Author Archives: Diane Swonk

Construction Data Improves with Detail

Construction spending rose an almost imperceptible 0.1% in June, with a drop in the private sector offsetting ongoing gains in the public sector. Revisions to previous months were to the upside, however, suggesting that the improving trend in construction that we saw with last month’s release is still intact.

Incomes Solid, Outlays Moderate

Personal disposable incomes rose 0.2% in the month of June after adjusting for inflation. The inflation-adjusted data on Personal Consumer Expenditures (PCE) were essentially flat. The numbers were not as bad as they appeared

ECI Undercuts Fed Swagger

The Employment Cost Index (ECI), which is widely considered the “best” measure of overall wage gains by the Federal Reserve, disappointed in the second quarter. Fees and commissions, which buoyed first quarter gains, slowed fairly dramatically along with outlays for benefits

Revisions Smooth Path of Growth

The overall economy expanded at a 2.3% pace in the second quarter after rising at an upwardly revised 0.6% pace in the first quarter. Benchmark revisions, which incorporate new data and attempt to deal with the first quarter seasonal problems, helped to smooth the path of growth in recent years.

Aircraft Orders Buoy Durable Goods

Durable goods orders rose 3.4% in June after contracting a more-than-previously-reported 2.1% in May. A 66% surge in the highly volatile aircraft sector accounted for much of the gain.

Housing Primer

Watch this week’s housing market data closely for key trends: 1. Was it a fluke that first-time buyers increased in May, in both relative and absolute terms? Millennials were reluctant/unable to buy (or even leave their parent’s homes) earlier in the expansion. A critical issue will be whether the volume of first-time buyers in the [...]

Multifamily Market Hot: Inflation Tepid

Housing starts rebounded to a 1.174 million-unit pace in June, while the decline for May was slightly less than initially reported. Gains were concentrated in the multi-family market as builders are still rushing to meet what they see as a permanent shift by millennials to move to urban centers and delay marriage and having children; [...]

Production Still Tepid

The index for industrial production rose 0.3% in June, slightly better than expected. Much of the increase, however, was concentrated in the utilities and mining sectors as opposed to manufacturing,

Retail Sales Disappoint

Retail sales dropped 0.3% in June, as a drop in vehicle sales contributed to weakness across the board. The only categories to post major gains were electronics and appliance stores sales, gasoline station sales, and spending at discount stores. Moreover, sales for the previous month, which had been relatively robust, were revised down slightly. This [...]

Tsipras Capitulates

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras capitulates after taking his economy to the brink. He has agreed to a far reaching deal after 17 hours of a touch and go marathon session with Greece’s creditors. The deal must now go to parliament for a vote. The deal will likely force hardliners, on the left, out of office and [...]