Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 17 May 16

A jump in gas prices sent the Consumer Price Index up 0.4% in April, but up only 0.2% less food and energy prices. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is up 1.1% overall, and up 2.1% less food and energy.

Housing starts rose 6.6% in April, to a moderate 1.172 million annual rate, but the year-over-year rate dipped negative, to -1.7%. Building permits, an indicator of future housing activity, rose 3.6% in April to a 1.116 million rate, but the year-on-year rate is even more negative, at -7.2%.

Industrial production rose 0.7% in April, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories rose 0.6% to 75.4%.

E-Commerce retail sales for the 1st Quarter of 2016 came in with an unexpectedly strong 3.7% increase, and a 15.2% year-on-year increase.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales growth slowed into the doldrums again, up 0.5% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.1%.

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