Tag Archives: gas prices

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 [...]

Income Continues to Outpace Spending

Real disposable income surged 0.9% in January, extending gains that we saw at the end of 2014. Improving labor market conditions, combined with a pickup in average hourly earnings (driven in part by increases in the minimum wage) and plummeting prices at the gas pump enhanced

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

Energy Prices Pull CPI Lower

The Consumer Price Index dropped 0.7% in January but only 0.1% from a year ago. Falling energy prices were the primary reason prices fell

Retail Sales Disappoint

Retail sales dropped 0.8% in January, due in part to yet another sharp decline (9.3%) in gasoline station sales, as prices at the gas pump continued to plummet. Big-ticket spending on vehicles, furniture and appliances also slackened from the pace we saw in December.

Trade Deficit Balloons

The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly widened to $46.6 billion in December from $39.8 billion in November. The data for November were revised to show a slightly larger deficit than was initially reported. Exports fell, while imports picked up a bit. Much of that shift was concentrated in trade with Canada and Mexico,

Drop in Spending Not What It Appears

Personal income rose 0.3% in December, significantly faster than the 0.3% decline posted in personal consumption expenditures. Much of the weakness, however, was concentrated in the vehicle sector, which surged earlier in the quarter. Moreover, prices fell by 0.2% between November and December, which means that incomes surged,

Consumers are in the Driver’s Seat

Real GDP rose a smaller-than-expected 2.6% in the fourth quarter largely due to a surge in consumer spending, which was at least partially offset by a larger-than-expected increase in imports. (Imports subtract from overall GDP growth.) The gains in consumer spending reflect recent increases in employment, incomes and the drop in prices at the pump.

Existing Home Sales Top Five Million for 2014

Just over five million existing homes were sold in December, in line with expectations. December sales came in higher than November’s, which were revised down slightly. Comparisons for sales and prices were positive as total and single-family sales increased

Consumer Price Inflation Falls

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) dropped 0.4% in December, the largest drop since 2008, in large part due to plummeting oil prices. Energy prices outside of the oil and gasoline sectors, however, posted mostly increases, which look to be transitory and will retreat as we move into January. Prices for food moved higher and, outside [...]