Key Economic Indicators – February 23, 2015

  • Total Industrial production increased 0.2% in January, following a 0.3% decrease in the previous month. The index, which stands at 106.2 (2007=100), was up 4.8% from January 2014. The rate of capacity utilization for total industry was 79.4%, a level 0.7 percentage point below its 1972-2014 average, but 1.3 percentage points above its level in January 2014.
  • Housing starts in January were down 2.0% from December, but were up 18.7% from January 2014. Building permits in January were down 0.7% from December, but were up 8.1% from January 2014.
  • The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo decreased 2 points to 55 in February. The index was 58 in December, and 46 in February of 2014.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending February 19th showed average fixed mortgage rates moving higher, but still remaining near May 23, 2013 lows. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.76%, up from last week when it averaged 3.69%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 13.2% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 13.
  • The producer price index for final demand (headline index) decreased 0.8% in January, while the core index decreased 0.2%. The producer price index for final demand was unchanged from January 2014 to January 2015.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 21 thousand to 283 thousand in the week ending February 14. The 4-week moving average was 283.25 thousand, a decrease of 6.5 thousand from the previous week’s average of 289.75 thousand.
  • The February Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity continued to expand at a modest pace for New York manufacturers.
  • The Philadelphia FED business outlook survey for February reported modest growth in manufacturing activity.
  • The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators increased 0.2% January, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month. The coincident index increased 0.2%, the same increase as in the previous month.

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