Tag Archives: federal reserve

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 [...]

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 [...]

In Defense of Janet Yellen

During a speech in Chicago this week, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen clarified her view of the economy and what she believes is the appropriate monetary policy.  I reread her words and listened to the responses, which ranged from cheers to jeers. The cheers came from Wall Street, as market participants finally received the message [...]

Industrial Production: Big Picture after Small Revisions

The Federal Reserve’s annual revisions for the index of industrial production and related measures of capacity and capacity utilization are available now. These revisions are usually based on a more accurate reassessment of survey data, as well as refinements in methodology and data collection. Changes are usually small but not inconsequential; oftentimes, small revisions have [...]

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 [...]

Yellen Stays Course; Fed Remains Dovish

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted today to continue to taper the pace of asset purchases by $10 billion (split evenly between Treasury bonds, which are now being bought at a $30 billion per month pace, and mortgage-backed securities, which are being bought at a $25 billion per month pace.)  That vote was unanimous. [...]

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.

Polar Vortex Fails to Derail Spring Hiring

Payroll employment rose 175,000 in February, with a little more than a third of the gains in business services, including temporary hires. The weather imprint was also evident in the composition of employment gains, with the leisure and hospitality sector adding jobs because those of us who could, migrated to ski resorts and sunny destinations,

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. [...]