Tag Archives: federal reserve

Disappointing March Employment Data

Payroll employment rose a disappointing 126,000 in March and was revised down fairly significantly for the previous two months. That suggests that the economy was actually weaker and less resilient at the start of the year than the data initially indicated.

Saving Rate Rises

Real personal disposable income growth increased at a more muted 0.2% pace in February, on the heels of higher prices at the pump. Revisions to January were to the upside, but only slightly. Overall income growth remained solid during the first two months of the year, in response to solid employment growth and a pickup [...]

New Home Sales Buck Trend

New home sales sprang back in February, with a surge in spending on less expensive first-time buyer homes. The bulk of the increases occurred in the $200,000 to $299,000 and the $150,000 to $199,000 range. This marks a sharp shift down in price from earlier in the cycle and suggests builders are finally building less [...]

Inflation Remains Tepid

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.2% in February, with a slight uptick in prices at the pump and accelerating rents offsetting a drop in prices elsewhere in the economy. Indeed, overall inflation measures were essentially flat when compared with a year ago. The core (non-food and non-energy) measure of the CPI rose 1.7% from [...]

Question about consumer spending

I received this question via my Twitter account @DianeSwonk: Is it possible that we don’t see an increase in consumer spending due to consumers increasing savings in case the economy goes south? My reply: That is the question the Federal Reserve is asking as well; the argument against it is that consumer confidence is now [...]

Loss of “Patience” Offset by Caution

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted unanimously to drop “patience” with regard to its stance on short-term interest rates. The loss of the word “patience” from the statement was more than offset by a surprise in the FOMC’s verbiage that raising rates at the next meeting in April “remains unlikely.” That is in addition [...]

Industrial Production Disappoints

Industrial production edged up a negligible 0.1% in February, carried almost entirely by gains in utilities. Colder than usual temperatures across the country in February boosted utility usage, particularly in places that typically see more temperate conditions, in the South and West. Texas and Virginia were hit particularly hard by cold winter weather and storms [...]

PPI Continues to Cool Down

The Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand fell 0.5% in February after plummeting 0.8% in January. Moreover, the bulk of those declines (70%) occurred in services as opposed to goods, which had been weighed down by falling oil prices in recent months. The decline in services was dominated by a loss in margins for [...]

Momentum Trumps Lousy Weather

Payroll employment increased by 295,000 in February; that was better than expected given the weather disruptions we experienced across the country, which were worse in February than January. Even after a downward revision to the January data, the quality and quantity of jobs was solid in February. The largest gains in payroll employment occurred in [...]

Inventories Less of a Problem in Fourth Quarter

Real GDP was revised down to 2.2% in the fourth quarter from an initial estimate of 2.6%. A sharp downward revision to inventories was the primary reason for the revision, which leaves less of an overhang for producers to drain in early 2015. Imports were also revised up, reflecting the phenomenal strength of consumer spending