Category Archives: Economic Alert

CPI Slips on Falling Oil Prices

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.3% in November, pushed down by the largest drop in prices at the pump since the height of the financial crisis in December of 2008. The CPI rose a negligible 1.3% from a year ago, once again driven down by low gas prices. Food prices rose 0.2% during the [...]

Housing Starts Data Better than Headline

Headline housing starts fell 17,000 in November from an upwardly revised figure in October. October’s revision of +36,000 was large enough to eclipse November’s decline;

Industrial Production Rebounds

Industrial production rebounded 1.3% in the month of November and was revised up for the month of October, when weakness in the mining and utilities sector took a toll on overall gains. Upward revisions were made back to June, which helps explain some of the buildup in inventories that we saw in the third quarter. [...]

Santa Wore Deep Pockets in November

Retail sales surged 0.7% in November and were revised up for the month of October, which has become an important indicator for the holiday shopping season.

Construction Spending Rebounds

Construction spending surged 1.1% in October, more than twice the consensus, while losses for September came in much smaller than initially reported. The largest increase was in the public sector, which had weighed down construction figures earlier in the year. In that sector, the largest gains were in health care and public safety. Highway construction [...]

Manufacturing Data Mixed

The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) flash manufacturing index slowed in November with a worrisome shortfall in both new orders and actual manufacturing activity. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) index for manufacturing activity, however, held up somewhat better with gains in new orders and production offsetting some moderation in hiring.

Consumers Better but Durable Goods not So Good

Durable goods orders finally bounced back in October and rose 0.4% from September after two months of declines. Moreover, September losses are now smaller than initially reported. Gains were concentrated in defense aircraft and parts, reflecting the need to ramp up to deal with escalating tensions in the Middle East including the bombing of ISIS. [...]

Pleasant Upside Surprise for Third Quarter GDP

Real GDP in the third quarter was revised up to 3.9% from an initial estimate of 3.5%, a welcome upward surprise in growth. Moreover, most of the rise was due to positive factors, such as stronger-than-initially-estimated consumer spending and business investment. Exports were revised down, reflecting weakness abroad

Existing Home Sales Highest Since September 2013

Existing home sales handily beat expectations in October, coming in at a 5.26 million-unit annualized rate. September data were also revised to the upside. Regionally, strength was broad-based as three of the four regions showed month-to-month increases mostly concentrated in the Midwest and the South. In the Midwest, investors continue to scoop up properties to [...]

There Is More to a Flat CPI than Flat Prices

The index for consumer prices (CPI) was flat in October but 1.7% higher compared to one year ago. On the surface, today’s data suggest that inflationary pressures remain contained. Prices seem to have found a bottom, which may ease some of the worries about deflationary trends that have circulated in recent months; at the very [...]