Category Archives: Economic Alert

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 [...]

Consumer Prices in Line with Expectations

The headline numbers in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.2% in March, buoyed by higher energy prices, mainly motor fuel, which rose 3.9% in March.

Housing Starts Disappoint Again

Housing starts for March came in below expectations, adding only 926,000. Even though the data improved from last month, it did not rebound as strongly as many hoped. February data were revised up but only by 11,000 to 908,000. Single-family starts were much the same, adding only 618,000, which is only 26,000 higher than February. [...]

Energy Cuts Weigh on Industrial Production

Recent weeks have not been kind to economic readings, with a mix of negative reports or failures to meet expectations. Today’s report on industrial production in March is in line with the overall soft trend for the first quarter.

Consumers Emerge from Hibernation

Retail sales jumped 0.9% in March, coming in only slightly below the consensus. Gains were driven by big-ticket spending on vehicles and furniture. Pent-up demand and damages created by unusually harsh winter storms helped to spur the rebound in spending. Building materials and garden stores reported higher sales as the temperatures rose and people emerged [...]

Disappointing March Employment Data

Payroll employment rose a disappointing 126,000 in March and was revised down fairly significantly for the previous two months. That suggests that the economy was actually weaker and less resilient at the start of the year than the data initially indicated.

March Moderation

Construction spending disappointed again in February, falling 0.1% from a downward revision to January data. Everything from the unusually snowy winter, which delayed some major projects, to a crimp in investment in public infrastructure accounted for the weakness. Indeed, losses were concentrated in the public sector.

Saving Rate Rises

Real personal disposable income growth increased at a more muted 0.2% pace in February, on the heels of higher prices at the pump. Revisions to January were to the upside, but only slightly. Overall income growth remained solid during the first two months of the year, in response to solid employment growth and a pickup [...]