A -2.1% decline in exports outpaced a -1.3% drop in imports to increase January’s trade deficit to $-45.7 billion.
242,000 net new jobs were created in February, as the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9%. The labor participation rate rose to 62.9%. On the negative side, however, average hourly earnings fell -0.1%, as did the average work week, down -0.2 hours to 34.4 hours. The U-6 unemployment rate, the broadest measure of underemployment, fell -0.2% to 9.7%.
Chain stores that still report monthly sales growth are mostly reporting stronger rates of year-on-year sales in February than January.
Non-farm productivity for the 4th quarter of 2015 was revised upwards to -2.2%, and labor cost increased were revised down to 3.3%.
Factory orders rose a strong 1.6% in January thanks to wide strength in durable goods. Core capital goods orders rose 3.4%.
Markit’s PMI Services index for February fell to a contractionary 49.7 from 53.2. The ISM Non-Manufacturing index held steady, down only -0.1 point to 53.4.
The Challenger Job-Cut Report came in at 62,599 layoffs announced in February.
The Gallup Good Jobs rate in the U.S. was 44.6% in February, down just -0.1% from the previous month.
Initial weekly jobless claims rose 6,000 to 278,000. The 4-week average fell 1,750 to 270,250. Continuing claims rose 3,000 to 2.257 million.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.6 points to 43.6 in the latest week.
The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-11.3 billion last week, with total assets of $4.479 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-8.5 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $34.2 billion in the latest week.
The Fed’s Beige Book characterizes the economy as relatively flat, with most districts reporting modest to moderate growth.
February’s ADP Employment Report indicates that 214,000 new private sector jobs were created during the month.
The Gallup US Job creation Index was unchanged at 29 in February.
The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -4.8% last week, with purchases down -1.0% and refis down -7.0%.
Motor Vehicle Sales were strong in February, at a 17.5 million annualized pace overall, and 14.1 million for NorthAmerican models.
Construction spending rose a strong 1.5% in January, with a year-on-year increase of 10.4%.
The ISM Manufacturing Index rose 1.3 points to a still-slightly-contractionary 49.5 in February. Meanwhile, the PMI Manufacturing Index held steady at 51.3.
Gallup’s economic confidence index averaged -13 in February. This is significantly below the reading of +1 recorded in February, 2015.
Retail sales weakness continues, as Rebook reports that last week’s retail sales fell to 0.6% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.2%.
Volatility continues in the Chicago PMI, which plunged from 52.9 to 47.6 in February.
The Pending Home Sales Index fell -2.5% to 106.0 in January.
The Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey continues to plumb the depths of contractionary readings, falling to -31.8 from -30.0 in February.
An upward revision to inventories moved the 1st revision of Q4 GDP to 1.0% annualized, while the GDP price index rose a tick to 0.9%.
January’s international trade in goods came in at a deficit of $-62.2 billion, as exports fell -2.9% and imports fell -1.5%.
Both personal income and spending rose 0.5% in January. The PCE Price Index rose 0.1% overall, and 0.3% at the core. On a year-over-year basis, the PC Price index is up 1.3% at the headline level, and 1.7% ex-food and -energy.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose 1.7 points to 91.7 in February.
Durable goods orders jumped 4.9% in January, while non-transportation orders rose 1.8%. Core capital goods rose 3.9%. On a year-over-year basis, orders are up 1.8% overall, but ex-transportation orders are down -0.6%, and core capital goods down -2.8%.
The FHFA House Price Index rose 0.4% in December, up 5.7% on a year-ago basis.
The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index slipped deeper into negative territory, coming in at -12 for February.
Initial weekly jobless claims rose 10,000 to 272,000. The 4-week average is also at 272,00. Continuing claims fell 19,000 to 2.253 million.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index held steady at 44.2 in the latest week.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $6.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.490 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-11.4 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $48.8 billion in the latest week.