Category Archives: Diane Swonk

Spending and Incomes Flatline in July

Real disposable incomes increased by 0.1% in July after being revised up for the month of June.  The most weakness occurred in wages and salaries. Rental incomes increased, which is keeping investors in the housing market, particularly in the Midwest where foreclosures are still around for investors to flip to rent. Real expenditures were slightly [...]

GDP Q2 Revised to Upside

Real GDP was revised up 0.2% to 4.2% in the second quarter, a pleasant surprise as many had expected a downward revision. Increases were across the board but overall gains were still heavily dependent on a rise in inventories following a sharp drain

Surge in Aircraft Mask Underlying Weakness in Orders

Durable goods orders surged more than 20% in July to the highest level since 1992. Much of that rise, however, was due to a surge in new aircraft orders for Boeing; those have long lag times (up to five years to completion) and can be cancelled if economic conditions change. The remainder of the increases [...]

Broad-Based Losses in New Home Sales

New home sales fell from a 422,000 unit pace in June to a 412,000 unit pace in July; the data for June was revised up slightly, but the sales remain above levels hit a year ago. Losses in the month of July were broad-based with the exception of the South; the South is by far [...]

Existing Home Sales Rose Last Month

I am traveling but did a quick read on existing home sales  figures released this morning by the National Association of Realtors. The increase in existing sales in July is welcome but also suspect, given the downward revision to June. We are still playing catch-up

Housing Starts Increase

Housing starts moved back above the one-million-unit mark again in July, and were revised up for the month of June. This is a highly volatile and unreliable series, but we will take what we can get when it comes to housing; the gains are also corroborated by the survey of home builder confidence,

CPI Treads Water in July

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) edged up 0.1% in July from June, with widespread declines in energy prices offsetting a larger-than-expected uptick in food prices. Grocers and restaurants raised prices, attempting to tap into the discretionary spending that lower prices at the pump will hopefully bring. So far, however, increases in food prices have proven [...]

Autos Drive Gains in IP

Industrial production rose 0.4% in July, supported by outsize gains in vehicle production.  Many plants were running in July when retooling typically occurs to either catch up on losses from interruptions during the winter months or ramp up for an expanded number of new model introductions. Unusually harsh winter weather also accelerated the pace at [...]

Retail Sales Flatline in July

Retail sales disappointed again in July, flatlining after rising only 0.2% in June. Declines were in everything from big-ticket durable goods such as vehicles (some of that could be because of the shift from more expensive trucks into less expensive cars), furniture and appliances to the big-box retailers. Even the large discount chains were hit. [...]

Employment Data Affirm Fed Strategy of Gradualism

Payroll employment rose a less-than-expected 209,000 in the month of July, with modest upward revisions for a net 15,000 additional jobs in the previous two months. This is the sixth month that we have seen job gains exceed the 200,000 threshold, but just barely. Indeed, private sector job creation fell slightly below the 200,000 level, [...]