Author Archives: Diane Swonk

Inflation Looks Hotter than it is

The Consumer Price Index edged up a modest 0.1% in April, with retreating energy prices offsetting some of the increase in services. Core CPI (non- food and non-energy) rose a more than expected 0.3% in April. Almost all of the acceleration in inflation could be traced to the medical services component, which has been decelerating [...]

Another Dismal Report

Industrial production dropped 0.3% in April. The decline for March was not as severe as originally reported, but still lower. Losses in the mining and utilities sector are driving the drop in industrial production. That said, the weakness was broad-based

Retail Sales Better than Headline Suggests

Retail sales were essentially unchanged in April after being revised up for the month of March. Much of the weakness can be traced to a drop in big-ticket spending last month

Moderate Rebound in Employment

Payroll employment rebounded by 223,000 in April after being revised down for the month of March. The snapback was in places one would expect, such as construction and teachers at the state and local levels.

Employment Expected to Pick Up

We expect payroll employment to rise by 220,000 in April after adding a negligible 120,000 in March. Private payrolls are forecast to account for 215,000 of those gains. Much, of course, will depend upon revisions, which we are hoping to be to the upside for March.

Q1 GDP to Show Hit from Trade Deficit

The trade deficit widened dramatically in March as containers that had been stockpiled during labor disputes at West Coast ports were finally unloaded and made room for new shipments. Indeed, almost all of the increase in imports came from Asia,

Construction Spending: Better than the Headline

Construction spending dropped 0.6% in March but was revised up a bit during the previous two months. Losses were concentrated in the public sector with a further pullback in spending at the state and local levels exacerbating losses at the federal level. Residential construction also retreated after better gains in January and February. The bright [...]

Consumers Catch Up on Spending

Personal consumption expenditures rose 0.4% in March after being revised up slightly for the previous month. The increase was 0.2% faster than the pace of inflation. Personal disposable income growth actually contracted slightly

Another Downdraft in Growth

Real GDP rose an almost negligible 0.2% in the first quarter, marking the fifth time that the economy has slowed to a standstill or worse since the onset of the “recovery” in 2009. Some of the weakness may be attributed to transitory factors

Limited Rebound in Durable Goods Orders

Durable goods orders rose a much stronger-than-expected 4% in March, driven by strong gains in volatile aircraft orders. Orders for both private and defense aircraft surged over the month. Overall, durable goods orders, however, remain essentially flat