Free Markets, Free People
Economic Statistics for 29 Feb 12
The following statistics were released today on the state of the US Economy:
The Commerce Department revised fourth quarter GDP growth up to 3.0% from the initial estimate of 2.8%. Mainly, the change stemmed from upward revision to nonresidential fixed investment, a downward revision to imports, and an upward revision to personal consumption. Interestingly, inflation, as measured by the GDP price index, was revised upwards to 0.9%. That’s quite a drop from 3Q, where it was measured at 2.6%, despite 3Q growth being significantly slower at 1.8%
The Mortgage Bankers Association reports mortgage applications fell by -0.3% last week as refinance apps dropped -2.2%. Purchase apps jumped 8.3%, though MBA isn’t impressed with that gain. They note, "Purchase application volume increased over the week, but remains within the narrow and anemic range of activity we have seen since the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit in May 2010."
The Chicago Purchasing Manager’s Index rose sharply to 64 from 60.2 last month. The Production, New Orders, and Employment sub-indexes were all up sharply. The Chicago PMI is widely seen as a predictor of the national ISM Index, which is due out tomorrow.
The Feds "beige book", which compiles anecdotal evidence on economic conditions from each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts, is due out later today. This document generally serves as a guide to Fed policy makers at the regular meetings of the FOMC, which determine the Fed’s monetary policy moves.