Free Markets, Free People

Dale Franks

Dale Franks’ QandO posts

Economic Statistics for 8 May 15

Wholesale inventories rose 0.1%, but a -0.2% drop is sales leaves the stock-to-sales ratio at a chubby 1.30.

The March Employment Situation shows 223,000 net new jobs created, with the unemployment rate dropping -0.1% to 5.4%. Labor force participation rose a tick to 62.8%, which is still at 1978 levels. Average hourly earnings rose just 0.1%, while the average workweek is unchanged at 34.5 hours. The already weak February report was revised sharply downwards to 85,000 net new jobs from the already weak initial report of 126,000.


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Economic Statistics for 7 May 15

Chain stores reported generally lower year-on-year rates of sales growth for April, mainly due to the early Easter this year.

Price weakness in the oil sector led the big jump in Challenger’s April layoffs report, which jumped to 61,582.  A third of those layoff came from the oil sector.Today’s number is a huge increase from March’s 36,594.

Gallup’s US Payroll to Population unemployment index fell from 44.1 to 43.9 in April.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 3,000 to 265,000. The 4-week average fell 4,250 to 279,500. Continuing claims fell 28,000 to 2.228 million. Jobless claims are currently at a 15-year low.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -1 point to 43.7 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $1.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.473 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-11.3 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-27.4 billion in the latest week.

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Economic Statistics for 6 May 15

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -4.6% last week, with purchases up 1.0% but refis down -8.0%.

ADP is signaling that Friday’s Employment Situation will be weak, showing just 169,000 new private sector jobs in April.

2015’s weak 1st Quarter economy pulled productivity down by -1.9%, while unit labor costs surged 5.0%. On a year-over-year basis, productivity is up only 0.6%, though labor costs are also restrained at 1.1%.

Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index rose 2 points in April to 31.


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Economic Statistics for 5 May 15

March’s trade deficit was much higher than expected at $-51.4 billion. This may push 1st Quarter GDP into negative territory on revision.

Gallup’s U.S. economic confidence index for April fell from -2 in March to -9.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales weakened again, falling to 1.4% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.6%.

The PMI Services Index fell -1.8 points to a still-strong 57.4 in April. Both costs and finished prices rose, some of the first inflation signals of any report.

The ISM non-manufacturing index strengthened from 56.5 to 57.8 in April. Unlike the PMI, however, there are no signs of price pressure.


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Economic Statistics for 1 May 15

April motor vehicle sales fell -4.1% from a strong March, to still fairly robust 16.5 million annual rate.

The Markit PMI manufacturing index for April fell -1.6 points to 54.1 in April.

Weakness in the employment component held the ISM manufacturing index unchanged for April at 51.5.

The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index was unchanged in April at 95.9.

March construction spending dropped -0.6% against expectations of an increase of 0.4%, showing basic weakness in the construction sector. 


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Economic Statistics for 30 Apr 15

Personal income was unchanged in March, while personal spending rose 0.4%. The PCE Price index rose 0.2% overall and 0.1% at the core. On a year-over-year basis, income is up 3.8% while spending is up 3.0%. The PCE Price Index is up 0.3% overall, but up 1.4% when food and energy is excluded, the so-called core rate.

The Employment Cost Index rose 0.7% in the 1st Quarter of 2015. On a year-ago basis, employment costs have risen 2.6%.

The Chicago Purchasing Manager’s Index jumped from 46.3 to 52.3 in April. It’s worth noting, though, that this is a volatile index.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index declined for the 3rd straight week, from 45.2 to 44.7 in the latest week.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 34,000 to 262,000. The 4-week average fell 1,250 to 283,750. Continuing claims fell 74,000 to 2.253  million. This weeks number of claims was the lowest since April of 2000.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-18.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.472 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-3.2 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-1.9 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 29 Apr 15

The initial GDP estimate for the 1st Quarter of 2015 was for 0.2% annualized growth, down from an unrevised 2.2% in the 4th Quarter of 2014. The GDP Price index fell -0.1% for the quarter. Exports were a drag on GDP as a strong dollar is inhibiting foreign demand. Business spending (nonresidential fixed investment) contracted in the quarter, while personal spending (personal consumption expenditures) slowed abruptly. Lower demand also caused an unwanted upswing in inventories.

The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index rose 1.1% in March to 108.6.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -2.3% last week, with purchases unchanged, but refis down -4.0%.

The Federal Open Markets Committee left interest rates unchanged today, with a Fed Funds target rate of 0%-0.25%. The FOMC’s statement says growth has “slowed” since the committee last met in March, but view the slowing as temporary, saying that economic activity will expand at a “moderate” pace.


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