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Economic statistics

Economic Statistics for 15 May 12

The week’s economic calendar kicks off today, which also brings us the largest crop of the week’s releases.

ICSC-Goldman reports mixed retail sales, with a weekly sales decrease of -0.8%, but a sharp increase of 4.5% in the year on year rate. Meanwhile, Redbook reports a year on year retail sales increase of 3.7%, the strongest in six weeks.

The Consumer Price Index was unchanged for April, as energy prices declined. Ex-food and energy, the core rate of inflation rose 0.2%.

The government’s report of retail sales shows a 0.1% sales increase in April. The same rate holds ex-autos and ex-autos and gas.

The New York Fed reports the Empire State Manufacturing Survey’s index on general business conditions rose more than 10 points to 17.09.

March business inventories rose a bit slower than in February, rising by 0.3%. A rise in sales trimmed the stock-to-sales ratio to 1.27, making March inventories look quite healthy.

The Treasury reports net capital inflows of $36.2 billion in March on foreign purchases of $22.3 billion of US securities and $13.9 billion in sales of foreign securities.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 10 May 12

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

April export prices jumped 0.4% for the month, and were up 0.7% over last year. Import prices fell -0.5% for the month, and are up 0.5% for the year.

The international trade deficit widened sharply in March to $–51.8 billion.

Jobless claims held fairly steady at 367,000. Last’s week’s claims were revised upwards slightly to 368,000 from 365,000. The 4-week moving average stands at 370,000.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 8 May 12

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

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index jumped two points in April to 94.5, the best reading in a year.

In retail sales, ICSC-Goldman Store Sales fell -0.8% last week, and the year on year sales rate fell to 3.3%. Meanwhile, Redbook is also very soft, with the year on year sales rate falling to 2.6%.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 4 May 12

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

The Monster employment index rose three points in April to 146.

The headline numbers of the Employment Situation were that 120,000 net new jobs were created in April, well below expectations of 165,000 jobs. Added to that weak report were that both weekly hours and hourly wages were unchanged for the month, indicating no serious increase in pressure for hiring or demand for labor. (Well, actually, hourly earnings rose 1¢. Meh.) The unemployment rate, however, declined by 0.1% to 8.1%, which is anything but a good sign. That’s because, in the last month, the labor force again shrank from 154,707,000 in March to 154,365,000 in April, as 342,000 workers left the labor force. Likewise, the labor force participation rate declined to 63.6%, the lowest since December, 1981. Additionally, 141,865,000 people were employed in April, down from 142,034,000 in March, a decline of 169,000 in the number of people employed. So, once again the "decline" in the unemployment rate is nothing more than a decline in the labor force that is faster than the decline in employment. The headline number covers a lot of ugly details in the "A" tables of the report. As always, I’d point out that, if the labor force participation rate were at the historical average of 66.2%, the actual unemployment rate for April would be 11.73%, up from 11.56% in March. Overall, it’s a pretty negative report.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 3 May 12

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

Initial claims for unemployment fell 27,000 to a much lower-than-expected level of 365,000.

Nonfarm productivity fell -0.5% in the first quarter on slower output and more hours worked. Unit labor costs rose 2.0% for the quarter.

The ISM’s non-manufacturing composite index slowed to 53.5 from 56.0 in March.

Chain stores are reporting their sales today. In general, sales have been solid, and some retailers are raising earning guidance as a result.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to -37.6 from -35.8 the prior week.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report shows the layoff count rose to 40,559 in April from 37,880 in March and 36,490 last year.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 2 May 12

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

The MBA reports mortgage applications rose 0.1% last week, with purchases increasing 2.9%, and re-fis falling -0.7%.

The ADP Employment Report is disappointing. ADP estimates that April private payrolls rose by only 119,000, which means Friday’s employment report may be…not good.

Factory orders fell unusually sharply in March, falling -1.5%, down from a Feb increase of 1.3%. Factory orders are pretty volatile month-to-month, but this is an especially big swing.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 1 May 12 (Updated)

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

Despite the general indications that the economy is slowing, the ISM Mfg Index rose to 54.8 from 53.4 in April.

ICSC-Goldman reports that bad weather dragged retail sales down -0.3% for the week, but up 4.2% year over year. Redbook is even worse, showing a steep y/y slowdown to 2.9%.

March construction spending was unexpectedly poor, rising only 0.1% over February, and 6% over 2010.

US auto sales for April came in at a 14.4 million annual rate, unchanged from the rate in March.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 30 Apr 12

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

Personal income rose 0.4% in March, while personal spending rose 0.3%. The PCE Price index, an inflation measure, rose 0.2%. One a year over year basis, personal income rose 3.2%, personal spending rose 4.0%, and the PCE Price index rose 2.1%.

The Dallas Fed Mfg Survey shows slowing growth, with the business activity index falling to -3.4, while the production index fell to 5.6.

The Chicago PMI shows growing business activity in the Chicago Area, with the Business Barometer Index at 65.2. This report is widely seen as a precursor to the national PMI due out tomorrow, but there is often substantial divergence between the Chicago and nationwide reports.

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Dale Franks
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