Data Updates

Data Updates

August 2012

  • 08.31.2012
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment was revised up from a level of 73.6 to 74.3 during the August revision, its highest level since May, though it is still moderately below its second quarter average of 76.3. The upward revision was largely due to an upward adjustment to respondents’ assessment of the current conditions (up from 87.6 to 88.7), and virtually all the traction in overall sentiment over the past few months is due to gains in this component. Consumer expectations were revised up from 64.5 to 65.1 in August, though that is still slightly below their reading in July of 65.6. Importantly, expectations have decreased in each of the last three months and are down almost 10 points relative to their May reading. Inflation expectations were unrevised during the August revision, but up sharply from June. Median short-run (one-year ahead) inflation expectations jumped up from 3.0 percent in July to 3.6 percent in August, the series’ sharpest increase since a gasoline price induced spike to 3.9 percent in March. And, longer-term (five-years ahead) inflation expectations rose from 2.7 percent to 3.0 percent.
  • 08.31.2012
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 2.8 percent (nonannualized) in July. This month’s increase boosted the near term trend (three month annualized growth rate) to 11.5 percent. Year-over-year growth rates have continued to gradually slow from 6.3 percent in the first quarter of 2012 to a current reading of 1.9 percent. New orders excluding transportation increased 0.7 percent while durable and nondurable new orders rose 4.1 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders, considered a leading indicator of business investment spending, decreased 4.0 percent for the month while its three-month annualized growth rate remains negative at −16.7 percent. Shipments of manufactured goods rose 2.0 percent for the month, with a three-month annualized growth rate of 4.4 percent. Unfilled orders increased 0.8 percent in July. Inventories rose 0.4 percent pulling the inventory-to-shipments ratio down to 1.27 from 1.29.
  • 08.30.2012
  • Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income increased at a rate of 0.3 percent (nonannualized) in July, and is up 3.6 percent since July of last year. This follows an increase of 0.3 percent (downwardly-revised) in June, and is in line with the average growth rate throughout the second quarter. Disposable personal income—personal income less current taxes—increased at a rate of 0.3 percent as well, and is up 3.4 percent on a year-over-year basis. There was very little price pressure on the headline number as “real” disposable personal income (DPI after controlling for price changes) was also up 0.3 percent for the month. The year-over-year change in “real” DPI reached 2.1 percent, its highest level since March of 2011, and has accelerated a bit since the beginning of the year. The 3-month trend in year-over-year growth was 1.7 percent in July, compared with a first quarter trend of 0.2 percent and a second quarter trend of 1.3 percent. After being flat in May and slightly negative in June (down 0.1 percent), “real” personal consumption expenditures was back in positive territory, increasing 0.4 percent for the month. Consumption has increased 2.0 percent since July of 2011, which is roughly in line with the average second quarter growth rate of 1.9 percent. Personal savings was down 1.9 percent in July, following increases of 13.1 percent in May and 7.8 percent in June.
  • 08.30.2012
  • PCE Price Index
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index was nearly flat in July, increasing at an annualized rate of just 0.1 percent. This follows an increase of 1.3 percent in June and a drop of 2.3 percent in May, as the headline index is up 1.3 percent since July of last year. The “core” PCE price index—which excludes food and energy prices—increased just 0.4 percent for the month, much lower than the average growth over the three prior months of 1.8 percent, and is the lowest monthly change since December of 2010. On a year-over-year basis, “core” PCE prices were up 1.6 percent in July, following increases of 1.8 percent in both May and June. The market-based “core” PCE price index—which excludes most imputed prices—increased 0.6 percent in July compared with monthly increases of 1.9 and 2.3 percent in May and June, respectively, and is up 1.7 percent since July of 2011.
  • 08.29.2012
  • GDP
  • Real GDP was revised up from 1.5 percent to 1.7 percent in the second quarter, matching expectations. On a year-over-year basis real GDP growth stands at 2.3 percent, slightly below its longer-term (20-year) trend of 2.5 percent. The upward revision in the second quarter was primarily due to a downward revision in imports and upward adjustments to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ estimates of consumption growth, exports growth, and state and local government spending. Private inventories and business fixed investment were nudged down a little, partially offsetting the good news in other categories.

    There were some interesting developments in the details. First, the 0.2 percentage point upward revision in consumption to 1.7 percent in the second quarter was due in large part to a sharp upward revision to services consumption—from 1.9 percent to 2.4 percent. And that revision was due to an outsized upward adjustment to housing and utilities consumption, from 3.2 percent to 5.5 percent (its swiftest quarterly increase since mid-2005). Durables consumption was also revised up from a 1.0 percent decline to roughly flat on the quarter, while consumption of nondurables was revised down from a 1.5 percent to 0.5 percent gain in the second quarter. Also, real import growth was halved during the revision, from 6.0 percent to 2.9 percent for the second quarter, and since imports enter into GDP calculation as a subtraction, this changed boosted real GDP growth by 0.5 percentage points. Finally, along with the second estimate of GDP, we got our first glance at real Gross Domestic Income (GDI) for the second quarter. Real GDI rose just 0.6 percent in the second quarter, following relatively strong gains in the first qaurter (up 3.8 percent) and 2011:Q4 (up 4.5 percent). Still, on a year-over-year basis this alternative measure of output growth is up 2.1 percent, matching the four-quarter growth rate in final sales.

  • 08.28.2012
  • Home Price Indexes
  • The S&P Case-Shiller national housing price index rose a seasonally-adjusted 2.25 percent from the first to second quarter of this year, representing the largest quarterly increase since 2005:Q4. On an annual basis the national index expanded by 1.13 percent, the largest improvement since 2010:Q2. Both the 10- and 20-city monthly composite indexes showed positive growth for the second consecutive month and were up 1.01 percent and 0.94 percent, respectively. Over the past 12-months the 10- and 20-city indexes were relatively flat and are back to mid-2003 levels. This report marks the first time since the summer of 2010 that all three indexes showed positive annual growth rates.

    The FHFA purchase-only housing price index rose 0.7 percent from May to June to an index level of 189.8. Over the past 12-months the index rose 3.7 percent, representing the largest annual gain since September 2006. Throughout the nation, annual price index changes ranged from an 11.1 percent increase in the Mountain region to a 0.4 percent decrease in both the New England and Middle Atlantic regions. On a quarterly basis the national purchase-only index rose 1.8 percent from the first to second quarter, marking the largest increase since 2010:Q4. Overall the June index is back to the June 2004 index level. This report also notes that strong appreciation in fewer distress sales in certain markets as well as declining mortgage rates likely accounts for the strong housing price increase.

  • 08.24.2012
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods increased 4.2 percent (nonannualized) in July, following an increase of 1.6 percent in June. Overall, orders have been positive for three straight months, with the 3-month trend currently at 2.4 percent, and are up 4.9 percent since July of last year. However, as has been the case over the past few months, the rise in the overall number for July was driven primarily by an increase in the volatile orders for transportation equipment, which jumped 14.1 percent for the month following a rise of 10.8 percent in June. A large portion of the recent surge in orders for transportation equipment is coming from the airline industry, as orders for aircraft and parts has increased 29.8 percent and 35.9 percent in June and July, respectively. New orders excluding transportation have actually been negative over the past couple of months, falling 0.4 percent in July and 2.2 percent (downwardly revised) in June. The year-over-year growth rate in orders excluding transportation has moved into negative territory for the first time since 2009, dropping to −0.3 percent from 1.8 percent in the prior month. New orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, which is used to evaluate the near-term outlook in equipment and software investment, fell for the second consecutive month, dropping 3.4 percent in July. The year-over-year change in this series has turned negative over the past few months as well, dropping from 2.2 percent in May to −1.7 percent in June, and finally, to −5.6 percent last month. Shipments of durable goods were up 2.6 percent after being flat in June, and after excluding transportation, are up 0.3 percent for the month. Inventories for durable goods increased 0.7 percent in July, as the near-term (3-month) trend increased from 0.3 percent to 0.5 percent.
  • 08.23.2012
  • New Home Sales
  • After an upward revision to June’s report, new single-family home sales rose 3.6 percent in July to an annualized rate of 372,000 units sold. Regionally, new home sales ranged from a 76.5 percent increase in the Northeast to a 1.6 percent decline in the South. Over the past 12-months, overall new home sales rose by 25.3 percent which is the largest annual gain since February. The median sales price of new homes fell 2.1 percent in July to $224,200, representing a 4.6 month supply at the current sales pace.
  • 08.22.2012
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Existing single-family home sales rose 2.1 percent in July to an annualized 3.98 million units sold. Regionally, monthly home sales ranged from a 6.7 percent increase in the Northeast to a 1.0 percent decline in the West. On an annual basis, overall home sales rose 9.9 percent and showed positive growth in all regions. The median sales price of existing single-family homes fell 0.8 percent in July to $188,100, representing a 9.6 percent increase over the past 12-months. The inventory of available single-family homes for sale was flat for the month at 2.1 million units, while the monthly supply of homes fell 3.1 percent to a 6.3 month supply at the current sales pace.
  • 08.17.2012
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment rose from an index level of 72.3 in July to 73.6 in early August, its highest level since May, though it is still moderately below its second quarter average of 76.3. Virtually all the traction in overall sentiment over the past few months is due to gains in the current conditions component, which jumped up 4.9 points to 87.6 in August. Consumer expectations have decreased in each of the last three months and are down almost 10 points relative to their May reading after slipping further in August to 64.5. For context, the average level for consumer expectations over the past 25 years is 80. Interestingly, consumers appear to be reacting to recent reports that severe drought conditions are going to increase food prices over the coming year. Median short-run (one-year ahead) inflation expectations jumped up from 3.0 percent in July to 3.6 percent in early August, the series’ sharpest increase since a gasoline price induced spike to 3.9 percent in March. Longer-term (five-years ahead) inflation expectations also headed higher in August, rising from 2.7 percent to 3.0 percent.
  • 08.16.2012
  • Housing Starts
  • After a modest downward revision to June’s report, single-family housing starts fell 6.5 percent in July to an annualized rate of 502,000 units. Regionally, housing starts where down in areas, ranging from a 2.2 percent decline in the South, to a significantly steeper 27.1 percent decline in the Northeast. Despite the drop in housing starts, the authorization of building permits rose 4.5 percent in July to an annualized rate of 513,000. This represents the highest level of building permits authorized since March of 2010.
  • 08.15.2012
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production increased 0.6 percent (nonannualized) in July, following two consecutive monthly increases of 0.1 percent. The near term trend (three month annualized growth) of 3.3 percent is down from 6.0 percent in the first quarter. On a year-over-year basis, overall production is up 4.4 percent. Manufacturing production rose 0.5 percent in July while the three month annualized growth rate increased 1.7 percent, down from 9.6 percent in the first quarter. Breaking down the manufacturing sector, durable and nondurable goods rose 0.9 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. Within durable goods manufacturing, primary metals, computer and electronic products, motor vehicles and parts, aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment and miscellaneous manufacturing all posted increases greater than 1.0 percent in July. Mining output rose 1.2 percent, after having increased 0.5 percent in June. Overall capacity utilization increased 0.4 percentage points to 79.3 percent of capacity, still 1.0 percentage points below its historic average.
  • 08.15.2012
  • CPI
  • The headline CPI was virtually flat for the second consecutive month, rising at an annualized rate of just 0.6 percent in July, as decreasing energy prices offset modest increases elsewhere in the basket. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is up 1.4 percent, down sharply from its growth rate a year ago of 3.6 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” index rose just 1.1 percent in July, compared to increases of 2.5 percent in June and 2.4 percent in May. The softness in July was a enough to pull down its 3-month growth rate from 2.6 percent to 2.0 percent. Over the past year, the core CPI is up 2.1 percent. A dig into the price change distribution reveals a significant amount of mass gathering in the lower tail. 20 components comprising almost a third of the retail marketbasket (by expenditure weight) exhibited outright price declines in July, starkly contrasting the average weight of 20 percent in the lower tail through the first half of this year. However, some of the component price swings in that lower tail appear to be unusually large. For example, electricity prices fell by 14.8 percent in July, its largest monthly decline since February 1998. Communication prices fell more than 5.0 percent for only the third time in the last five years, sliding down 6.1 percent during the month. Also, the price index for lodging away from home plummeted 25 percent in July, its sharpest monthly decline since April 2008, but this series is inherently volatile and frequently exhibits price swings in excess of plus or minus 10 percent. The median CPI rose 2.5 percent in July, but the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI increased just 1.3 percent. On a year-over-year basis, the median CPI is up 2.3 percent, while the 16 percent trimmed-mean CPI is up 2.0 percent. Rents were the primary cause of the disparity in July. Contrasting the softness elsewhere in the marketbasket, rents continued to increase (and OER for the Northeast urban region was the median component). Rent of primary residence jumped up 3.8 percent in July, and is up 2.8 percent over the past year. Owners’ equivalent rent (OER) rose 2.1 percent during the month, compared to its growth rate over the previous 3 months of 1.5 percent.
  • 08.14.2012
  • Producer Price Index
  • Producer prices, as measured by the Producer Price Index (PPI), increase at an annualized rate of 3.2 percent in July, contrasting a string of subdued readings that has left the series’ 12-month growth rate at just 0.5 percent, compared to its 10-year trend of 3.3 percent. Energy prices continued to trend down, though food prices jumped 6.2 percent in July. Excluding food and energy prices, the index rose 5.4 percent in July, its largest monthly gain since January. Still, on a year-over-year basis, the PPI excluding food and energy is up 2.6 percent, down slightly from a recent high of 3.1 percent in January. There was a dearth of pricing pressure further back on the line of production, as core intermediate and core crude goods prices fell sharply (−10.6 percent and −12.9 percent, respectively).
  • 08.14.2012
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales rose 0.8 percent in July, more than reversing a downwardly revised 0.6 percent decrease in June. The 12-month growth rate rose to 4.1 percent in July, up 0.6 percentage points from June. Nominal sales were up across every broad category. Sales of motor vehicle and auto parts dealers were up 0.8 percent in July and are up 8.2 percent over the past year. The strongest month-to-month gains were seen at sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (up 1.6 percent); nonstore retailers (up 1.5 percent); miscellaneous store retailers (up 1.2 percent); and health and personal care stores (up 1.1 percent). However, these strong gains in July mostly came after sharp losses in June, a pattern indicative of mismeasurement. A measure of the underlying trend in retail sales—“core” sales (which exclude auto, gasoline, and building materials)—jumped up 0.9 percent in July (its largest increase since January), compared to a 0.2 decline in June. On a year-over-year basis the series is up 4.4 percent.
  • 08.10.2012
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices continued their downward trajectory, falling 0.6 percent in July after plummeting 2.4 percent last month. July marks the fourth consecutive month of declining import prices. Continued decreases in import prices indicate that foreign prices have the potential to exert downward pressure on domestic prices in the coming months. Lower import prices could also contribute to lower import totals as well. Both lower petroleum and nonpetroleum prices contributed to the decrease in the overall index. Petroleum prices fell 1.6 percent after falling 9.3 percent last month. On a yearly basis, petroleum prices fell 12.3 percent, the largest drop since October 2009. Nonpetroleum prices fell by 0.3 percent from June to July and declined by 0.5 percent from July of last year. The overall import price index continued to fall on a yearly basis for the third consecutive month posting losses of 3.2 percent.

    Export prices increased by 0.5 percent in July after declining in June and May. Nonagricultural prices declined 0.3 percent partially offsetting the 6.4 percent increase in agricultural prices. On a year-over-year basis, export prices fell 1.2 percent, posting losses for the third consecutive month.

  • 08.09.2012
  • International Trade
  • In June, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed $5.1 billion to $42.9 billion, down from May’s downwardly revised $48.0 billion deficit ($48.7 previously). June marks the third consecutive month in which the trade deficit contracted. The narrowing was driven by a 1.5 percent decline in imports, which dropped $3.5 billion to $227.9 ($231.4 billion, previously). The drop in imports was partly influenced by falling import prices, particularly petroleum prices which fell 10.5 percent from May to June. Increasing $1.7 billion to $185.0 billion ($183.3 previously), the 0.9 percent monthly gain in exports also contributed to the improvement of the overall trade balance. On a year over year basis, imports rose 2.2 percent, a deceleration from 3.6 percent and 6.4 percent gains seen in May and April. Exports jumped 7.1 percent year-over-year after averaging a 4.2 percent yearly pace in the first two months of the second quarter. With the trade deficit narrowing much more sharply than the $47.5 billion predicted by consensus forecasts, net exports are in the position to have a more positive impact on second quarter GDP.
  • 08.08.2012
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity—real output per hour of all persons—increased at an annualized rate of 1.6 percent in the second quarter of 2012, following a 0.5 percent decline in the first quarter. On a year-over-year basis, productivity is up 1.1 percent. The release also included annual revisions which revealed a growth rate in productivity of 2.9 percent in 2009, 3.1 percent in 2010 (revised down from 4.0 percent), and 0.7 percent in 2011 (revised up from 0.4 percent).The quarterly increase in productivity was caused by a 2.0 percent increase in real output compared with only a 0.4 percent increase in hours worked. This is the lowest quarterly increase in hours worked since the fourth quarter of 2009. Since the second quarter of 2011, output is up 2.9 percent, while hours are up 1.8 percent. Hourly compensation increased 3.3 percent in the second quarter, following a 5.1 percent increase in the first quarter. After controlling for price changes, real hourly compensation was up 2.6 percent. However, on a year-over-year basis, real compensation is flat. Unit labor costs were up 1.7 percent during the quarter, and are up 0.8 percent since last year. Based on the annual revisions, unit labor costs declined 1.5 percent in 2009, declined 1.0 percent in 2010, and increased 2.0 percent in 2011.
  • 08.07.2012
  • Consumer Credit
  • Total consumer credit rose by 3 percent at an annual rate in June, down from the 7.8 percent posted in May (which has been revised down from 8 percent). This smallest increase since October is the sum of a 7.2 percent rise in nonrevolving credit and a 5.1 percent fall in revolving credit. That decline in revolving credit stands in sharp contrast to its increase of 10.5 percent in May. Still on an annualized basis, total consumer credit rose by 5 percent during the second quarter of this year, which is about average compared to the past few quarters and a full percentage point above the growth which occurred during 2011. As for outstanding credit, it reached $2,577.4 billion in June, the sum of $864.6 billion in revolving credit and $1,712.8 billion in nonrevolving credit.
  • 08.03.2012
  • The Employment Situation
  • Nonfarm payrolls rose 163,000 in July, more than doubling June’s increase (which was revised down from 80,000 to 64,000), and is roughly in line with its average hiring pace (+151,000 a month) since the beginning of the year. 2012’s average monthly increase is essentially unchanged from its 2011 average monthly gain of 153,000. Private payroll growth was a shade stronger than the headline number, rising 172,000 in July, as government payrolls decreased by 9,000. Private payrolls have averaged a gain of 161,000 per month so far this year, but that’s slightly off its pace in 2011 of 175,000.

    Goods-producing payrolls increased by 24,000 in July, compared to 13,000 in June, but that was entirely due to a 25,000 increase in manufacturing employment (mining and logging payrolls were flat and construction payrolls slipped 1,000). Consistent with the anecdotes we’ve heard on auto plants not shutting down to retool in July, the release noted about half of the seasonally-adjusted increase in manufacturing was in the autos sector. Private service-providing payrolls rose 148,000 in July, compared to a mere 60,000 in June, largely on employment gains in professional and business services (up 49,000, of which temporary help employment accounted for 14,000), education and health services (up 38,000), and leisure and hospitality (up 27,000). Within leisure and hospitality, most sectors actually posted slight declines or were flat. The category’s increase was driven entirely by food services and drinking places employment, which jumped up 29,000 in July following three consecutive monthly gains of less than 10,000.

    On the household side of the report, the unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage point to 8.3 in July. Household employment slipped by 195,000 in July, slightly outpacing a 150,000 decrease in the labor force, which led to the slight uptick in the unemployment rate. That said, the total number of unemployed persons—at 12.8 million—is little changed from the beginning of the year. The labor force participation rate edged 0.1 percentage point lower in July to where it started the year at (63.7 percent). And, the employment-to-population ratio slipped down 0.2 percentage points to 58.4 percent in July, and has been oscillating around that level for the past two years.

  • 08.02.2012
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods decreased 0.46 percent (non-annualized) in June and have been down three out of the last four months. On an annual basis, the year-over-year growth rate for total new orders has continued its decrease from 23.8 percent in April 2010 to their current level of 2.47 percent. New orders excluding transportation decreased 1.8 percent, while new orders for durable goods increased 1.3 percent and new orders for nondurable goods decreased 2.0 percent. Nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders—considered a leading indicator of business investment spending—decreased 1.7 percent for the month. Shipments of manufactured goods decreased 1.12 percent for the month while unfilled orders increased 0.3 percent for the month. Year-over-year growth for shipments of manufactured goods came in at 2.85 percent in June, down from 4.7 percent in May. Total inventories for all manufacturing industries increased 0.1 percent, increasing the inventory-to-shipments ratio up to 1.29 from 1.27.
  • 08.01.2012
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) remained basically flat from June to July, increasing just 0.1 points to an index level of 49.8. Slight gains were seen in both the new orders and production components, going from 47.8 to 48.0 and 51.0 to 51.3, respectively. The largest increase was seen in the inventories component, which went from 44.0 in June to 49.0 in July. This was mostly offset by a drop in the employment component, which fell to its lowest level since December 2009, going from 56.6 to 52.0. Additionally, there was a slight decline in the supplier deliveries component, which dropped from 48.9 to 48.7. The price index (which is not seasonally adjusted and does not enter into overall PMI) increased for the first time since February, going from 37.0 in June to 39.5 in July. This comes after two consecutive months of declines where this index fell 24.0 points from April to June.
  • 08.01.2012
  • Construction Spending
  • Private construction spending rose in June to $567.9 billion, an increase of 0.4 percent over May and 7 percent improvement compared to last June. Upward revisions to May and April showed non-residential construction increased for both months. Residential construction spending increased 1.3 percent over the month to $265.6 billion and showed a strong increase of 12.1 percent compared to June 2011. Spending on new multi-family homes showed a strong 48.8 percent increase over the year with new single family homes increasing 3.4 percent over the year and residential improvements showing just a slight increase of 1.6 percent over the year. Non-residential construction came in at $302.3 billion, up 14 percent from this time last year. The largest section of power and utility fell slightly by 3.1 percent from last month, but is still up 26.5 percent from June 2011. There was improved spending all structures except power and commercial structures. Communication structures showed the largest increase of 4.3 percent for the month followed by manufacturing structures and office structures both increasing 3.7 percent to aid the boost in private construction.