Data Updates

Data Updates

August 2010

  • 08.31.2010
  • Home Price Indexes
  • The national S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index rose 2.3 percent in the second quarter, reversing the first quarter’s 1.1 percent decline and marking the largest quarterly price increase since the fourth quarter of 2005. The index has advanced in all but one quarter this past year, boosting year-over-year growth further out of the red, to 3.6 percent. However, since second-quarter data include transactions in April and May, which were aided by the government stimulus, performance in the third quarter is not expected to be as strong. The monthly 10-city and 20-city composite price indexes continued to climb, but both slowed from 0.5 percent growth in May to 0.3 percent in June. The 12-month growth rates for both also calmed a little, from 5.4 percent to 5.0 percent for the 10-city index, and from 4.6 percent to 4.2 in the 20-city index.

    Meanwhile, the other major home price index, published by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), also posted second-quarter growth. The FHFA’s Purchase-Only House Price Index advanced a moderate 0.9 percent, ending the parade of quarterly declines begun back in the third quarter of 2007. Year-over-year growth remained in negative territory but improved mildly, from −3.2 percent to −1.6 percent, and has risen from a trough of −8.3 percent in the last quarter of 2008. The FHFA’s monthly home price index, however, posted its first decline in three months, slipping 0.3 percent in June after increasing 0.4 percent in May.

  • 08.30.2010
  • Personal Consumption Expenditures
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) price index rose at an annualized rate of 2.9 percent in July, as energy prices jumped up 35.9 percent. Excluding food and energy prices (core PCE), the index increased 1.3 percent, compared to a 0.5 percent rise in June. Its 3-month annualized growth rate currently stands at 1.0 percent, 0.4 percentage point below its longer-term (12-month) growth rate.
  • 08.30.2010
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income ticked up 0.2 percent in July, after being unchanged in June. Yet, its 12-month growth rate rose from 2.4 percent in June to 3.0 percent. Nominal disposable income rose 0.2 percent in July. However, after accounting for price effects, “real” disposable personal income slipped 0.1 percent during the month. Over the past year, the series is up 1.4 percent. Real personal consumption rose 0.2 percent during the month, its third straight monthly increase, pulling its 3-month annualized growth rate up from 1.1 percent to 2.1 percent, slightly above its longer-run (12-month) growth rate of 1.9 percent. With the increase in consumption outpacing disposable income growth, the personal saving rate ticked down from 6.2 percent to 5.9 percent in July.
  • 08.27.2010
  • Real GDP
  • Real GDP was revised down in the second quarter, from an annualized growth rate of 2.4 percent to 1.6 percent, faring slightly better than most expectations. The downward revision was primarily the result of downward adjustments to inventory investment and exports, and an upward revision to imports. Private inventory accumulation was knocked down by $12.5 billion, pulling its contribution to output growth down from 1.1 percentage points (pp) to 0.6 pp in the second quarter. Residential investment was virtually untouched, as was the headline growth rate in business fixed investment, though its composition changed. Private investment in equipment and software was revised up from an increase of 21.9 percent to 24.9 percent (now its strongest quarterly growth rate since the mid-1980s). Investment in structures was revised down from a gain of 5.1 percent to nearly flat growth (0.4 percent) in the second quarter. Still, that is a marked improvement over a loss of 17.8 percent in the first quarter. The concurrent downward adjustment to exports and upward revision to imports subtracted an additional 0.6 pp over the advance estimate and left the contribution from net exports at −3.4 pp.

    Much of the overall downward revision to real GDP growth was “as expected,” though there was at least one positive development. Personal consumption expenditures were revised up from a 1.6 percent increase to a gain of 2.0 percent, adding an additional 0.2 pp to growth. Now the second quarter growth rate in consumption is slightly higher than the 1.9 percent gain in the first quarter, compared to a previous deceleration. Final sales (GDP less inventories)—a somewhat clearer picture of demand—rose 1.0 percent in the second quarter, compared to 1.1 percent in the first, and its four-quarter growth rate rose from 0.9 percent to 1.1 percent. Also with the second estimate, we get our first look at Gross Domestic Income—a measure of aggregate demand that uses information from the income side of the accounts, including corporate profits and other data from the IRS. Real GDI rose 2.3 percent in the second quarter, though that is a deceleration from a 4.1 percent gain in the first quarter. However, its year-over-year growth rate improved from 2.2 percent to 3.2 percent, which is firmer ground than final sales would suggest.

  • 08.27.2010
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment was revised down slightly in August--from an index value of 69.6 to 68.9--according to the final report. While this is an improvement from a dip down to 67.8 in July, it is still close to the lows seen during the middle of last year. A large part of the floundering in the overall index has been the lack of a rebound in the consumer expectations component--which stands at 62.9 currently after a brief foray near 70, remaining stubbornly near levels from the last April (63.1). One year-ahead average inflation expectations were revised down from 3.4 percent to 3.2 percent during the revision in August, leaving expectations 0.1 percentage points below July's reading. Longer-term (5-10 year-ahead) expectations were also nudged down during late August, from 3.3 percent to 3.1 percent, compared to 3.4 percent in July.
  • 08.27.2010
  • Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
  • Over the past two weeks, Maiden Lane I made a scheduled payment on its loan from the New York Fed of nearly $500 million, dropping the net holdings and the outstanding balance to $29 billion and $28.3 billion, respectively. Also, as the remaining central bank liquidity swaps were set to expire within this most recent period, the European Central Bank has drawn extra dollar liquidity through two swap operations. The terms were for seven-day swaps both weeks at a rate nearly 1.18 percent. As had been announced in the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement, the Fed will use proceeds from its agency debt and agency mortgage-backed security (MBS) holdings and reinvest them in Treasury securities. There were two operations each of the past two weeks, and the results can be seen on the New York Fed’s website. Thus far in the program, there have been nearly $10 billion in Treasury purchases to make up for a similar decline in the holdings of agency debt and MBS. AIG has paid back an extra sum of the outstanding balance on its revolving credit facility. AIG’s aircraft leasing company, International Lease Finance Corporation, sold more than $4.4 billion in debt, and AIG used $3.9 billion of the proceeds to repay the New York Fed. The balance fell from $23.5 billion to about $19.4 billion. The small-scale operations designed for reverse repurchase agreements (reverse repos) were completed this week, dropping the outstanding balance back to zero. A statement from the New York Fed was released during these small-scale operations, defining the money market mutual funds that had been accepted as counterparties for reverse repos.
  • 08.25.2010
  • New Home Sales
  • This morning’s new home sales report brought another bout of bad housing market news to follow-up the abysmal existing home sales figures released yesterday. July single-family home sales fell 12.4 percent to an annual sales pace of 276,000 units, erasing June’s downwardly revised gain of 12.1 percent and setting a new record-low pace for the 47-year-old series. New home prices were the lowest in over six and a half years. The median sales price declined 6.0 percent over the month to $204,000 and sits 4.8 percent lower than the year-ago median. The inventory of new homes for sale is its lowest since 1968 and unchanged from June, at just 210,000 units. July’s drop in purchases bumped the months’ supply of new single-family homes up to 9.1 months from 8.0 in June. Although much lower than last January’s peak of 12.1 months, the current backlog is again elevated compared to the past twelve months, when months’ supply has exceeded 9.0 only twice.
  • 08.25.2010
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods inched up 0.3 percent in July, after two consecutive monthly decreases. However, a jump up in aircraft orders accounted for much of the overall increase. Orders excluding transportation equipment plunged 3.8 percent in July, pulling its 3-month annualized growth rate down into negative territory (−8.7 percent) for the first time since last May. Still, its longer-term trend (12-month growth rate) is a relatively healthy 9.5 percent. An important input into nonresidential investment—orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft—fell 1.5 percent in July, following a string of five consecutive monthly gains. Its 3-month growth rate fell from 12.8 percent to 4.5 percent during the month. Shipments of durables rose 2.2 percent in July, compared to a 0.2 percent tick-up in June and still managed to gain 0.6 percent after excluding transportation equipment. Over the past 12 months, shipments are up 9.3 percent. Manufacturers added to inventories for the seventh consecutive month, adding an additional 0.6 percent in July, though that is somewhat less that the average over the prior three months of 1.1 percent.
  • 08.24.2010
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Existing single-family homes sales plummeted a record 27.1 percent in July, following declines of 1.6 percent in May and 5.6 percent in June. The massive retreat in sales was widespread across all regions of the U.S., lowering the annual sales pace to 3.37 million units, the slowest pace since May 1995. Needless to say, year-over-year sales growth took a sharp dive as well, falling from 6.7 percent clear down to −25.6 percent. The inventory of existing single-family homes for sale climbed 1.2 percent, causing months of supply to balloon from 8.6 months in June to 11.9 months in July. Months of supply now sits at its highest level since February 1983. The median sales price of existing single-family homes is up a very modest 0.9 percent from July 2009, stemming from positive year-over-year growth in the Northeast and the West, while prices are still down mildly in the South and the Midwest regions. Lawrence Yun, Chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, expects sales to continue being soft for at least the next few months. “Consumers rationally jumped into the market before the deadline for the home buyer tax credit expired. Since May, after the deadline, contract signings have been notably lower and a pause period for home sales is likely to last through September,” he comments in the release.
  • 08.17.2010
  • Housing Starts
  • The housing market improved modestly in July with privately owned housing prices increasing 1.7 percent. Privately owned housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000. While July housing starts marked an improvement over June’s performance, the figure is still down 7.0 percent for the twelve month period ending in July. Multi-family starts were the primary drive for the July’s improvement, increasing 32.6 percent after declining 33.3 percent in June. Conversely, single family starts fell for the third consecutive month, declining 4.2 percent. On a regional basis, housing starts were led by the South with 3.9 percent increase. In Northeast, West, and Midwest, housing starts were down 25.9 percent, 4.9 percent, and 1.1 percent respectively. Finally, July building permits stood at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 565,000, 3.1 percent below the revised June rate of 583,000 and down 3.7 percent for the twelve month period ending in July. Additionally, single family were at a rate of 416,000, 1.2 percent below the revised June figure.
  • 08.17.2010
  • Producer Price Index
  • The Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods rose in line with expectations at 2.4 percent (annualized) in July, owed to an 8.7 percent increase in consumer foods. July’s advance in PPI ends a three consecutive month decline in headline producer prices, causing year-over-year growth to rise from 2.7 percent to 4.1 percent. The core PPI, which excludes the fickle gas and food prices, advanced 3.7 percent in July—its largest increase in nearly eight months. Year-over-year growth in the core index grew from 1.1 percent to 1.5 percent up from the trend we have seen since last November of year-over-year growth around 1.0 percent. Further back in the production line, pricing pressures continued to be on the downside as core intermediate goods prices dropped another 4.5 percent in July and core crude fell 17 percent.
  • 08.17.2010
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production jumped forward in July at a 12.3 percent (annualized rate) following a previous estimate of 0.0 annualized percent increase in June. July’s growth rate more than doubled analysts’ expectations of a 6.0 percent increase. Manufacturing, up 14.3 percent annualized, was the driver behind the large gain seen in July, although most of that comes from motor vehicles and parts which soared 212 percent (annualized)—primarily due to seasonality issues and the lack of plant shutdowns over this summer. However, manufacturing without motor vehicles and parts grew at a respectable 8.3 percent (annualized). Over the past 12-months industrial production has grown 7.7 percent, down from 8.2 percent year-over-year in June, although over the 12-month growth rate over the last 3 months averages to 8.0 percent. Capacity utilization moved up from 74.1 percent to 74.8 percent in July and has climbed half-way back from its pre-recession level, around 81 percent.
  • 08.13.2010
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment improved modestly in August, rising from an index value of 67.8 in July to 69.6, according to the preliminary report. However, sentiment is still well below its level of 76.0 in June, and it is roughly consistent with its levels during the second half of 2009. While both the current conditions and consumer expectations components improved in August, the expectations component—at 64.1—remains relatively weak. One-year-ahead average inflation expectations ticked up 0.1 percentage point to 3.4 percent, while longer-term (5–10 year-ahead) expectations nudged down from 3.4 percent to 3.3 percent.
  • 08.13.2010
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales rose 0.4 percent in July, following a 0.3 percent decrease in June and a 1.0 percent decline in May. However, the details are much less supportive of the headline bounce-back. Sales were up in only five of the major categories, led by strong increases in two relatively volatile series—autos and gasoline stations. Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers rose 1.6 percent in July, after a 1.3 percent decline in June, while sales at gasoline stations popped up 2.3 percent (likely on increasing gas prices). A less-noisy measure of the trend in retail sales—sales excluding autos, building supplies, and gas stations—actually fell 0.1 percent during the month and is virtually unchanged over the past three months, diverging from its 12-month growth rate of 4.0 percent.
  • 08.13.2010
  • Consumer Price Index
  • The headline CPI increased at an annualized rate of 3.8 percent in July, though energy-price increases accounted for roughly two-thirds of the overall jump up. Food prices actually fell for the second consecutive month. Excluding food and energy prices, the core CPI rose 1.6 percent during the month, pushing up its six-month annualized growth rate from 0.6 percent to 1.1 percent, though its longer-term (12-month) trend remained at 0.9 percent. Measures of underlying inflation trends produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland—the median and 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI—disagreed in July, rising 0.8 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Doubling the percentage trimmed, from 16 percent to 32 percent, pushes the annualized percent change down to 1.3 percent, a little more in line with the median. Nevertheless, through the first seven months of the year, the median and 16 percent trimmed mean are still running fairly soft and have only increased 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. Elsewhere, disinflation is still evident, as the sticky-price CPI increased just 0.8 percent during the month, matching its three-month annualized growth rate. Also, core services prices—services less energy services—rose 1.2 percent in July, somewhat softer than their three-month annualized growth rate of 1.6 percent. On the other hand, core goods prices (commodities less food and energy), which are only up 1.0 percent over the past 12 months, jumped up 2.5 percent during the month.
  • 08.13.2010
  • The Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
  • Maiden Lane II and Maiden Lane III each repaid a portion of their loan from the New York Fed this week. The outstanding balance on the loan to Maiden Lane II was reduced to $13.87 billion and the balance for Maiden Lane III dropped to $15.11 billion. Following the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement on Tuesday, the New York Fed released a tentative schedule for Treasury purchase operations, which extends through mid-September. Looking at the balance sheet release, $2.88 billion in agency debt is expected to mature within the next 15 days. Another $6.82 billion will mature by early November, but to put the totals in perspective, there will be $19.07 billion in Treasuries maturing within 15 days and another $13.04 billion by early November. Also, as outlined in a statement made by the New York Fed, reverse repurchase agreements were conducted with primary dealers using agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) over the past week. The operations were done as a matter of prudent planning and on a small scale, totaling only $231 million.
  • 08.12.2010
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices increased 0.2 percent (nonannualized) in July. The increase follows consecutive declines of 0.8 and 1.3 percent in May and June and was driven by a 2.1 percent increase in petroleum prices. Nonpetroleum import prices continued to decline in July, falling 0.3 percent. The three-month period ending in July represents the largest three-month decline in the index since February 2009; however, the price index is up 4.1 percent for the twelve-month period ending in July.

    Export prices fell for the second month in a row, falling 0.2 percent in July. The decline follows a 0.7 decline in June and marks the first consecutive decline in the index since February and March of 2009. The main factor contributing to the decline was nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials (−0.4 percent). For the twelve-month period ending in July, overall export prices increased 3.9 percent.

  • 08.11.2010
  • International Trade Balance
  • The nominal trade deficit posted its largest monthly increase on record, widening a greater-than-expected $7.9 billion in June to $49.9 billion. The widening occurred as imports jumped 3.0 percent to $200.3 billion and exports receded 1.3 percent to $150.5 billion. Non-oil imports gained 4.7 percent following a 6.1 percent surge in May. The deficit has increased in the majority of reports this past year and now sits at its highest level since October 2008. June’s rise in imports was evident in both goods and services, and was led by consumer goods, automobiles and parts, and capital goods. The drop in exports most notably reflected declines in capital goods, industrial supplies and materials, and foods, feeds, and beverages. The 12-month growth rate in exports dropped from a recent high of 21.1 percent to 17.7 percent, while the 12-month growth rate in imports inched up further to 29.2 percent.
  • 08.09.2010
  • The Employment Situation
  • Total nonfarm employment fell by 131,000 in July, as government jobs declined by 202,000 and private payrolls grew by a less-than-expected 71,000. Most of the government losses in July were due to the termination of 143,000 temporary Census positions, as was the case in June, when government employment declined by 252,000. Downward revisions to May and June’s total payroll figures amounted to 97,000, leaving May with a slightly smaller gain of 432,000 and June with a much larger loss of 221,000.

    Private payroll gains were evenly shared between goods-producing and service-providing industries. Within goods-producing industries, gains were led by manufacturing, which tacked on 36,000 jobs in July and has expanded solidly since January. Construction, on the other hand, continued to struggle amidst a still-weak housing market, losing 11,000 jobs over the month following a 21,000 loss in June. Within services, payroll gains were most notably led by health services (27,800) and trade, transportation, and utilities (25,000). At the same time, the largest losses came from the financial activities sector (17,000) and professional and business services (13,000). In the nine months since last September, temporary help services has added nearly 370,000 jobs and has largely driven the positive performance in the professional and business services sector as a whole over that period. It comes as no surprise, then, that July’s loss of professional and business services jobs was accompanied by the first net decline in temporary help positions in nine months.

    Despite July’s drop in total payroll employment, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.5 percent, but only because 181,000 people exited the labor force. Over the last three months alone, the labor force has contracted by more than 1.1 million people. The employment-to-population ratio—considered a less noisy indicator of labor market stress—ticked down for the third straight month, from 58.5 percent to 58.4 percent in June. It now stands 4.3 percentage points below its level at the onset of the recession.

  • 08.09.2010
  • The Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
  • The outstanding balance on the revolving credit facility that was extended to AIG fell to a six-month low this week. After peaking above $27 billion in early May, the balance dropped to below $24 billion for the first time since late in January. Revaluations also came in for all three Maiden Lane portfolios. Net holdings for each of the three portfolios rose during the second quarter, with all of the increases above $500 million each. Maiden Lane I saw the largest adjustment, netting a rise of nearly $900 million. Slightly more mild bumps of about $600 million were added to Maiden Lane II and III. More generally, overall lending from the Federal Reserve has been falling steadily since the start of 2010, while asset holdings have risen at a gradual pace. Currently, there is little to report on about the liabilities of the Fed.
  • 08.03.2010
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income was up negligibly in June (0.02 percent) following a 0.3 percent gain in May. The 12-month growth rate in personal income now stands at 2.6 percent, below the recent high in March of 3.0 percent. Disposable personal income rose less than 0.1 percent over the month, while nominal consumption expenditures dropped less than 0.1 percent. The personal savings rate (as a percentage of disposable income) rose for the third month in-a-row, from 6.3 percent in May to 6.4 percent in June, and is at its highest since June 2009. After adjusting for price effects, “real” personal income rose 0.2 percent in June after a 0.4 percent increase in May.
  • 08.03.2010
  • PCE
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) price index declined an annualized 1.7 percent in June after dropping 0.9 percent in May, again largely reflecting falling energy prices. The PCE price index excluding food and energy (core PCE) rose 0.5 percent after advancing 1.5 percent in May. The core PCE’s 12-month growth sits at 1.4 percent, but shorter-term 3-month growth has sagged to its slowest pace since February 2009, at 0.9 percent (annualized).
  • 08.03.2010
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods fell by 1.2 percent in June, in line with expectations. New orders excluding transportation fell by 1.1 percent, the third consecutive monthly decline. Although overall inventories fell by 0.1 percent, inventories of durable goods rose for the sixth straight month. Following a 4.7 percent increase in May, orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft rose 0.2 percent during the month and are trending at a strong 6 month annualized growth rate of 18.4 percent. Shipments in both durable and nondurable sectors also saw a decline in June, falling at 0.3 and 1.3 percent, respectively. Lastly, unfilled orders fell slightly in June, its first decline in 3 months.
  • 08.02.2010
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) continued to edge away from a recent high of 60.4 in April. The index slipped down an additional 0.7 index point in July to an index level of 55.5 (which is still above the diffusion index’s growth threshold for the manufacturing sector of 50), bringing the cumulative decrease over the last three months to 4.9 points. Much of the overall decline in July was due to decreases in the new orders and production indexes; falling 5.0 points and 4.4 points, respectively. Encouragingly, the employment index rose from a level of 57.8 in June to 58.6 in July, its eighth consecutive month above 50. Also, it seems manufacturers added inventories in July (albeit a slight accumulation), as the ISM's inventories index jumped up from 45.8 to 50.2.
  • 08.02.2010
  • Construction Spending
  • Total construction spending eked out a small gain in June, increasing 0.1 percent and surprising expectations for a mild decline. The gain stemmed entirely from a 1.5 percent rise in public construction, as private construction receded for a second month in-a-row, by 0.6 percent. Private construction fell on both fronts—residential (0.8 percent) and nonresidential (0.5 percent), particularly in the areas of manufacturing, commercial, and communication spending. Year-over-year growth in total private spending continued its ascent in June to −10.0 percent, up from −11.6 percent in May and a trough of −23.8 percent last July. The improvement has been fairly one-sided, though, as private residential construction is now up 11.8 percent over the past 12 months and private nonresidential construction continues to fall. Its 12-month growth rate remains near record lows, at −24.1 percent.