Majority of Economic Data found at www.haver.com
Friday, May 26th
ORDERS FOR DURABLE GOODS (those expected to last at least three years) fell 0.7% during April, this after rising 2.3%
during March. Smoothing out the m/m volatility, over the past year Orders for Durable Goods have risen 0.9%. Transportation
Orders fell 1.2% (-6.0% y/y) while Orders for NonDefense Capital Goods, Excluding Aircraft rose 0.0% (2.9% y/y) in April.
Orders for nondefense capital goods fell 1.9% during April (-2.6% y/y).
FIRST QUARTER GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, as reported by the Commerce Department, a tally of the output of all goods
and services in the United States, rose at a revised annualized rate of 1.2%, up from an initially reported 0.7% and as compared to
2.1% during Q4 and a year-over-year growth rate of 2.0%. FINAL SALES rose at a revised annualized pace of 2.2%, up from an
initially reported 1.6%, above the 1.1% recorded during Q4 and as compared to a growth rate of 2.2% y/y. GOVERNMENT
SPENDING fell at a revised annualized rate of 1.1%, an improvement over the initially recorded 1.7%, but nonetheless a sharp
drop the 0.2% in Q4 and as compared to –0.5% y/y. Meanwhile, the INVENTORY EFFECT subtracted a revised 1.0% from Q1
GDP, slightly worse than the 0.9% that was initially reported, versus an addition of 1.0% during Q4 and as compared to -0.2% y/y.
PERSONAL CONSUMPTION rose at a revised annualized rate of 0.6% during Q1 versus the initially reported 0.3%, down from
3.5% during Q4 and compared to a growth rate of 2.8% y/y. BUSINESS FIXED INVESTMENT, a key contributor to recent
economic growth, rose at a revised annualized rate of 11.4%, up from an initially recorded 9.4%, up from 0.9% in Q4 and versus 3.6%
y/y. The impact from FOREIGN TRADE added a revised 0.2% to Q1-GDP, twice the 0.1% that was initially reported, up from
-1.7% during Q4 and below the 0.1% drop y/y. RESIDENTIAL INVESTMENT rose at an annualized rate of 13.7% during Q1,
unrevised from the initial figure, up from 9.6% during Q4-2016 and versus a gain of 2.4% y/y. Finally, during Q1 the PCE Chained
GDP Price Index rose at a revised annualized rate of 2.2%, down from an initially reported 2.3%, slightly higher than the 2.1%
during Q4 as well as from the 2.0% y/y.
The University of Michigan reported that the FINAL MAY READING OF CONSUMER SENTIMENT slipped to a level of 97.1
from a preliminary May 97.7 but edged up from a final April 97.0. The final May expectations component fell to 87.7 from a
preliminary May 88.1 but rose from a final April 86.9. Lastly, the final May current conditions component fell to 111.7 from a
preliminary May 112.7 but rose from a final April 109.9.
Thursday, May 25th
INITIAL CLAIMS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS for the week ended May 20th rose 1,000 to 234,000 from a revised
233,000 one week prior. The prior week had marked the lowest level since July 1973. Initial claims for unemployment benefits have
remained below 300,000 for one-hundred-sixteen consecutive weeks, the longest streak since 1970. Meanwhile, the four-week rolling
average fell 5,750 to 235,250 from 241,000 one week prior. Continuing claims for the week ending May 13th rose 24,000 to
1,923,000 from 1,899,000 while the continuing claims four-week average fell 16,000 to 1,930,250 from 1,946,250.
Wednesday, May 24th
SALES OF EXISTING HOMES fell 130,000 during the month of April to 5.570 million from 5.700 million one month prior.
Over the past year Sales of Existing Homes have risen 1.6%. During calendar year 2016 there were 5.452 million sales of existing
homes, the highest level since 2006. According to Haver Analytics, “the number of homes on the market declined 9.0% y/y to
1.930 million. The months’ sales supply of homes increased to 4.2, the highest level in six months.” The median existing-home
sales price rose by 3.47% (6.0% y/y) or $8,200 to $244,800 in April from $236,600 during March.
Tuesday, May 23rd
The Commerce Department reported that SALES OF NEW HOMES fell 73,000 to 569,000 during April from 642,000 during
March (0.5% y/y). Sales of New Homes have fallen by 55.51% from the peak in July 2005 of 1,279,000 units. According to Haver
Analytics, “the month’s supply of homes at the current sales rate rebounded sharply last month to 5.7, the highest point since
September 2015. The median number of months a new home was on the market increased to 3.7 (NSA), the highest level since last
June.” The median price of a new home fell $9,500 or 2.98% during April to $309,200 from $318,700 in March. Over the past year
the median price of a new home has fallen 3.8%.
Thursday, May 17th
The Conference Board reported that its INDEX OF LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS rose 0.3% during April (3.2% y/y),
this after rising 0.3% in March. Eight of the ten components that comprise the LEI increased including, in order of impact were
the interest rate spread, average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted), average consumer expectations for
business conditions, average weekly manufacturing hours, the ISM New Orders Index, the Leading Credit Index (inverted),
manufacturers’ new orders for consumer goods and materials and manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding
aircraft. The negative contributors were building permits and stock prices. According to Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business
Cycles and Growth Research at the Conference Board, “the recent trend in the U.S. LEI, led by the positive outlook of consumers and financial markets, continues to point to a growing economy, perhaps even a cyclical pick up. First quarter’s weak GDP growth is likely a temporary hiccup as the economy returns to its long-term trend of about two percent.”
Tuesday, May 16th
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, a measure of strength of the manufacturing, factory and utility sectors, rose 1.0% during April,
this after rising 0.4% during March, respectively (2.1% y/y). CAPACITY UTILIZATION edged up to 76.7% during April from
76.1% in March and as compared to 75.6% y/y. Finally, MANUFACTURING CAPACITY rose to 75.9% during April from 75.2%
in March and vs.75.1% one year ago and as compared to a recession low 65.4%. On a side note, the nation’s mines, factories and
utilities operated at an average of 80.4% of capacity from 1972 to 2009.
HOUSING STARTS fell 2.57% or 31,000 to 1,172,000 during April, as compared to 1,203,000 in March. Over the past year
Housing Starts have risen 0.7%. Calendar year 2016 starts rose by 1,116,000, the highest since August 2007 and more than double
- Of note is the fact that there must be approximately 100,000 housing starts per year just to replace those lost to natural causes,
man-induced causes or by the growing U.S. population. During February, Single-family housing starts rose 0.36% or 3,000 to
835,000 from 832,000. Multi-family housing starts fell 34,000 or 9.16% to 337,000 in April from 371,000 during March.
BUILDING PERMITS, a preview of future housing starts fell 2.46% to 1,229,000 during April from 1,260,000 one month prior.
Friday, May 12th
RETAIL SALES rose 0.4% during April, this after rising a revised 0.1% during March (4.5% y/y). March’s numbers were revised
up from an initial loss of 0.2%. Spending on MOTOR VEHICLE & PARTS rose 0.7% (4.4% y/y) while RETAIL SALES
EXCLUDING AUTOS rose 0.3% (4.5% y/y). NON-AUTOS LESS GASOLINE, Retail Sales rose 0.3% during April (3.6% y/y).
Two key components of this report, RETAIL SALES AT GASOLINE STATIONS rose 0.2% during April (12.3%y/y) while
FOOD SERVICE AND DRINKING PLACE SALES rose 0.4% during April (3.9% y/y).
The Commerce Department reported that BUSINESS INVENTORIES rose 0.2% during March (2.6% y/y), this after rising 0.2%
during February, while BUSINESS SALES rose 0.0% in March (6.5% y/y). This relationship between business inventories as
compared to sales keep the INVENTORY-TO-SALES RATIO at 1.35 months during March, unchanged versus February and as
compared to 1.40 months one year ago. The manufacturing inventory-to-sales ratio rose to 1.32 months in March, up from 1.31
months during February and as compared to 1.37 months one year ago.
The CONSUMER PRICE INDEX rose 0.2% during April (2.2% y/y), this follows a loss of 0.3% in March. A key component of
the CPI, energy prices rose 1.1% (9.3% y/y) during April, this after falling 3.2% during March. Food and beverage prices rose 0.2%
in April (0.5% y/y). Ex- food and energy, the core CPI rose 0.1% in April, fell by 0.1% during March but rose by 2.2% y/y.
Thursday, May 11th
The PRODUCER PRICE INDEX rose 0.5% during April, this after falling 0.1% during March. Over the past year the PPI has
risen 2.5%. Energy prices rose 0.8% in April (14.3% y/y), this after falling 2.9% in March. Finished food prices rose 0.9% during
April (1.5% y/y). Excluding food and energy, the so-called core PPI rose 0.4% in April (1.9% y/y). Prices for INTERMEDIATE
GOODS rose 0.5% (5.4% y/y) during April.
Wednesday, May 10th
U.S. Import Prices fell 0.5% during April, this after rising 0.1% in March. Over the past year U.S. Import Prices have risen 4.1%.
Petroleum prices rose 1.6% during April (43.8% y/y). Export prices rose 0.2% during April (3.0%y/y). Agricultural export
prices rose 0.3% during April (4.6% y/y), this after rising 0.8% in March. Non-Agricultural Export Prices rose 0.1% in April
and by 2.9% y/y.
Tuesday, May 9th
The Commerce Department reported that WHOLESALE INVENTORIES rose 0.2% during March, this after rising 0.3% during
February and by 3.0% y/y. WHOLESALE SALES rose 0.0% during March, by 0.7% during February and by 8.3% y/y. This
relationship between wholesale inventories as compared to sales helped keep the INVENTORY-TO-SALES RATIO at 1.28 months
during March as compared to February and versus 1.35 months one year ago.
Friday, May 5th
NON-FARM PAYROLLS (approximately 80% of the U.S. workforce) rose by 211,000 during April, above the consensus estimate
of 188,000. Payroll gains for the prior two months were revised to 79,000 and 232,000 from 98,000 and 219,000 for a net revised
loss of 6,000 jobs during March and February, respectively. The April numbers along with the revisions the prior two months resulted
in a three month average of 174,000. PRIVATE SECTOR companies created 194,000 jobs as the PUBLIC SECTOR added
17,000. Payrolls for the month ending May, 2014 showed total nonfarm payrolls set an all-time high, eclipsing the prior peak setback
in January 2008. That 76 month stretch was the longest since the Great Depression. Payroll data was influenced by the manufacturing
(6,000), construction (5,000), and the private service producing sectors (173,000). The retail industry added 6,300 during April after
losses totaling 56,100 over the prior two months. Meanwhile, the UNEMPLOYMENT RATE ticked down to 4.4% during April as
compared to 4.7% during February, its lowest since May 2007. According to the household survey, employment rose 156,000 during
April (1.4% y/y) while the labor force rose by 12,000 (0.8% y/y). This helped push the LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE
down to 62.9% during April from 63.0% in March. The average for this ratio was 67.1% from 1997 to 2000. The
UNDEREMPLOYMENT RATE, which includes the unemployed as well as those who were either marginally attached to the labor
force or were involuntarily working part-time (Table A-15) fell to 8.6% in April as compared to 8.9% during March and versus a
seasonally adjusted 9.3% one year prior. AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS (Table B) rose 0.27% or $0.07 to $26.19 from $26.12
during April and have risen by $0.65 or 2.55% from $25.54 one year ago. This helped push AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS up
0.56% to $900.54 during April from $895.52 in March. Average Weekly Earnings over the past year have risen by $22.36 or 2.55%
to $900.94 from $878.58. AVERAGE HOURS WORKED edged up to 34.4 during April from 34.3 hours in March and versus 34.4
hours one year ago. Also of note was the fact that the manufacturing week (Table B-7) rose to 41.8 hours during April as compared to
41.7 hours in March and versus 41.8 hours one year ago. The number of the long-term unemployed (twenty-seven weeks or longer)
fell to (Table A) 1.626 million from 1.687 million or 22.57% as the number of unemployed fell to 7.204 million from 7.245 million.
The AVERAGE DURATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT (Table A-12) fell to 24.1 weeks during April as compared to 25.3 weeks
one month prior while the MEDIAN DURATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT fell to 10.2 weeks during April as compared to 10.3
weeks one month prior.
The Federal Reserve reported that CONSUMER CREDIT grew by $15.42 billion during March, this after rising $13.75 billion in
February. Over the past year Consumer Credit has risen 6.0%. The calendar year 2016 increase of 6.4% follows gains of 6.9% during
2015, 7.0% during 2014 as well as gains of 7.2% and 6.1% during 2013 and 2012, respectively. According to Haver Analytics,
“annualized, credit growth averaged 8% during the fifteen years ended 2007. Over an even longer time period that increase does not
loom particularly large. However, against an average of 5% growth in disposable income during those years, it precipitated a rise in
the ratio to disposable income to 24% from a longer term norm of 17%.” Non-revolving Credit (automobiles, consumer durables
and student loans), which accounts for nearly two-thirds of total consumer credit, rose by $14.5 billion during March and by 6.4% y/y
while revolving credit (credit cards) rose $2.0 billion during March and by 4.9% y/y.
Thursday, May 4th
FIRST QUARTER PRODUCTIVITY fell at an annualized rate of 0.6%, down from a gain of 1.8% during Q4 and as compared to
1.1% rise over the past twelvemonths. Meanwhile, HOURLY COMPENSATION rose at an annualized rate of 2.4% as compared to
3.1% during Q4 and 3.9% y/y. UNIT LABOR COSTS (defined as output per hour of work and can be determined by dividing total
labor costs by output) rose at an annualized pace of 3.0% during Q1 as compared to the 2.2% increase during Q4 and versus 4.3% y/y.
was initially reported and versus 4.1% during Q3 and by 2.1% y/y.
The U.S. TRADE DEFICIT narrowed to $43.7 billion during March from $43.8 billion during February. The value of EXPORTS
fell 0.88% to $191.0 billion from $192.7 billion while the value of IMPORTS fell 0.72% to $234.7 billion during March from $236.4
billion in February. According to Haver Analytics, “a 0.9% decline (9.9% y/y) in merchandise imports was paced by a 4.7% fall
(70.6% y/y) in the value of petroleum imports. The quantity of energy-related petroleum imports rose 7.6% y/y. Crude petroleum
prices rose 67.1% y/y to an average of $46.26 per barrel.” Our trade deficit with China widened to $24.6 billion during March from
$20.9 billion one year ago.
U.S. FACTORY ORDERS rose 0.2% during the month of March, this after rising 1.2% in February. Meanwhile, SHIPMENTS
fell 0.1% during March. The fact that shipments fell while orders rose resulted in a 0.0% fell in INVENTORIES (backlog) and
a 0.3% increase in UNFILLED ORDERS.
Wednesday, May 3rd
The Institute for Supply Management’s composite index of non-manufacturing (service) sector activity rose to 57.5% in April
as compared to 55.2% during March. The level recorded during April is far above the 37.2 recorded during Q4-2008 in a sector
that employs 80% of the U.S. workforce. Of note were New Orders (63.2% v. 58.9%), Employment (51.4% v. 51.6%), Business
Activity (62.4% v. 58.9%), and Backlog of Orders (53.5% v. 53.0%). The Prices Paid Component rose to 57.6% from 53.5%.
Monday, May 1st
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that PERSONAL INCOME rose 0.2% during March (4.5% y/y), this after rising 0.3%
during February. DISPOSABLE PERSONAL INCOME (personal income less taxes) rose 0.2% (4.3% y/y), this after rising 0.3%
during February. The WAGE & SALARY COMPONENT rose 0.1% in March (5.5% y/y). PERSONAL CONSUMPTION
which represents approximately 70% of economic activity rose 0.0% in March, by -0.0% in February and by 4.7% y/y. PERSONAL
SAVINGS (Disposable Personal Income Less Outlays) rose at an annualized rate of 5.9% during March, by 5.7% during February
and as compared to 5.8% one year ago. The PCE CHAIN PRICE INDEX one of the Fed’s favorite measures of inflation fell 0.2%
in March (1.8% y/y), while the core PCE Chain Price Index fell 0.1% during March, rose by 0.2% in February and by 1.6% y/y.
The Institute for Supply Management’s composite index of manufacturing sector activity slipped to 54.8% during April from
57.2% in March. Generally speaking, “a reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is expanding; below50%
indicates that it is generally contracting.” Of note were the changes in New Orders (57.5% v. 64.5%), Production (58.6% v. 57.6%),
Supplier Deliveries (inverse, indicates faster delivery times) (55.1% v. 55.9%), Inventories (51.0% v. 49.0%) and Employment
(52.0% v. 58.9%). The Prices Paid Component fell to 68.5% during April as compared to 70.5% in March.
U.S. CONSTRUCTION SPENDING fell 0.2% during March, this after rising 1.8% during February. Over the past year
Construction Spending has risen 3.6%. Private Construction Spending rose 0.0% in March (7.0% y/y), this after rising 1.7%
during February. Private Residential Construction Spending rose 1.2% in March (7.5% y/y). Nonresidential Construction
Spending fell 1.3% (6.4% y/y) while Public Construction Spending slipped 0.9% in March (-6.5% y/y).
According to the Department of Labor, the EMPLOYMENT COST INDEX, a “measure of quarterly changes in compensation costs,
which include wages, salaries, and employer costs for employee benefits for civilian workers (non-farm private and state and local
government)” rose by 0.8% during the first quarter, this following an 0.5% increase during Q4-2016. The ECI has risen by 2.4% y/y.
The wages & salaries component (70% of ECI) rose by 0.8% during Q1 vs. 0.5% during Q4-2016 and as compared to 2.5% y/y.
The cost of benefits rose by 0.7% over the past quarter, this after rising 0.5% during Q4-2016 and by 2.5% y/y.
Wednesday, April 26th
The CONFERENCE BOARD’S CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX fell to 120.5 during April (27.0% y/y) as compared to
124.9 in March, the highest level since December 2000. The present situation index slipped to 140.6 in April from 143.9 in March,
but has risen by 20.1% y/y while the expectations component edged down to 106.7 during April from 112.3 in March, but has risen
33.9% y/y. Those surveyed saying that jobs are “hard to get” was unchanged at 19.1% of respondents during April as compared to
March while those claiming that jobs are “plentiful” fell to 30.8% of respondents during April versus 31.8% in March.
Thursday, April 20th
The Conference Board reported that its INDEX OF LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS rose 0.4% during March (3.5% y/y),
this after rising 0.5% in February. Eight of the ten components that comprise the LEI increased including, in order of impact were
the interest rate spread, the ISM New Orders Index, average consumer expectations for business conditions, building permits, stock
prices, the Leading Credit Index (inverted), manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft and
manufacturers’ new orders for consumer goods and materials. The negative contributors were average weekly manufacturing hours
and average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted). According to Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business
Cycles and Growth Research at the Conference Board, “the March increase and upward trend in the U.S. LEI point to continued economic growth in 2017, with perhaps an acceleration later in the year if consumer spending and investment pick up.”