Key Economic Indicators – May 4, 2015

  • Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 0.2% in the first quarter of 2015, after increasing at 2.2% in the previous quarter. The price index for gross domestic purchases decreased 1.5% in the first quarter, compared to a decrease of 0.1% in the previous quarter.
  • Real final sales of domestic product (GDP less change in private inventories) decreased 0.5% in the first quarter, in contrast to an increase of 2.3% in the final quarter of 2014.
  • Personal income increased less than 0.1% in March, while personal consumption expenditures increased 0.4%. Real disposable personal income decreased 0.2% in March, while real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.3%. The personal saving rate – personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income – was 5.3% in March, compared with 5.7% in February
  • The price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 0.2% in March, while the core index increased 0.1%. The price index (headline index) was up 0.3% from March 2014, while the core index was up 1.3%.
  • March construction spending was down 0.6% from the previous month, but was up 2.0% from March 2014, according to U.S. Census Bureau. Private construction decreased 0.3% in March, while public construction decreased 1.5%.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index increased 1.1% to a reading of 108.6 in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index was 11.1% above March 2014 level.
  • The S & P/Case-Shiller National U.S. Home Price Index for February indicated that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months. The U.S. National Index recorded a 4.2% annual gain in February, weaker than 4.4% increase in January 2015. As of February 2015, average home prices are back to their autumn 2004 levels, and are approximately 15-17% below their June/July 2006 peaks.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving slightly higher. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.68% for the week ending April 30, up from last week when it averaged 3.65%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year rate was 4.29%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 2.3% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending April 24th.
  • The Employment Cost Index for total compensation rose 0.7%, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending March 2015, following a 0.5% increase for the 3–month period ending December 2014. Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2.8% for the 12-month period ending March 2015, while compensation costs for state and local government workers increased 2.1%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 34 thousand to 262 thousand in the week ending April 25. The 4-week moving average was 283.750 thousand, a decrease of 1.250 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in April for the 28th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 71st consecutive month.
  • The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index, which had increased in March, decreased in April. The index now stands at 95.2 (1985=100), down from 101.4 in March. The present situation index and the expectations index both decreased in April.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for April increased to 95.9, the second highest level since 2007.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 0 to 0.25%.

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