Data Updates

Data Updates

September 2008

  • 09.29.2008
  • Nominal Personal Income
  • Nominal personal income rose by 6.2 percent (annualized rate) in August, almost reversing a 6.5 percent drop in July. Employee compensation rose 4.8 percent during the month and is up 4.1 percent over the past year. Disposable personal income fell 9.9 percent in August, though that number was pulled down, in part, by the unwinding of the fiscal stimulus. Nominal personal consumption was virtually flat in August, rising only 0.5 percent at an annualized rate. After adjusting for price effects, consumption growth was literally 0.0 (annualized rate). On a year-over-year basis, real personal consumption is barely above zero, rising just 0.1 percent.
  • 09.29.2008
  • Personal Consumption Expenditures
  • The PCE price index increased 0.4 percent (annualized rate) in August, down from an 8.0 percent increase in July. Over the past 12 months, the PCE price index has risen 4.5 percent. The PCE excluding food and energy components (core PCE) rose 3.0 percent during the month, following a 3.5 percent increase in July. The 12-month growth rate for the core PCE stands at 2.6 percent, up 0.1 percent from last month.
  • 09.26.2008
  • Real GDP
  • Real GDP advanced at an annualized rate of 2.8 percent in the second quarter, according to the final release from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is a downward revision of 0.5 percentage point from the preliminary estimate. The downward adjustment was, in large part, due to a revision to real consumption growth, from an increase of 1.7 percent to 1.2 percent. As it stands currently, the 4-quarter growth rate in real consumption is at 1.3 percent, its slowest growth rate since the fourth quarter of 1991. Exports were also revised down from an increase of 13.2 percent to 12.3 percent, while the decrease in imports was revised up from −7.5 percent to −7.3 percent. The adjustments to net exports accounted for 0.2 percentage point of the downward revision to real GDP growth. Inventories decreased by $50.6 billion, according to the final estimate, down from a subtraction of $39.2 billion in the previous estimate. On a positive note, the contraction in residential investment, which has been quite a large drag on growth lately, was revised up 2.5 percentage points, to a decrease of −13.3 percent. While still negative, this is a considerable improvement over at decrease of 25.0 percent in the first quarter.
  • 09.26.2008
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • Consumer sentiment, as measured by the University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumers,was revised down to 70.3 from 73.1, according to the final estimate for September. This is still a substantial increase over August’s index value of 63.0. Both the current conditions and consumer expectations components were revised down. Both short–term (one–year ahead) and longer–term (5–10 years ahead) inflation expectations ticked up from the preliminary release. One–year ahead average expectations in September were revised up to 4.6 percent from 3.9 percent, though this is still an improvement from August’s 5.3 percent. Longer–term average expectations were adjusted up from 3.1 percent to 3.3 percent in September.
  • 09.25.2008
  • New Home Sales
  • New single-family home sales fell 11.5 percent in August following a 4.0 percent gain in July. Despite the large drop, the series’ 12–month growth rate was virtually unchanged at the extremely low level of −34.5 percent. Since peaking just over three years ago, new single–family home sales have fallen a total of 63.3 percent from an annual pace of 1.4 million units to just 460 thousand units. The number of new homes for sale continued to decline in August, falling 4.5 percent. Compared to the sale, however, pace inventories are still elevated as the months’ supply increased slightly to 10.9 months, just below its cyclical peak of 11.2 months.
  • 09.25.2008
  • Durable Goods
  • New orders for durable goods fell 4.5 percent (nonannualized) in August, its largest decrease since January. Over the past 12 months, new orders are now down 4.7 percent. Nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft decreased 2.0 percent during the month, following a slight increase of 0.4 percent in July. However, the series is still up 1.9 percent on a year–over–year basis. Shipments of durable goods declined 3.5 percent in August, its largest decrease since December 2002. Shipments are down 2.6 percent over the past year, its slowest growth rate in six years. Inventories and unfilled orders continued to rise in August, increasing 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
  • 09.24.2008
  • Existing Home Sales
  • Total existing home sales fell 2.2 percent in August, but the 12-month growth rate in sales increased from −12.8 percent to −10.7 percent, its highest level since July 2007. Existing single–family home sales fell 1.3 percent in August after increasing 3.5 percent in July. Year–to–date existing single–family home sales have been virtually flat, however the 12–month growth rate, while up from August, is still negative at −9.6 percent and the median sales price of these homes is down a record 9.7 percent. The level of inventory of existing single–family homes on the market fell in terms of both actual homes and relative to the current sales pace. However, both measures still remain substantially elevated.
  • 09.17.2008
  • Housing Starts
  • Total private housing starts fell 6.2 percent in August, as multi-family starts dropped 15.1 percent over the month. The less volatile single–family series fell a more modest 1.9 percent following a 3.2 percent decline in July. The permit data behaved similarly in August: total permits issued fell 8.9 percent, while single–family permits fell a 5.1 percent. A recent change in New York City building codes may be continuing to have an effect on the data as multi–family starts and permits were down significantly in the northeast region again in August.
  • 09.15.2008
  • Industrial Production
  • Industrial production fell 12.8 percent (annualized rate) in August—well below consensus expectations—its largest decrease since hurricane Katrina. Unfortunately, this also comes on the heels of downward revisions to both June and July’s production numbers, now posting increases of just 0.7 percent in July and 2.5 percent in June. Over the past year, industrial production has fallen 1.5 percent. Manufacturing production fell 11.4 percent in August, brought down, in part, by a large drop in motor vehicle and parts production. Mining output fell 4.7 percent during the month, but is still up 3.6 percent over the last 12 months. Utilities output decreased by 32.6 percent in August, reportedly due to unseasonably mild temperatures.
  • 09.12.2008
  • Retail Sales
  • Total retail sales fell 3.2 percent (annualized rate) in August, following a downwardly revised 5.7 percent decrease in July. Over the past year, retail sales are up only 1.6 percent. Auto sales were not the culprit this month, jumping up 25.4 percent after a 40.8 percent drop in July. Retail sales excluding sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers actually fell 8.3 percent in August. Losses outside of autos were widespread and included sales at electronics and appliance stores, building material and supply dealers, gas stations, clothing stores, big-box stores, and nonstore retailers. Sales at food and beverage stores, a bright spot in today’s report, rose 8.3 percent in August, though it is not clear whether prices effects were driving the gains.
  • 09.12.2008
  • PPI
  • The finished goods Producer Price Index (PPI) fell an annualized 10.5 percent in August after double digits gains in each of the prior three months. The culprit behind the large decrease was once again energy prices which fell an annualized 43.0 percent over the month after increasing an annualized 72.8 percent over the previous three months combined. The PPI less food and energy (core PPI) increased an annualized 2.9 percent in August down from an 8.2 percent gain in July. The 12-month growth rates in the headline and core PPI are both currently elevated at 9.7 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.
  • 09.12.2008
  • Consumer Sentiment
  • The University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment increased substantially in early September from 63.0 to 73.1, its highest level since January. From a historical perspective the index still remains very low; its long-run average is in the 85-95 range and it last dipped below 75 in 2005 and 1992. The median year-ahead inflation expectation from the underlying survey fell from 4.8 percent to 3.6 percent, while the median 5- to 10-year-ahead inflation expectation fell from 3.2 percent to 2.9 percent.
  • 09.11.2008
  • Import and Export Prices
  • Import prices, reflecting the recent decline in energy and commodity prices, fell 36.4 percent (annualized rate) in August. Over the six months prior to August, import prices rose at an annualized rate of 27.5 percent. Moreover, nonpetroleum import prices fell 4.1 percent in August, following an 8.7 percent jump in July. Over the past 12 months, import prices are still up 7.5 percent. Export prices fell 18.8 percent during the month, on a record decrease in agricultural commodity prices. Agricultural goods prices plummeted 70.3 percent in August.
  • 09.11.2008
  • International Trade
  • The nominal trade deficit increased $3.4 billion in July to $62.2 billion—its highest level since March 2007. Exports continued to grow in July posting a 3.3 percent gain, bringing them up 20.1 percent from a year ago. Import growth, which had been somewhat sluggish in recent months, outpaced export growth in July, increasing 3.9 percent and is now up 16.8 percent from a year ago. The international trade release also contained revisions to data covering all of 2008. In total the revision increased the trade deficit by $6.3 billion, with the first quarter deficit being revised up by $2.2 billion and the second quarter being revised up $4.1 billion. The newly revised numbers now show the trade deficit increasing by $3.4 billion in the second quarter, compared to the previously reported increase of $1.6 billion.
  • 09.04.2008
  • Productivity and Costs
  • Nonfarm business productivity was revised up to 4.3 percent (annualized rate) in the second quarter from a previous estimate of 2.2 percent. The upward revision was due to a relatively large revision to real GDP that pushed up the output measure from 1.7 percent to 3.4 percent. At the same time, hours worked was adjusted down to a decrease of 0.8 from a reduction of 0.5 percent according to the previous release. Hourly compensation rose 3.7 percent in the second quarter, however after factoring in a 5.0 percent increase in consumer prices, real hourly compensation actually fell 1.3 percent during the quarter. Unit labor costs (compensation per hour divided by output), a measure that some use to track the onset of inflationary pressure, was revised down from an increase of 1.3 percent to a decrease of 0.5 percent in the second quarter.
  • 09.03.2008
  • Factory Orders
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.3 percent (nonannualized) in July, following a 2.1 percent increase in May. New orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft rose 2.5 percent during the month, and are up 6.6 percent over the past 12 months. Shipments for all manufacturing industries increased 2.1 percent in July, following a 1.9 percent increase in June. Unfilled orders ticked up 0.7 percent during the month, in line with the average increase seen over the past six months. Inventories rose 0.5 percent in July, compared to a large 1.2 percent jump in June.
  • 09.02.2008
  • ISM Manufacturing
  • The ISM manufacturing index slipped just under the institute’s threshold for manufacturing growth, falling 0.1 point to 49.9 in August. While the overall index was virtually flat, there were some relatively large changes to the five subindexes that comprise the overall index. Supplier deliveries fell 4.8 points in August to an index value of 50.3 in August, its largest decrease in twenty years. Largely offsetting that decrease, new orders jumped up 3.3 points to 48.3 during the month. The employment and production indexes fell slightly to 49.7 and 52.1, respectively. Also, the inventories index rose from 45.0 in July to an index value of 49.3 in August.
  • 09.02.2008
  • Construction Spending
  • Total construction spending fell 0.6 percent in July following a 0.3 percent gain in June. Private sector construction spending fell 1.4 percent in July, as residential construction spending declined 2.3 percent, and nonresidential spending declined 0.7 percent. The decline in private residential construction was hardly a surprise, as it had fallen in every month since March 2006. Private nonresidential construction spending on the hand snapped a streak of six consecutive monthly gains with its decline in July. On a year–over–year basis, nonresidential construction spending is still up 16.0 percent while its residential counterpart is down 27.5 percent.