Tag Archives: consumer

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 [...]

Small Decline in Industrial Production Does not Derail Recovery

Industrial production slipped by 0.1% in October, mostly because of declines in mining and utilities output. After the strong gains in September, today’s decline does not come as a complete surprise because many expected a temporary payback; it is a partial disappointment. Compared to one year ago, manufacturing output grew by a solid 3.7%, a [...]

Consumers Deliver for Halloween

Retail sales rose 0.3% in October, slightly more than expected. U.S. consumers are spending some of the increased income that they are gaining from recent job growth, increased working hours and lower prices at the pump. Indeed, core retail sales, which exclude vehicle and gasoline sales, jumped 0.6% during the month with broad-based gains in [...]

Falling Oil Pushes Down Import Prices

Imports fell 1.3%, due mostly due to a sharp downdraft in energy prices. Energy prices alone fell 6.9% during the month. More worrisome is that import prices excluding oil were also down slightly and have been falling for several months. That reflects the disinflationary effect that a strong dollar is beginning to have on import [...]

Construction Disappoints, Manufacturing Improves

Construction spending dropped 0.4% in September, after falling a revised 0.5% in August. The weakness in August was less than initially reported but the data were still a disappointment. Losses were concentrated in public sector construction. The private sector also saw some weakness, however, particularly in nonresidential construction. Gains in lodging, food, drinking establishments and [...]

Tipping Point for Wages

The employment cost index rose 0.7% in the third quarter, more than expected after rebounding from the doldrums in the second quarter. The index rose 2.3% from a year ago on the heels of slightly stronger wage growth; benefit costs for employers actually decelerated from a year ago.

Frightening Consumer Spending Data

Personal consumer outlays dropped 0.2% in September from August, reinforcing the negative read that the recent retail sales report provided for us. A shortfall in retail sales in September was one of the factors that triggered a selloff in the stock market earlier this month when traders feared that the U.S. consumer couldn’t play the [...]

Real GDP Holds Strong

Real GDP rose 3.5% in the third quarter after rebounding at a 4.6% pace in the second quarter. We have been trying to regain ground lost to unusually harsh winter weather in the first quarter of the year when real GDP declined by 2.1%. Most components of real GDP decelerated after the catch-up we saw [...]

Retail Sales Disappoint

Total retail sales slipped 0.3% in September after surging in August. A drop in vehicle sales from a post-recession high was one reason for the weakness. Core retail sales, which exclude the volatile vehicle and gasoline components, also dipped slightly during the month. That was despite a sharp drop in prices at the pump and [...]

New Home Sales Jump

New home sales jumped at a double-digit pace to a 504,000 unit rate in August after being revised up for the month of July. This is welcome news in a housing market that has been lackluster at best and underscores how picky buyers remain in this market. Realtors complain that anything that is not move-in-perfect [...]