Key Economic Indicators – February 1, 2016

  • Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2015, after increasing 2.0% in the previous quarter, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Real final sales (GDP less change in private inventories) increased 1.2%.
  • The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 0.2% in the fourth quarter, compared to an increase of 1.3% in the previous quarter. 
  • Real GDP increased 2.4% in the year 2015, the same increase as in 2014. The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 0.3% in 2015, compared with an increase of 1.5% in 2014.
  • New orders for manufactured durable goods decreased 5.1% in December, while shipments decreased 2.2%. New orders were down 3.5% in the year 2015, while shipments were up 1.4%.
  • December new home sales were up10.8% from the previous month, and were up 9.9% from a year ago. The median sales price of new houses sold was $288.9 thousand, 4.3% below December 2014. An estimated 501 thousand new homes were sold in 2015, up 14.6% from the previous year.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator for the housing sector, edged up 0.1% in December, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index was up 4.2% from December 2014.
  • U.S. House prices increased 0.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis from October to November, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) monthly House Price Index. For the 12 months ending in November, U.S. prices rose 5.9%.
  • The S & P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for November showed that home prices continued their rise across the country. The S & P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index increased 5.3% from November of 2014.The 10-city composite index gained 5.3% year-over-year, while the 20-city composite index increased 5.8% year-over-year.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of January 28th showed average fixed mortgage rates moving lower for the fourth consecutive week. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.79% for the week ending January 28, down from last week when it averaged 3.81%.A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.66%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 8.8% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 22, 2016.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 16 thousand to 278 thousand in the week ending January 23. The 4-week moving average was 283 thousand, a decrease of 2.25 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The Employment Cost Index for total compensation rose 0.6%, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending December 2015. Compensation costs rose 2.0% for the 12-month period ending December 2015.
  • Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in December. Twenty-five states had unemployment rate decreases from November, fourteen states had increases, and eleven states and the District of Columbia had no change, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In December, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 36 states and the District of Columbia, and decreased in 14 states.
  • The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index, which had increased in December, improved moderately in January.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment was slightly down in January. The index was 92.0 in January, down from 92.6 in December.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 0.25% to 0.50%, and indicated that “economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target rate below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run”.

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