Free Markets, Free People

Economic statistics


Economic Statistics for 19 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The Consumer Price Index was unchanged in December. The Core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, rose only 0.1%.

Housing starts slipped to a 650,000 annualized rate in December. Housing permits, though, rose to a 6798,000 rate, which is encouraging.

Initial jobless claims dropped by 50,000 to an unexpectedly low 352,000, the largest weekly drop since September 2005. The 4-week moving average dropped from 381,750 to 379,000. Continuing claims also greatly improved, falling 215,000 to 3.432 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to -47.4 from the last reading’s -44.7.

The Philadelphia Fed’s survey shows a drop in general business conditions to 7.3 from last month’s 10.3.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 18 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Industrial production rose by 0.4% last month, with manufacturing increasing 0.9%. Capacity utilization rose to 78.1%.

The overall Producer Price Index fell -0.1% last month, but is up 4.8% on a year-over-year basis. The Core PPI, minus food and energy—rose 0.3%, and is up 3% for the year.

The Housing Market Index rose from a depressed 21 to a slightly less depressed 25 last month.

The Mortgage Bankers Association is reporting a huge jump in mortgage applications, with purchase apps up 10.3% and re-finance apps up 26.4%, bringing the composite up 23.1% for the week.

In weekly retail sales, Redbook reports a second slow weeks of retail sales, with a year-over-year sales increase of only 2.8%. ICSC-Goldman Store Sales are also soft, with chain store sales up only 0.1% for the week, and 3% over last year.

Overall, we’re continuing to see mildly good news overall, in terms of production and housing, but retail spending and employment remains relatively weak, and inflation threats still hover over what remains a somewhat recessionary economy.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 13 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The US trade deficit widened sharply to $-47.8 billion on both rising oil imports and falling exports.

December export prices fell -0.5%, but were up 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. Import prices also fell -0.1% for the month, but were up 8.5% for the year.

Consumer sentiment continues to rise to 74.0 at mid-month January from 69.9 at the end of December.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 12 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Initial Jobless claims have been declining for several weeks, but last week jumped 24,000 to 399,000. The first week of the year is always bad like that, though. Often, it’s the worst week of the year. I think the seasonal variations really confound the government’s ability to factor in the loss of temporary holiday jobs.

December retail sales were worse than expected. Sales were up 0.1% over last month and, ex-autos, actually declined -0.2%. Ex-autos and Gas, sales were flat. Retail sales for October and November were also revised downwards. On a year-on-year basis, however, sales were up 6.5%, and up 6% ex-autos. So today’s report is a disappointment, but not a disaster.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was -44.7 last week, up from -44.8 the prior week. That’s the highest reading since July.

Business inventories and sales both rose 0.3% in November, keeping the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged for a 5th straight month.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 11 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The MBA reports Mortgage applications are on the rebound after 3 weeks of sharp declines. Purchase applications rose 8.1% and refinance applications rose 3.3% last week. The composite index rose 4.5%.

We’re waiting, at the moment, for the release of the Fed’s Beige Book report on the economy, due out at 2PM EST.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 10 Jan 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index  rose for a 4th straight month by 1.8 points to 93.8.

Inventory build corrected sharply in November wholesale trade, increasing only 0.1% as businesses kept their inventories in check.

In weekly retail sales: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales plunged -5.4% in the Jan 7 week, with Year on year sales growth only 2.8%. Redbook also reports a strong sales decline, with the year-on-year rate falling from 4.9% to 3.3% last week.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 6 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The Monster employment index fell 7 points in December to 140, as global economic uncertainty keeps hiring plans cautious.

But you don’t care about that. You care about the December Employment Situation. The BLS reports that 200,000 net new jobs were created last month, with the unemployment rate falling to 8.5%. Average hourly earnings increased by 0.2% while the average workweek rose 0.1 hours to 34.4 hours. The labor force shrunk by 50,000 but household employment rose 176,000 and the number of unemployed declined 226,000, according to the household survey. The labor force participation rate held steady at 64.0%. The U-6 unemployment rate, the broadest measure of unemployment, fell from 15.6% to 15.2%. Every indication is of a slowly and mildly improving labor market in December.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 5 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Auto Sales were mixed last month, coming in at a 13.6 million annual rate, the same as November. Light vehicle sales rose 2.8%, however, the best since the "Cash for Clunkers" program expired in August 2009.

Chain stores are reporting sales throughout the day today. So far, about 1/2 of the reporting stores show improved year-on-year sales from last month. Additionally, some chains are raising their investor guidance following the sales results, confirming improved profitability and sales.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report shows that layoff announcements totaled 41,785 in December. That’s right on trend for the last 3 months.

The ADP Employment Report indicates a big increase in private payroll growth, to 325,000 new jobs for December. While I suspect the overall December Employment Situation, which the BLS will release tomorrow, will be at least mildly positive, 325,000 new jobs seems like a stretch for the month. December’s always a tricky month anyway, due to seasonal employment, and the adjustment factors that try to account for it. A BLS increase of 160,000+ new jobs wouldn’t surprise me tomorrow, though, nor would a tick down in the Unemployment rate.

Initial jobless claims fell 15,000 last week to 372,000 from the prior week’s revised 387,000 (an upward revision of 6,000).

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to -44.8 in the period ended January 1 from -47.5 the prior week.

The ISM’s Non-Manufacturing Index rose slightly to 52.6, below expectations for 53.4, and only 0.6 higher than last month.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 4 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Factory orders rose 1.8% in November, mainly on aircraft orders. Ex-transportation, orders rose 0.3%.

A short week and seasonal adjustments aside, the MBA reports that mortgage activity declined, as mortgage applications fell by -3.7%. Purchase applications fell  a steep -9.7%, while re-finance apps dropped by -1.9%.

In weekly retail sales, ICSC-Goldman Store Sales rose a strong 1.2% over the last week, and 5.3% over last year. Likewise, Redbook reports a year-over-year same-store sales increase of 4.9%.

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Dale Franks
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