current taxes—increased 0.2 percent as well, following an increase of 0.4 percent in March. “Rea” disposable personal income (DPI adjusted for price changes) increased 0.2 percent in April. On a year-over-year basis, “real” DPI was up 0.7 percent, which is the largest year-over-year increase since last September. “Real” personal consumption expenditures increased 0.3 percent in April after being flat in March. Since last April, consumption was up 2.1 percent, which is the first time the year-over-year change in consumption has been over 2.0 percent since September 2011. This helped pull the near-term (3-month) trend in consumption up from 1.8 to 1.9 percent. Consumption of goods improved after last month’s decrease of 0.1 percent, increasing 0.4 percent for the month, while services consumption increased 0.2 percent. The personal savings rate decreased to 3.4 percent in April compared with 3.5 percent in March.
  • 06.01.2012
  • PCE Price Index
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index increased at an annualized rate of 0.2 percent in April, following a 2.5 percent increase in March, and much lower than the first quarter average of 3.1 percent. The headline index was up 1.8 percent on a year-over-year basis. The “core” PCE price index—which excludes food and energy prices—was up 1.6 percent in April after increasing 1.8 percent in March. The divergence between the headline and “core” measures was caused primarily by a decrease in the energy goods and services index of 19.6 percent in April, which would be reflected in the headline measure and not the “core” measure. Since last April, “core” PCE prices are up 1.9 percent, which roughly matches the year-over-year percentage gains in each of the last five months. The market-based “core” PCE price index—which excludes most imputed prices—increased at an annualized rate of 1.5 percent, following an increase of 1.8 percent in March, and was up 1.9 percent over last year.