Key Economic Indicators – January 19, 2015

  • Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for December were down 0.9% from the previous month, but were up 3.2% from December 2013. Retail and food services sales for the year 2014 were up 4.0% from the previous year.
  • Total manufacturing and trade sales for November were down 0.2%, while inventories were up 0.2%.
  • Industrial production decreased 0.1% in December, following a 1.3% increase in the previous month. The index was up 4.9% from December of 2013.The rate of capacity utilization for total industry decreased 0.3 percentage point to 79.7%.
  • The federal government budget ran a surplus of $1.9 billion in December, after a deficit of $56.8 billion in the previous month.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 19 thousand to 316 thousand in the week ending January 10th. The 4-week moving average was 298 thousand, an increase of 6.75 thousand from the previous week.
  • There were 5.0 million job openings on the last business day of November, little changed from 4.8 million in October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees rose 0.1% from November to December. This result stems from a 0.2% decrease in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.4% decrease in the consumer price index.
  • The consumer price index (headline index) decreased 0.4% in December, following a 0.3% decline in the previous month. The core index held steady, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 0.8% for the 12-month period ending in December, while the core index rose 1.6%.
  • The producer price index for final demand (headline index) decreased 0.3% in December, while the core index increased 0.2%. The producer price index for final demand increased 1.1% from December 2013 to December 2014.
  • The import price index decreased 2.5% and the export price index decreased 0.4% in December. The import price index decreased 5.5% from December 2013, while export prices decreased 3.2%.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of January 15th showed average fixed mortgage rates decreasing for the third consecutive week. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.66%, down from last week when it averaged 3.73%.
  • Mortgage applications surged 49.1% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 9th. This was the largest weekly gain since November 2008.
  • The January 2015 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity expanded for New York manufacturers.
  • The Philadelphia FED business outlook survey for January reported modest growth in manufacturing activity.
  • The FED’s “Beige Book” indicated that overall economic activity continued to expand from mid-November through late December, with most Districts reporting a “modest” or “moderate” pace of growth..
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, surged to 98.2 in early January. This was the highest level since January 2004.

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