· Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased in 47 states and the District of Columbia in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Real GDP growth ranged from 5.2% in Texas to negative 1.3% in North Dakota. Durable goods manufacturing increased 7.2 percent nationally and contributed to growth in every state and the District of Columbia. This industry was the leading contributor to the increases in real GDP in five of the ten fastest growing states. In the year 2017, real GDP grew in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Real GDP growth ranged from 4.4% in Washington to negative 0.2% in Louisiana.
· Sales of merchant wholesalers in March were up 0.3% from the previous month, and were up 7.3% from a year ago. Inventories were up 0.3% from the previous month, and were up 5.5% from March 2017. The March inventories/sales ratio was 1.26, compared with 1.28 in March of 2017.
· The federal government budget ran a surplus of $214.3 billion in April, following a deficit of $208.7 billion in the previous month. The cumulative budget deficit for the first seven months of fiscal year 2018 was $385.4 billion, compared with a deficit of $344.4 billion for the same period of the previous fiscal year.
· In March, consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 3.6%, according to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 3.0%, while non-revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 6.0%.
· The import price index increased 0.3% in April, following a 0.2% decrease in the previous month. The export price index increased 0.6%, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month. The import price index increased 3.3% from April 2017, while the price index for exports increased 3.8%.
· The producer price index for final demand (headline index) increased 0.1% in April, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month. The index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade increased 0.1%, after an increase of 0.4% in March. The producer price index for final demand increased 2.6% for the 12 months ended in April, while the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade increased 2.5%.
· The consumer price index (headline index) increased 0.2% in April, 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 consumer price index increased 2.5% for the 12-month period ending in April, while the core index rose 2.1%.
· Real average hourly earnings for all employees were virtually unchanged from March to April. This result stems from a 0.1% increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.2% increase in the consumer price index.
· The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was unchanged at 211 thousand in the week ending May 5. The 4-week moving average was 216 thousand, a decrease of 5.5 thousand from the previous week’s average. This was the lowest level for this average since December 20, 1969, when it was 214.5 thousand.
· There were 6.6 million job openings on the last business day of March, the highest figure since the beginning of the series in December 2000. The job openings rate for March was 4.2%, compared with 3.7% a year ago. The number of hires was virtually unchanged at 5.4 million in March. There were 5.3 million total separations, little changed from February.
· The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates were virtually unchanged over the past week. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.55% for the week ending May 10, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.05%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.01%, down from last week when it averaged 4.03%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.29%.
· Mortgage applications decreased 0.4% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending May 4th.