• January existing home sales were up 3.3% from the previous month, and were up 3.8% from January 2016. The median sales price of existing houses sold was $228.9 thousand, 7.1% above January 2016. There were 1.69 million existing homes for sale at the end of the month.  This represents a supply of 3.6 months at the current sales rate, compared to 4.0 in January of 2016.
  • January new home sales increased 3.7% to an annualized rate of 555 thousand units. Sales were up 5.5% from January 2016. The median sales price of new houses sold was $312.9 thousand, 7.5% above January 2016.
  • U.S. House prices rose 1.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) House Price Index. House prices rose 6.2% from the fourth quarter of 2015. The seasonally adjusted index for December was up 0.4% from November.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates changing by two basis points or less for the fourth consecutive week. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.16% for the week ending February 23, up from last week when it averaged 4.15%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.62%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 2.0% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 17th.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 6 thousand to 244 thousand in the week ending February 18. The 4-week moving average was 241 thousand, a decrease of 4 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since July 21, 1973 when kit was 239.5 thousand.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment was 96.3 in February, compared with 98.5 in January. The index was 91.7 in January 2016.
  • The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) decreased to negative 0.05 in January from positive 0.18 in December. The index’s three-month moving average edged down to negative 0.03 in January from negative 0.02 in December.
  • The National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) was negative 0.83 for the week ending February 17, unchanged from the previous week.
·        Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for January were up 0.4% from December, and were up 5.6% from January 2016. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, retail sales were up 0.8% from the previous month, and were up 5.3% from a year ago.
·        Total manufacturing and trade sales increased 2.0% in December, while inventories increased 0.4%. Sales were up 5.2% from a year ago, and inventories were up 2.0% from December 2015.
·        Total Industrial production decreased 0.3% in January, following a 0.6% increase in the previous month. The rate of capacity utilization for total industry was 75.3%, a level 4.6 percentage points below its 1972-2016 average, and 0.4 percentage point above its level in January 2016.
·        Housing starts in January were down 2.6% from December, but were up 10.5% from January 2016. Building permits in January were up 4.6% from December, and were up 8.2% from January 2016.
·        The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo decreased to 65 in February, from 67 in January. The index was 58 in February 2016.
·        The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates decreasing. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.15% for the week ending February 16, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 4.17%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.65%.
·        Mortgage applications decreased 3.7% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 10.
·        The producer price index for final demand (headline index) increased 0.6% in January, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The index for final demand less foods and energy increased 0.4%, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month. The producer price index for final demand increased 1.6% from January 2016, while the index for final demand less foods and energy increased 2.1%
·        The consumer price index (headline index) increased 0.6% in January, following a 0.3% in the previous month. The January increase was the largest since February 2013. The core index, all items less food and energy, increased 0.3%, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 2.5% for the 12-month period ending in January, while the core index rose 2.3%.
·        The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 5 thousand to 239 thousand in the week ending February 11. The 4-week average was 245.25 thousand, an increase of 0.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
·        Real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.5% from December to January. This result stems from a 0.1% increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.6% increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers. 
·        The February Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity expanded at a solid pace in New York. The general business conditions index rose to 18.7 in February, from 6.5 in January.
·        The Philadelphia FED business outlook survey for February reported that growth in regional manufacturing is broadening. The index for general business activity was 43.3 in February, up from 23.6 in January.
·        The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators increased 0.6% in January, following a 0.5% increase in the previous month. In the six-month period ending January 2017, the leading economic index increased 1.6% (about 3.3% annual rate), much faster than the growth of 0.9 percent (about 1.8% annual rate) during the previous six months. The coincident index increased 0.1%, following a 0.2% in December. The coincident economic index rose 0.8% (about a 1.6% annual rate) between July 2016 and January 2017, the same pace of growth as in the previous six months.

 

  • Sales of merchant wholesalers in December were up 2.6% from the previous month, and were up 6.8% from the December 2015 level. Inventories were up 1.0% from the previous month, and were up 2.6% from a year ago.  In the year 2016, sales were down 0.2% from the previous year.
  • In December international trade deficit was $44.3 billion, $1.5 billion less than the revised November figure. For 2016, the goods and services deficit was $502.3 billion, up $1.9 billion from $500.4 billion in 2015. As percentage of gross domestic product, the deficit was 2.7% in 2016, compared with 2.8% in 2015.
  • December consumer credit outstanding increased at an annual rate of 4.5%. Revolving credits increased 2.9%, while non-revolving credits increased 5.1%
  • The import price index increased 0.4% in January, following a 0.5% increase in the previous month. Import prices advanced 3.7% from January 2016 to January 2017. The export price index increased 0.1% in January, after increasing 0.4% in December. Export prices increased 2.3% from January 2016 to January 2017.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 12 thousand to 234 thousand in the week ending February 4. The 4-week moving average was 244.25 thousand, a decrease of 3.75 thousand from the previous week’s average of 248 thousand. This was the lowest level for this average since November 3, 1973 when it was 244 thousand.
  • The number of job openings was little changed at 5.5 million on the last business day of December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the month, hires and separations were also little changed at 5.3 million and 5.0 million, respectively.
  • In 2016, there were 15 major work stoppages involving 99,000 workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The period from 2007 to 2016 was the lowest decade on record, averaging approximately 14 major work stoppages per year.
  • The Federal Reserve Board of Governors labor market conditions index was 1.3 in January, compared with 0.6 in December and negative 2.0 in January of 2016.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed fixed mortgage rates moving lower. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.17% for the week ending February 9th, down from last week when it averaged 4.19%. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.65%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 2.3% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 3, 2017.
  • The Chicago Fed’s National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) was little changed in the week ending February 3. The index was negative 0.80 for the week ending February 3, compared with negative 0.79 for the week ending January 27. Twelve months ago the index was negative 0.57.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, for February was 95.7, down from 98.5 in January. The index was 91.7 in February of 2016. The current economic conditions component was 111.2 in early February, compared with 111.3 in January. The index of consumer expectations decreased to 85.7 in February, from 90.3 in January.
  • Total non-farm payroll employment rose 227 thousand in January, following an increase of 157 thousand in the previous month. Private-sector payrolls increased by 237 thousand in the month, while government employment decreased by 10 thousand.
  • The unemployment rate was 4.8% in January, compared with 4.7% in December of 2016.
  • Average weekly hours held steady at 34.4. Average hourly earnings increased 3 cents to $26.00. Average hourly earnings was up 2.5% from January 2016.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 14 thousand to 246 thousand in the week ending January 28. The 4-week moving average was 248 thousand, an increase of 2.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity increased at a 1.3% annual rate during the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, following a 3.5% increase in the previous quarter. The productivity was up 1.0% from the fourth quarter of 2015. Nonfarm business sector productivity grew 0.2% in the year 2016, following a 0.9% increase in 2015.
  • The Employment Cost Index for total compensation rose 0.5%, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending December 2016, following a 0.6% increase for the 3–month period ending September 2016. Compensation costs increased 2.2% for the 12-month period ending December 2016.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in December than a year earlier in 236 of the 387 metropolitan areas, higher in 111 areas, and unchanged in 40 areas. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 292 metropolitan areas, decreased in 87 areas, and was unchanged in 8 areas.
  • Personal income increased 0.3%, in December, while personal consumption expenditures increased 0.5%. The price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 0.2% in December, following a 0.1% decrease in the previous month. The price index excluding food and energy increased 0.1% in December, after holding steady in November. The price index increased 1.6% from December 2015, while the index excluding food and energy increased 1.7%.
  • Sales of domestic cars decreased 10.2% in January, following a 1.5% increase in the previous month. Total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 4.6% in January, after a 3.4% increase in the previous month. Sales were 17.5 million units in January, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.8 million in January of 2016.
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.3% in December, while shipments increased 2.2%. New orders for manufactured goods decreased 1.4% in the year 2016, and shipments decreased 1.5%.
  • December construction spending was down 0.2% from November, but was up 4.2% from December 2015.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator for the housing sector, increased 1.6% to a reading of 109.0 in December, according to the National Association of Realtors.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed fixed mortgage rates holding steady. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.19% for the week ending February 2, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.72%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 3.2% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 27th.
  • The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index, which had increased in December, decreased to 111.8 in January.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in January, and the overall economy grew for the 92nd consecutive month.
  • In January, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 85th consecutive month.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 0.25% to 0.75%. The Committee indicated that labor market conditions continued to strengthen and economic activity continued to expand at a moderate pace.