Tag Archives: consumer

New Home Sales Tumble

New home sales dropped unexpectedly to a 384,000-unit pace in March from a 449,000-unit pace in February. Sales plunged the most in the Midwest and South,

CPI Rebounds from Winter Lull

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose  0.2% in March from February, well in-line with expectations and was up 1.5% from a year ago, a little hotter than we saw just a month ago. The portions of the country that escaped the polar vortex suffered a drought, which is pushing up feed prices. In response, prices [...]

Consumer Pulse Still Beating

Retail sales rose 1.1% in March, following upward revisions to February, as consumers came out of hibernation and began to spend again. Vehicle sales were particularly robust, as consumers returned to dealer showrooms and tapped the pent-up demand built during the worst months of winter. We also saw strong gains in building materials and garden [...]

Private Sector Recovers Job Numbers, not Quality

Payroll employment jumped 192,000 in March and was revised up by 37,000 for the previous two months; that puts the total number about where we expected it. Private sector employment crossed its previous peak. The quality of jobs generated, however, is not comparable in any way to those we lost. The overwhelming majority of job [...]

Affordable Care Act Distorts Income and Spending Data Again

Real (inflation-adjusted) disposable income rose 0.3% in February after being revised down to a 0.2% gain for January. A jump in Medicaid payments associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continued to provide a lift for transfer payments during the month, while gains in wages and salaries were more moderate. Real consumer expenditures rose 0.2%,

Existing Home Sales Continue to Disappoint

Existing home sales remained depressed in February, falling an additional 0.4% to a 4.6 million-unit annualized rate.  That is the lowest pace for sales since July 2012. The National Association of Realtors (NAR), which typically attempts to put a positive spin on the data, punted and acknowledged that harsh winter weather could only account for [...]

Too Cool for the Fed: Inflation and Housing

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose a tepid 0.1% in February from the month prior; a sharp drop in energy prices almost entirely offset a jump in food prices, largely in response to a drought affecting parts of the country that escaped the polar vortex.

Retail Sales Warmed up in February

Retail sales rose 0.3% in February as consumers dared to venture out after hibernating for much of January when sales fell even more than expected: 0.6%. Gains in big-ticket items like vehicles and furniture, combined with a comeback for sporting goods (which were hit by weather-related weakness in January), more than offset persistent losses at [...]

ACA Boosts Income and Spending Data

Personal income rose 0.3%, while spending rose 0.4%, both much more than expected. Gains in wages and salaries and proprietors’ income bounced back after posting declines in December. Much of the larger-than-expected rise in incomes, however, may be traced to an increase of transfer payments by the government in cost-of-living adjustments and via health care. [...]

Inflation Cools with Temperatures

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased a tepid 0.1% in January and was revised down slightly for the month of December. Increases in the costs of heating our homes were partially offset by a drop in prices at the pump and the discounting that occurred in response to slow mall and dealership traffic; hard to [...]