Free Markets, Free People

Economy

Economic Statistics for 12 Feb 15

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 25,000 to 304,000. The 4-week average fell 3,000 to 289,750. Continuing claims fell 51,000 to 2.354 million.

Retail sales fell -0.8% overall in January, while sales less autos fell -0.8%, and sales less autos and gas rose 0.2%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -1.2 points to 44.3 in the latest week.

Business inventories rose only 0.1% in December, but business sales fell a very sharp -0.9%. The stock-to-sales ratio jumped to a troubling 1.33, the highest since July 2009.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $1.4 billion last week, with total assets of $4.502 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $0.9 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply jumped by $71.6 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 11 Feb 15

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -9.0% last week, with purchases down -7.0% and refis down 10.0%.

The US Treasury reports that the January budget deficit was $-17.5 billion, which is 6.2% higher than a year ago. In January, receipts rose 8.7%, while spending rose 8.3%. For the US Government’s fiscal year so far, the total deficit now stands at $-194.2 billion vs. $-182.8 billion a year ago.


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Economic Statistics for 10 Feb 15

Redbook reports retail sales slowed substantially last week, to  2.1% on a year-ago basis, from last week’s 3.8%.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell from December’s very strong 100.4 to a respectable 97.9 in January.

Wholesale inventories rose 0.1% in December, while a -0.4% drop in sales pushed the stock-to-sales ratio up to 1.22, the highest since 2009.


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Economic Statistics for 6 Feb 15

The Labor Department reports that 257,000 net new jobs were created in January, while the unemployment rate rose 0.1% to 5.7%. In addition, December’s jobs gain was revised sharply upwards from 252,000 to 329,000. The labor force participation rate rose 0.2% to 62.9% as 1,051,000 workers returned to the labor force, which accounts also for the increase in the unemployment rate. Average hourly earnings rose 0.5%, while average weekly hours remained unchanged at 34.6 hours. The real rate of unemployment, based on the historical labor force participation rate of 66.2%, fell slightly to 10.35% from 10.56% in December.

Consumer credit rose $14.8 billion in December, helped by a big $5.8 billion jump in revolving credit.


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Economic Statistics for 5 Feb 15

Chain stores today are reporting mostly stronger rates of year-on-year sales growth in January vs December.

Challenger’s layoff count for January jumped to 53,041 from 32,640 in December. Troublingly, 40% of layoffs are in the energy sector.

Gallup’s US Payroll to Population rate fell -0.2% to 44.1%. Gallup estimates unemployment at 7.1%, and underemployment at 15.8%.

The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly widened in December, from $-39.0 billion to $-46.6 billion as exports fell -1.1% and imports rose 2.2%.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 11,000 to 278,000. The 4-week average fell 6,500 to 292,750. Continuing claims rose 6,000 to 2.400 million.

The initial estimate of non-farm productivity for the 4th Quarter of 2014 is for a decline of -1.8%, while unit labor costs increased 2.7%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -1.8 points to a still healthy 45.5 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $0.3 billion last week, with total assets of $4.500 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-7.3 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $67.5 billion in the latest week.


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6,500 in the week to 292,750

Economic Statistics for 4 Feb 15

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 1.3% last week, with purchases down -2.0%, but refis up 3.0%.

ADP sees slowing job growth with a lower-than-expected 213,000 private payroll jobs added in January.

Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index rose 1 point to 28 for January. 

The Markit PMI services index for January rose 0.9 points to 54.2.

The ISM non-manufacturing index rose 0.5 points to 56.7 in January.

J.P. Morgan’s Global Composite PMI rose 0.5 points to 52.8, while the Global Services PMI rose 0.6 points to 52.9 in January.


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Economic Statistics for 3 Feb 15

January auto sales weakened by -1.2% to 16.7 million annual rate, following December’s -0.7% decline. Having said that, sales are still strong compared to a year ago, and the weakness is centered in foreign-made vehicles.

Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index rose from -5 to 3 in January, the first positive reading since 2008.

Redbook reports retail sales rose 3.8% on a year-ago basis, from last week’s 3.2%.

Factory orders are weak at the headline level, down -3.4% in December, and the fifth straight decline. Excluding defense goods and civilian aircraft, however, orders are actually up 0.1%.


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Economic Statistics for 2 Feb 15

Gallup’s self-reported daily consumer spending measure fell to $81 in January from $98 in December.

Personal Income rose by 0.3% in January, while personal spending fell by -0.3%. The PCE Price index, and inflation measure, fell by -0.2% at the headline level, while the core rate, excluding food and energy, was unchanged. On a year-over-year basis, personal income is up 4.6% while spending is up 3.6%. The PCE price index is 0.7% higher than a year ago, while the core PCE is up 1.3%.

The Markit PMI manufacturing index for January was unchanged at 53.9. 

The ISM Manufacturing index fell -2.0 points in January to 53.5.

The J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI rose just 0.1 points in January to 51.7.


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