Key Economic Indicators – April 11, 2016

  • Sales of domestic cars decreased 7.1% in March, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 5.5%. Total light vehicle sales were 16.5 million units, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.1 million in March of 2015.
  • New orders for manufactured goods decreased 1.7% in February, while shipments decreased 0.7%. Unfilled orders were down 0.3%, while inventories were down 0.4%. Year-to-date new orders for manufactured goods were down 1.7%, and shipments were down 2.2% from the same period in 2015.
  • Sales of merchant wholesalers in February were down 0.2% from the previous month, and down 3.1% from February of 2015. Sales of durable goods were up 1.2% in February, while sales of nondurable goods were down 1.6%. Inventories of merchant wholesalers were down 0.5% from the previous month, but were up 0.6% from February 2015.
  • In February, international trade deficit was $47.1 billion, up $1.2 billion from $45.9 billion in January.  Year-to-date trade deficit increased $10.8 billion, from the same period in 2015.
  • February consumer credit outstanding increased at an annual rate of 5.8%. Revolving credits increased 3.7%, while non-revolving credits increased 6.6%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 9 thousand to 267 thousand in the week ending April 2. The 4-week moving average was 266.75 thousand, an increase of 3.5 thousand from the previous week’s unrevised average.
  • The number of job openings was little changed at 5.4 million on the last business day of February, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hires increased to 5.4 million, while separations were little changed at 5.1 million.
  • Federal Reserve Board of Governors Labor Market Conditions Index, which is based on 19 labor market indicators, decreased 2.1 points in March. This was the third consecutive monthly decline in the index.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in February than a year earlier in 296 of the 387 metropolitan areas, higher in 76 areas, and unchanged in 15 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In February, 323 metropolitan areas had year-over-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment, 62 had decreases, and 2 had no change.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates moving lower and reaching their lowest levels since February of last year. 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.59% for the week ending April 7, down from a week earlier when it averaged 3.71%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.66%. 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 2.88%, down from last week when it averaged 2.98%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 2.93%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 2.7% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending April 1st.
  • In March, the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth for the 74th consecutive month.

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