Key Economic Indicators – May 18, 2015

  • Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for April were virtually unchanged from March, but were up 0.9% from April 2014. Year-to-date, retail sales were up 1.9% from the same period a year ago.
  • Total manufacturing and trade sales increased 0.4% in March, while inventories increased 0.1%.
  • Total Industrial production decreased 0.3% in April for its fifth consecutive monthly loss. The index of industrial production in was 1.9% above its year-ago level. The rate of capacity utilization for total industry was 78.2%, 1.9 percentage points below its long-run (1972-2014) average. Manufacturing output held steady in April, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month. Output of mining decreased 0.8%, while output of utilizes decreased 1.3%.
  • The federal government budget ran a surplus of $156.7 billion in April, after a deficit of $52.9 billion in the previous month. The cumulative budget deficit for the first seven months of fiscal year 2015 was $282.8 billion, compared with a deficit of $306.4 billion for the same period of the previous fiscal year.
  • The producer price index for final demand (headline index) decreased 0.4% in April, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The core index decreased 0.1%, following a 0.2% increase in March. The producer price index for final demand decreased 1.3% from April 2014 to April 2015.
  • The import price index decreased 0.5% in April, following a 0.2% decrease in the previous month. The export price index decreased 0.7%, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. The import price index decreased 10.7% from April 2014, while the price index for exports decreased 6.3%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased a thousand to 264 thousand in the week ending May 9. The 4-week moving average was 271.75 thousand, a decrease of 7.75 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • There were 4,994 thousand job openings on the last business day of March, compared with 5,144 thousand in February. The job openings rate for March was 3.4%.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving higher for the third consecutive week. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.85% for the week ending May 14, up from last week when it averaged 3.80%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.20%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 3.5% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending May 8th.
  • The May 2015 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business conditions improved slightly for New York manufacturers. The headline index of general business conditions increased four points to 3.1. On the other hand, the prices paid index decreased ten points to 9.4.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for May, preliminary, was down 7.6% from the previous month, but was up 8.2% from a year ago.

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