Category Archives: Economic Alert

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 [...]

Housing Starts Snap Back in April

Housing starts snapped back in April after dismal reports for February and March. Total starts last month grew at a 1.14 million-unit, annualized pace on top of an upward revision to the previous month. Gains were led by the Northeast region

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

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

New Home Sales Slow

In March, new home sales slowed to a 481,000-unit rate after a surprisingly strong February, which was revised even higher to a 543,000-unit pace. That slowdown may seem discouraging but some giveback after the pop in February was expected. More interestingly, the median sales price of new homes actually contracted 1.7% on a year-over-year basis. [...]

Five Themes for the Week

Economic Struggles in China and Greece Chinese authorities sprang into action just a few days after announcing a disappointing first quarter GDP growth rate. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) last night reduced the banks’ reserve requirement by 1% to 18.5% with the intended goal of free, loanable funds in the banking system in order [...]