Tag Archives: consumer

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 [...]

Inflation Dips on Lower Gas Prices

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) edged 0.2% lower in August, largely on a drop in energy prices. Prices at the pump fell more than 4% alone. All of the savings at the pump is likely to be spent on food, where prices continued to rise during the month.

Strong Retail Sales Help Dispel Employment Worries

Retail sales jumped 0.6% in August, with strong gains in vehicles, housing-related furniture, appliances and electronics. More importantly, those gains were on top of upward revisions to the month of July which, when combined with improving consumer attitudes about prospects for employment, affirm our view that the initial disappointing employment report for the month of [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]