Key Economic Indicators – March 14, 2016

  • Sales of merchant wholesalers in January were down 1.3%, while inventories were up 0.3%.  The inventories/sales ratio was 1.35, compared with 1.33 in the previous month and 1.28 in January of 2015.
  • The federal government budget ran a deficit of $192.6 billion in February, after a surplus of $55.2 billion in the previous month. The cumulative deficit for the first five months of fiscal year 2016 was $353.0 billion, compared with a deficit of $386.6 billion for the same period of the previous fiscal year.
  • Domestic non-financial debt rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 8.6% in the fourth quarter of 2015, following an increase of 2.1% in the previous quarter.  Domestic non-financial debt outstanding was $45.1 trillion at the end of 2015, of which household debt was $14.2 trillion, nonfinancial business debt was $12.8 trillion, and total government debt was $17.1 trillion.
  • In January, consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.6%. Revolving credit decreased 1.3%, while non-revolving credit increased 5.4%.
  • The import price index decreased 0.3% in February, following a 1.0% decrease in the previous month. The export price index decreased 0.4% in February, following a 0.8% decrease in the previous month. The import price index decreased 6.1% from February 2015, while export prices decreased 6.0%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 18 thousand to 259 thousand in the week ending March 5. The 4-week moving average was 267.5 thousand, a decrease of 2.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending February 27 was 2,225 thousand, a decrease of 32 thousand from the previous week.
  • Employer costs for employee compensation for civilian workers averaged $33.58 per hour worked in December 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages and salaries averaged $23.06 per hour worked and benefits averaged $10.52.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving higher for the second week in a row. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.68% for the week ending March 10, up from last week when it averaged 3.64%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.86%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.96%, up from last week when it averaged 2.94%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 0.2% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending March 4th.
  • U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased 3.9 million barrels to 521.9 million barrels for the week ending March 4, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 4.5 million barrels from the previous week, while distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.1 million barrels.

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