• Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2014, after increasing at 5.0% in the previous quarter. In the “second” estimate, released a month ago, the increase in real GDP was also 2.2%. The price index for gross domestic purchases decreased 0.1% in the fourth quarter, following a 1.4% increase in the third quarter.
  • Real GDP increased 2.4% in the year 2014, compared with an increase of 2.2% in 2013. The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.4% in 2014, following an increase of 1.3% in 2013.
  • Corporate profits from current production decreased $30.4 billion in the fourth quarter, after an increase of $64.5 billion in the previous quarter. For the year 2014, profits from current production decreased $17.1 billion, in contrast to an increase of $84.1 billion in 2013.
  • New orders for manufactured durable goods decreased 1.4% in February, following a 2.0% increase in the previous month. Shipments decreased 0.2%, following a 1.4% decrease in January. Excluding transportation, new orders were down 0.4% from the previous month, while shipments were down 0.1%.
  • February existing home sales increased 1.2% to an annualized rate of 4,880 thousand units. The February figure was 4.7% above the February 2014 figure. The median sales price of existing houses sold was $202.6 thousand, 7.5% above February 2014. There were 1,890 thousand homes for sale at the end of the month. This represents a supply of 4.6 months at the current sales rate, compared to 4.9 in February of 2014.
  • February new home sales increased 7.8% to an annualized rate of 539 thousand units. The February figure was 24.8% above the February 2014 figure. The median sales price of new houses sold was $275.5 thousand, 2.6% above February 2014.
  • U.S. House prices rose 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis from December to January, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA). For the 12 months ending in January, U.S. prices rose 5.1%. The U.S. index is 3.5% below its March 2007 peak and is roughly the same as the December 2005 index level.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving down again across the board for the week. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.69% for the week ending March 26, down from last week when it averaged 3.78%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.40%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 9.5% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending March 20th.
  • The consumer price index (headline index), which decreased 0.7% in January, increased 0.2% in February. The core index increased 0.2%, the same increase as in the previous month. The headline index was unchanged for the 12-month period ending in February, while the core index was up 1.7%.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.1% from January to February, seasonally adjusted. This stems from a 0.1% increase in average hourly earnings being offset by a 0.2% increase in the Consumer Price Index.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 9 thousand to 282 thousand in the week ending March 21. The 4-week moving average was 297 thousand, a decrease of 7.75 thousand from the previous week’s average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 14 was 2,416 thousand, a decrease of 6 thousand from the previous week’s revised level.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment decreased to 93.0 in March, from 95.4 in February.
  • Total Industrial production increased 0.1% in February, after decreasing 0.3% in the previous month. Total Industrial production was up 3.5% from February 2014. The capacity utilization rate was 78.9 in February, 1.2 percentage points below the average for the 1972-2014 period. In February, manufacturing output decreased 0.2%, its third consecutive monthly decline.
  • Housing starts in February were 897 thousand, down 17.0% from the previous month and were down 3.3% from a year ago. Building permits in February were 1,092 thousand units, up 3.0% from January, and were up 7.7% from February 2014.
  • The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo decreased 2 points to 53 in March. The index was 46 in March of 2014, and 57 in January 2015.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving down from the previous week. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.78% for the week ending March 19, down from last week when it averaged 3.86%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year rate averaged 4.32%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 3.9% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending March 13th.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased a thousand to 291 thousand in the week ending March 14. The 4-week moving average was 304.75 thousand, an increase of 2.25 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The current account deficit increased to $113.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, from $98.9 billion in the previous quarter. The deficit increased to 2.6% of GDP, from 2.2% of GDP in the previous quarter. The current account deficit in the year 2014 was $410.6 billion, up from $400.3 billion in 2013.
  • The March Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that the conditions for New York manufacturers continued to expand at a modest pace.
  • The Philadelphia FED manufacturing business outlook survey for March reported that manufacturing activity in the region increased at a modest pace.
  • The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators increased 0.2% in February, following a 0.2% increase in January, and a 0.4% increase in December. The coincident index increased 0.2% in February, following a 0.2% increase in January, and a 0.3% increase in December.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 0 to 0.25%. “The Committee currently anticipates that, even after employment and inflation are near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run.”
  • Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for February were down 0.6% from January, but were up 1.7% from February 2014. Excluding motor vehicle & parts, sales were down 0.1% from the previous month, but were up 0.8% from a year ago,
  • Total manufacturing and trade sales for January were down 2.0% from the previous month, and were down 0.3% from January 2014. Total business inventories were down less than 0.1% from the previous month, but were up 3.4% from a year ago. The inventories/sales ratio was 1.44, compared to 1.45 in January of 2014.
  • Sales of merchant wholesalers in January were down 3.1%, while inventories were up 0.3%. The inventories/sales ratio was 1.27, compared with 1.22 in the previous month and 1.18 in January of 2014.
  • The federal government budget ran a deficit of $192.3 billion in February, after a deficit of $17.5 billion in the previous month. The cumulative deficit for the first five months of fiscal year 2015 was $386.5 billion, $9.9 billion more than the deficit for the same period of the previous fiscal year.
  • The producer price index for final demand (headline index) decreased 0.5% in February, following a decrease of 0.8% in the previous month. The index for final demand goods was down for the eighth consecutive month. The index for final demand services was down 0.5% in February, the largest decline since the inceptions of the index in December 2009. The core index decreased 0.1%, following a 0.2% decrease in the previous month. The producer price index for final demand was down 0.6% from February 2014 to February 2015.
  • The index for processed goods for intermediate demand fell 0.6% in February, the seventh straight decline. The index for unprocessed goods for intermediate demand fell 3.9% in February, the fifth straight decline. The index for services for intermediate demand increased 0.1%, following a 0.2% decrease in the previous month. The index for processed goods for intermediate demand was down 6.4% from February 2014 to February 2015, while the index for unprocessed goods for intermediate demand was down 25.0%. The index for services for intermediate demand was up 1.2% during the same period.
  • The import price index increased 0.4% in February, following a 3.1% decrease in the previous month. An upturn in fuel prices led the February rise. The export price index edged down 0.1% in February, following a 1.9% decrease in the previous month. The import price index decreased 9.4% from February 2014, while export prices decreased 5.9%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 36 thousand to 289 thousand in the week ending March 7. The 4-week moving average was 302.25 thousand, a decrease of 3.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending February 28 was 2,418 thousand, a decrease of 5 thousand from the previous week’s revised level.
  • There were 5.0 million job openings on the last business day of January, little changed from 4.9 million in December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was the highest level of job openings since January 2001. The job openings rate for January was 3.4%.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving higher. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.86% for the week ending March 12, up from last week when it averaged 3.75%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.37%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.10% for the week ending March 12, up from last week when it averaged 3.03%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 1.3% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending March 6th.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, for March decreased to 91.2.
  • Total non-farm payroll employment rose 295 thousand in February, following an increase of 239 thousand in the previous month. Private-sector payrolls increased by 288 thousand in the month, while government employment increased by 7 thousand.
  • The number of unemployed persons decreased by 274 thousand to 8.705 million. The unemployment rate decreased to 5.5% in February, from 5.7% in January.
  • The average workweek held steady at 34.6 hours, while average hourly earnings increased by 3 cents to $24.78. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 2.0%, and average weekly earnings were up 2.6%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 7 thousand to 320 thousand in the week ending February 28. The 4-week moving average increased 10.25 thousand to 304.75 thousand.
  • In 2014, annual average unemployment rates declined in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment-population ratios increased in 35 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 12 states, and held steady in 3 states. The U.S. jobless rate decreased by 1.2 percentage points to 6.2% in 2014, while the national employment-population ratio increased by 0.4 point to 59.0%.
  • Annual average unemployment rates decreased from 2013 to 2014 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This was the first year since 1984 in which all states and the District of Columbia had over-the-year rate declines.
  • Fourth quarter productivity decreased 2.2% (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the non-farm business sector, following a 3.9% increase in the previous period. Hourly compensation increased 1.9%, while unit labor costs increased 4.1%. From the fourth quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2014, productivity decreased 0.1%. In the year 2014, productivity was up 0.7% from 2013. Unit labor costs increased 1.8% in 2014, following a 0.2% increase in the previous year.
  • Personal income increased 0.3%, in January, while personal consumption expenditures decreased 0.2%. Real disposable personal income increased 0.9%, while real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.3%. The price index for personal consumption expenditures decreased 0.5% in January, following a 0.2% decrease in the previous month. The core index, which held steady in December, increased 0.1% in January. The price index for personal consumption expenditures was up 0.2% from January 2014, while the core index was up 1.3%.
  • Sales of domestic cars decreased 4.8% in February, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 2.3%. Total light vehicle sales were 16.2 million units in February, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared with 16.6 million in the previous month, and 15.3 million in February of 2014.
  • New orders for manufactured goods decreased 0.2% in January, while shipments decreased 2.0%. Excluding transportation, new orders were down 1.8%, while shipments were down 2.2%.
  • In January international trade deficit was $41.8 billion, $3.8 billion less than the revised December figure.
  • January consumer credit outstanding increased at an annual rate of 4.2%. Revolving credits decreased at an annual rate of 1.6%, while non-revolving credits increased 6.3%.
  • January construction spending was down 1.1% from the previous month, but was up 1.8% from January 2014. Private construction decreased 0.5% in January, while public construction decreased 2.6%.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving lower for the first time in four weeks and remaining near late May 2013 lows. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.75% for the week ending March 5, down from last week when it averaged 3.80%. A year ago, the 30-year rate averaged 4.28%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.03%, down from last week when it averaged 3.07%. A year ago, the 15-year rate averaged 3.32%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 0.1% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 27th.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in February for the 26th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 69th consecutive month.
  • In February, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 61st consecutive month.
  • The FED’s “Beige Book” indicated that overall economic activity continued to expand across most regions and sectors from early January through mid-February.
  • Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2014, after a 5.0% increase in the previous quarter. In the “advance” estimate, released a month ago, real GDP increased 2.6%. The price index for gross domestic purchases decreased 0.1% in the final quarter, compared to an increase of 1.4% in the previous quarter.  Real GDP increased 2.4% in the year 2014, compared with an increase of 2.2% in 2013.
  • New orders for manufactured durable goods increased 2.8% in January while shipments decreased 1.1%.
  • January existing home sales were down 4.9% from the previous month, but were up 3.2% from January 2014. The median sales price of existing houses sold was $199.6 thousand, 6.2% above January 2014.
  • January new home sales were down 0.2% from December, but were up 5.3% from January of 2014. The median sales price of new houses sold was $294.3 thousand, 9.1% above January 2014.
  • U.S. House prices rose 0.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis from November to December, after a 0.7% increase in the previous period, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) monthly House Price Index. For the 12 months ending in December, U.S. prices rose 5.4%.
  • The S & P/Case-Shiller National U.S. Home Price Index posted an annual increase of 4.6% in December, compared with a 4.7% increase in November. The index is approximately 16-17% below the June/July 2006 peak,
  • The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator for the housing sector, increased 1.7% to a reading of 104.2 in January, its highest level since August 2013, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index was up 8.4% from January of 2014.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving higher, but remain near their May 2013 lows.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 3.5% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 20.
  • The consumer price index (headline index) declined 0.7% in January, following a 0.3% decrease in the previous month. The core index, which held steady in December, increased 0.2%. The consumer price index decreased 0.1% for the 12-month period ending in January, while the core index rose 1.6%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 31 thousand to 313 thousand in the week ending February 21. The 4-week moving average was 294.50, an increase of 11.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 1.2% from December to January.  This stems from a 0.5% increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.7% decrease in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.
  • The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index, which had increased in January, declined in February.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment decreased to 95.4 in February, from 98.1 in January. The index, which was 81.6 in February 2014, is still at its highest levels in eight years.