Key Economic Indicators – February 15, 2016

  • Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for January were up 0.2% from December, and were up 3.4% from January 2015.
  • Total manufacturing and trade sales decreased 0.6% in December, while inventories increased 0.1%. Sales of manufacturers’ were down 1.4%, while sales of retailers’ held steady. The total business inventories/sales ratio was 1.39 at the end of December, compared with 1.33 at the end of December 2014.
  • Sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, decreased 0.3% in December, while inventories decreased 0.1%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • The federal government budget ran a surplus of $55.2 billion in January, after a deficit of $14.4 billion in the previous month. The cumulative deficit for the first four months of the fiscal year 2016 was $160.4 billion, compared with a deficit of $194.1 billion for the same period of the previous fiscal year.
  • The import price index decreased 1.1% in January, while export prices decreased 0.8%. The fuel import price index decreased 12.4%, while the non-fuel import price index decreased 0.2%. The overall import price index decreased 6.2% from January 2015. Agricultural export prices decreased 1.1%, while non-agricultural export prices decreased 0.8%. The price index for overall exports decreased 5.7% from January 2015.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 16 thousand to 269 thousand in the week ending February 6. The 4-week moving average was 281.25 thousand, a decrease of 3.5 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The number job openings increased to 5.6 million on the last business day of December, from 5.3 million in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of hires was 5.4 million, little changed from November.
  • Federal Reserve Board of Governors Labor Market Conditions Index decreased to 0.4 in January, from 2.3 in December. The index was 3.7 in January of 2015.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed fixed mortgage rates moving lower for the sixth consecutive week. 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.65% for the week ending February 11th, down from last week when it averaged 3.72%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.69%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 9.3% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 5. The refinance index surged 16.0% from the previous week.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, continued its slow decline in February. The index was 90.7 in early February, compared with 92.0 in January, and 95.4 in February of 2015.

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