Free Markets, Free People

Economic statistics


Economic Statistics for 13 Mar 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose to 94.3, the sixth straight month of increases for the index.

Retail sales rose 1.1% in February. Less autos, sales were up 0.9%, and ex-autos and gas, sales rose 0.6%.

Business inventories rose 0.7% in January, keeping the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at 1.27.

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index rose 0.7% in February, following a drop of -1.7% in January. Even with the February increase, the PCI is indicating that the economy is still weaker than other indicators seem to show.

In weekly retail sales, Redbook reports same store sales were up by 3.3% over last year. Meanwhile, ICSC-Goldman reports weekly sales rose 0.7% for the week, and were up 2.3% over last year.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 9 Mar 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

The Employment Situation: 227,000 net new jobs, unemployment rate at 8.3%, average hourly earning up 0.1%, weekly hours unchanged. Basically, the report is mixed. The labor force participation rate rose by 0.2% to 63.6%, so more people are coming back to the labor force. The number of employed people in the household survey has risen back to the December level, after dropping last month. Non-farm payrolls continue to increase. At the same time, hourly earnings and hours are basically unchanged, so there’s not a lot of hiring pressure. Using the personal methodology I use, that assumes full employment is a 66.2% labor force participation rate, the "real" rate of unemployment declined to 12.08% from last month’s 12.48%.

The Monster Employment Index jumped 10 points in February to 143. Monster says this reflects a normal seasonal bump.

The January trade deficit grew by $2 billion to $52.6 billion, mainly due to rising oil prices.

Wholesale trade inventories grew by 0.4%, but the stock-to-sales ratio is unchanged at 1.15.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 8 Mar 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

Challenger reports that announced layoffs in February were little changed at 51,728, compared to 53,486 in January and 50,702 a year ago.

Initial claims for unemployment  for the the March 3 week rose 8,000 to 362,000 with the previous week revised 3,000 higher to 354,000. The 4-week moving average rose 1,000 to 355,000.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to -36.7 in the period ended March 4, the highest since April 2008.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 7 Mar 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

The Mortgage Bankers Association reports mortgage applications fell -1.2% last week, with purchase apps up 2.1%, but re-fis down -2.0%.

The ADP Employment Report estimates that February net new jobs in Friday’s Employment Situation report will rise by 216,000.

The final revision for 4Q productivity shows a 0.9% increase in productivity for the quarter, but with a 2.8% increase in unit labor costs. Productivity gains are modest, while labor costs are escalating.  This is not good for continued labor growth.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 6 Mar 12

Weekly retail sales are the only thing on the calendar today. Redbook reports sales suffered a -0.4% drop to a 3.0% year-on-year same-store sales rate for the week due to bad weather. ICSC-Goldman, on the other hand, is reporting that, while weekly store sales rose 1.3%, the year-on-year sales rate is only 1.7%, as higher gas prices put more pressure on consumers’ pocketbooks.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 5 Mar 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

Factory orders declined by -0.1% in January, led by weakness in durable goods, which fell -3.8%.

The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index rose five-tenths from last month to a better-than-expected 57.3.

That’s all for today, as we kick off a light week of statistics, with the exception of Friday’s Employment Situation.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 01 Mar 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

Chain stores are reporting sales today, and a large majority are reporting greater rates of year-on-year sales growth in February than in January.

Initial jobless claims were 351,000, down 2,000 from the prior week. The 4-week moving average fell 5,500 to 354,000.

Personal income rose 0.3% in January, up 3.6% for the year. Personal expenditures rose 0.2% for the month, and 3.8% for the year. The Core PCE price index rose 0.2% for the month, and 1.9% for the year.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index posted at -38.8 for the 26 Feb period. This is almost a 4-year high. I don’t know whether that’s supposed to make me happy at the increase, or sad that the high is still a negative number.

The ISM Index fell to 52.4 this month, from 54.1 last month, indicating a slower rate of manufacturing growth.

Construction spending came in well below expectations of a 1% increase, posting a -0.1% decline for the month, though it’s still 7.1% higher than a year ago.

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Dale Franks
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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.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 28 Feb 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US Economy:

Durable goods orders fell -4.0% for January, but were still 8.1% higher than a year ago. Ex-transportation, orders fell -2.3% for the month, but were up 5.7% over last year.

Home prices are still falling, as Case-Schiller reports prices dropped a steep -0.5% in December. That’s down -4.0% from last December.

Consumer confidence jumped more than 9 points to 70.8. That’s still below the February 2011 index of 72.0, however.

The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index jumped sharply, up 8 points to 20, indicating a strong increase in manufacturing in the district. This continues the trend of strong regional manufacturing reports we’ve been seeing, but is at odds with the weak durable goods orders data also released this morning.

State Street’s Investor Confidence Index says institutional investors may be getting skittish, as the index dropped to a very weak 86.5 in February.

In retail sales, Redbook reports a strong 3.4% year-over-year increase in same store sales. Conversely, ICSC-Goldman’s same-store sales index fell a big -1.0% for the week, and the year-over-year 2.7% increase is the lowest in three months.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 27 Feb 11

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US Economy:

The National Association of Realtors reports the Pending Home Sales Index rose nearly 2 points to 97.0. Year-on-year, pending sales were up 5.6%.

In the Dallas Fed’s manufacturing survey, the business activity index rose to 17.8, and the production index rose to 11.2.

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Dale Franks
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