• Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 0.5% in the first quarter of 2016, according to the “advance” estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter of 2015, real GDP increased 1.4%.
  • The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 0.3% in the first quarter of 2016, compared with an increase of 0.4% in the previous quarter.
  • Real final sales of domestic product (GDP less change in private inventories) increased 0.9% in the first quarter, in contrast to an increase of 1.6% in the final quarter of 2015.
  • Personal income increased 0.4% in March, while personal consumption expenditures increased 0.1%. Real disposable personal income increased 0.3% in March, while real personal consumption expenditures were virtually unchanged. The personal saving rate – personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income – was 5.4% in March, compared with 5.1% in February
  • The price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 0.1% in March, following a 0.1% decrease in the previous month. The core index increased 0.1%, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The price index (headline index) was up 0.8% from March 2015, while the core index was up 1.6%.
  • New orders for manufactured durable goods increased 0.8% in March, while shipments decreased 0.5%. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.2%, while shipments increased 0.2%. Year-to-date new orders were up 1.4% from the same period a year ago, while shipments were up 0.9%.
  • March new home sales were down 1.5% from the previous month, but were up 5.4% from March 2015. The median sales price of new houses sold was $288.0 thousand, 1.8% below March 2015.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index increased 1.4% to a reading of 110.5 in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index was 1.4% above March 2015 level.
  • The S & P/Case-Shiller National U.S. Home Price Index for February indicated that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months. The U.S. National Index recorded a 5.3% annual gain in February, unchanged from the previous month. As of February 2016, average home prices are back to their winter 2007 levels, and are approximately 11-13% below their June/July 2006 peaks.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving higher. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.66% for the week ending April 28, up from last week when it averaged 3.59%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year rate was 3.68%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.89%, up from last week when it averaged 2.85%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year rate was 2.94%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 4.1% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending April 22nd.
  • The Employment Cost Index for total compensation rose 0.6%, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending March 2016, following a 0.5% increase for the 3–month period ending December 2015. Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 1.8% for the 12-month period ending March 2016, while compensation costs for state and local government workers increased 2.4%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 9 thousand to 257 thousand in the week ending April 23. The 4-week moving average was 256 thousand, a decrease of 4.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 8, 1973 when it was 252.25 thousand.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in March than a year earlier in 270 of the 387 metropolitan areas, higher in 98 areas, and unchanged in 19 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 332 metropolitan areas, decreased in 51 areas, and was unchanged in 4 areas.
  • The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index, which had increased in March, decreased in April. The index now stands at 94.2 (1985=100), down from 96.1 in March. The present situation index increased to 116.4, while the expectations index decreased to 79.3 in April.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for April decreased to 89, from 91 in March. All of the April decline was in the Expectations component, which decreased from 81.5 to 77.6.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 0.25% to 0.50%. This accommodative monetary policy is to support further improvement labor market conditions and a return to 2% inflation.

 

 

  • March existing home sales increased 5.1% to an annualized rate of 6,330 thousand units. The March figure was 1.5% above the March 2015 figure. The median sales price of existing houses sold was $222.7 thousand, 5.7% above March 2015. There were 1,980 thousand homes for sale at the end of the month. This represents a supply of 4.5 months at the current sales rate, compared to 4.6 in March of 2015.
  • Housing starts in March were down 8.8% from the previous month, but were up 14.2% from a year ago. Building permits were down 7.7% from the previous month, but were up 4.6% from a year ago.
  • The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo was unchanged at 58 in April. The index was 61 in January of 2016, and 56 in April of 2015.
  • U.S. House prices rose 0.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis from January to February, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA). For the 12 months ending in February, U.S. prices rose 5.6%.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates were virtually unchanged from the previous week. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.59% for the week ending April 21, up slightly from last week when it averaged 3.58%. A year ago this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.65%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.85% for the week ending April 21, down slightly from last week when it averaged 2.86%. A year ago this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 2.92%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 1.3% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending April 15th.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 6 thousand to 247 thousand in the week ending April 16. This was the lowest level since November 24, 1973 when it was 233 thousand. The 4-week moving average was 260.5 thousand, a decrease of 4.5 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The Philadelphia FED business outlook survey for April reported a lower value for the index of manufacturing activity in the region. The indicator for general activity, which rose sharply to 12.4 in March, fell to negative 1.6 in April.
  • The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators increased 0.2% in March, following a decrease of 0.1% in the previous month. Over the six-month span through March, the leading index increased 0.7%, with five out of ten components advancing. The Conference Board coincident economic index held steady in March, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. Over the six-month span through March, the coincident index increased 0.6%, with three out of four components advancing.
  • The Chicago FED National Activity Index decreased to negative 0.44 in March, from negative 0.11 in February. The index’s three-month-moving average decreased to negative 0.18 in March, from negative 0.11 in February, indicating a growth rate below its historical trend and a subdued inflationary pressures.
  • The Chicago FED National Financial Conditions Index was unchanged from the previous week.
  • Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for March were down 0.3% from February, but were up 1.7% from March 2015. Excluding motor vehicle & parts, retail and food services sales were up 0.2% in March. Total sales for the January through March 2016 period were up 2.8% from the same period a year ago.
  • Total manufacturing and trade sales for February were down 0.4% from January, while inventories were down 0.1%.
  • Total Industrial production decreased 0.6% in March for a second month in a row. The index was 2.0% below its March 2015 level. For the first quarter of 2016, industrial production declined at an annual rate of 2.2%.
  • Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased 0.5 percentage point in March to 74.8, a rate that is 5.2 percentage points below its long-run (1972-2015) average.
  • The federal government budget ran a deficit of $108.0 billion in March, following a deficit of $192.6 billion in the previous month. The cumulative budget deficit for the first six months of fiscal year 2016 was $461.0 billion, compared with a deficit of $439.5 billion for the same period of the previous fiscal year.
  • The import price index increased 0.2% in March, following a 0.4% decrease in the previous month. The overall import price index decreased 6.2% from March 2015. During the same period, the fuel index decreased 38.3%, while the non-fuel index decreased 2.5%.
  • The export price index was unchanged in March, following a 0.5% decrease in the previous month. The overall export price index decreased 6.1% from March 2015. During the same period, agricultural export prices were down 11.1%, while non-agricultural export prices were down 5.6%.
  • The producer price index for final demand decreased 0.1% in March, following a decrease of 0.2% in the previous month. The producer price index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade held steady in March, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. The producer price index for final demand decreased 0.1% from March 2015 to March 2016, while the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade increased 0.9%.
  • The consumer price index (headline index) increased 0.1% in March, following a 0.2% decrease as in the previous month. The core index also increased 0.1%, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month. The consumer price index decreased 0.9% for the 12-month period ending in March, while the core index rose 2.2%.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.2% from February to March. This result stems from a 0.3% increase in average hourly earnings being partially offset by a 0.1% increase in the consumer price index.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 13 thousand to 253 thousand in the week ending April 9. The 4-week moving average was 265 thousand, a decrease of 1.5 from the previous week’s revised average.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates declining slightly from the previous week to reach a new low for the year. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.58% for the week ending April 14th, down from last week when it averaged 3.59%. A year ago at this time, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.67%.  
  • Mortgage applications increased 10.0% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending April 8th.
  • The April Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity expanded for New York manufacturers. The general business conditions index rose nine points to 9.6, its highest level in more than a year. The prices paid index increased 16 points, indicating a pickup in input price increases, while the prices received index rose above zero, a sign that selling prices increased.
  • The FED’s “Beige Book” indicated that overall economic activity continued to expand in late February and March, though the pace of growth varied across Districts.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, continued its slow overall decline in early April. The index decreased to 89.7 in April, from 91 in March. The index was 95.9 in April 2015.
  • Sales of domestic cars decreased 7.1% in March, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 5.5%. Total light vehicle sales were 16.5 million units, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.1 million in March of 2015.
  • New orders for manufactured goods decreased 1.7% in February, while shipments decreased 0.7%. Unfilled orders were down 0.3%, while inventories were down 0.4%. Year-to-date new orders for manufactured goods were down 1.7%, and shipments were down 2.2% from the same period in 2015.
  • Sales of merchant wholesalers in February were down 0.2% from the previous month, and down 3.1% from February of 2015. Sales of durable goods were up 1.2% in February, while sales of nondurable goods were down 1.6%. Inventories of merchant wholesalers were down 0.5% from the previous month, but were up 0.6% from February 2015.
  • In February, international trade deficit was $47.1 billion, up $1.2 billion from $45.9 billion in January.  Year-to-date trade deficit increased $10.8 billion, from the same period in 2015.
  • February consumer credit outstanding increased at an annual rate of 5.8%. Revolving credits increased 3.7%, while non-revolving credits increased 6.6%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 9 thousand to 267 thousand in the week ending April 2. The 4-week moving average was 266.75 thousand, an increase of 3.5 thousand from the previous week’s unrevised average.
  • The number of job openings was little changed at 5.4 million on the last business day of February, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hires increased to 5.4 million, while separations were little changed at 5.1 million.
  • Federal Reserve Board of Governors Labor Market Conditions Index, which is based on 19 labor market indicators, decreased 2.1 points in March. This was the third consecutive monthly decline in the index.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in February than a year earlier in 296 of the 387 metropolitan areas, higher in 76 areas, and unchanged in 15 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In February, 323 metropolitan areas had year-over-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment, 62 had decreases, and 2 had no change.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving lower and reaching their lowest levels since February of last year. 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.59% for the week ending April 7, down from a week earlier when it averaged 3.71%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.66%. 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 2.88%, down from last week when it averaged 2.98%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 2.93%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 2.7% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending April 1st.
  • In March, the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth for the 74th consecutive month.
  • Total non-farm payroll employment increased 215 thousand in March, following an increase of 245 thousand in the previous month.   Private-sector payrolls increased by 195 thousand in the month, while government employment increased by 20 thousand.
  • The number of unemployed persons increased by 151 thousand to 7.966 million in March. The unemployment rate edged up to 5.0%, from 4.9% in February
  • The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls held steady at 34.4 hours. Average hourly earnings increased by 7 cents to $25.43. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 2.3%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 11 thousand to 276 thousand in the week ending March 26. The 4-week moving average was 263.25 thousand, an increase of =3.5 thousand from the previous week’s average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 19 was 2,173 thousand, a decrease of 7 thousand from the previous week.
  • Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in February. Twenty-two states had unemployment rate decreases from January, 8 states had increase, and 20 states and the District of Columbia had no change, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In February, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 36 states and the District of Columbia, and decreased in 14 states.
  • Personal income increased 0.2%, in February, while personal consumption expenditures increased 0.1%. Personal savings as percent of personal disposable income were 5.4% in February, compared with 5.3% in the previous month. Real disposable personal income increased 0.3%, while real personal consumption expenditures decreased 0.2%.
  • The price index for personal consumption expenditures decreased 0.1% in February, while the core index increased 0.1%. The price index (headline index) was up 1.0% from February 2015, while the core index was up 1.7%.
  • In February, international trade deficit on goods was $62.9 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s “advance” report on international trade in goods, compared with a deficit of $62.2 billion in January.
  • February construction spending was down 0.5% from the previous month, but was up 10.3% from February 2015. Private construction was down 0.1% in February, while public consumption was down 1.7%.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index increased 3.5% to a reading of 109.1 in February, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index was 0.7% above February 2015 level.
  • The S & P/Case-Shiller National U.S. Home Price Index for January indicates that home prices continued their rise across country over the last 12 months. The National index, seasonally adjusted, was up 0.5% in January, following a 0.7% increase in the previous month. The National index, not seasonally adjusted, was unchanged from the previous month, but was up 5.4% from January 2015. As of January 2016, average home prices were back to their winter 2007 levels, and were approximately 11-13% below their June/July 2006 peaks.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates little changed. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.71% for the week ending March 31, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.70%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.98%, up from a week ago when it averaged 2.96%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year rate averaged 2.98%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 1.0% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending March 25th.
  • The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index, which had decreased in February, improved in March. The expectations index increased to 84.7, while the present situation index decreased to 113.5.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that manufacturing sector expanded in March for the first time in the last six months, while the overall economy grew for the 82nd consecutive month.