Key Economic Indicators – December 22, 2014

  • Total Industrial production increased 1.3% in November, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. The rate of capacity utilization for total industry was 80.1%, up 3.1% from November 2013.
  • The current account deficit increased to $100.3 billion in the third quarter, from $98.4 billion in the previous quarter.
  • Housing starts in November were down 1.6% from the previous month, and were down 7.0% from November 2013. Building permits in November were down 5.2% from the previous month, and were down 0.2% from November 2013.
  • The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo decreased a point to 57 in December.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of December 18th showed average fixed mortgage rates falling to new lows for this year. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.80% for the week ending December 18, down from last week when it averaged 3.93%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 3.3% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending December 12th.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 6 thousand to 289 thousand in the week ending December 13.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees rose 0.6% from October to November. This result stems from a 0.4% increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.3% decrease in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.
  • Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in November. Forty-one states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from October, three states had increases, and six states had no change.
  • The consumer price index (headline index), which held steady in October, decreased 0.3% in November. The core index increased 0.2%. The consumer price index increased 1.3% for the 12-month period ending in November, while the core index rose 1.7%.
  • The December 2014 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity declined for New York manufacturers.
  • The Philadelphia FED business outlook survey indicated that the pace of regional manufacturing activity remained positive but decreased in December.
  • The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators increased 0.6% in November, the same increase as in the previous month.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 0 to 0.25%, and indicated that it will be appropriate to maintain this target range for a considerable time.

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