Key Economic Indicators – January 23, 2017

  • Total Industrial production increased 0.8% in December, following a 0.7% decline in the previous month. The index was 0.5% above the level in December 2015. The manufacturing index was up 0.2% in December, while the index for utilities was up 6.6%. The index for mining held steady in December. Total Industrial production decreased 1.0% in the year 2016, while the manufacturing output increased 0.1%.
  • The rate of capacity utilization for total industry was 75.5% in December. compared with 74.9 in November, and 80.0 as the average of the 1972-2015 period.
  • Finance and insurance (9.0%), wholesale trade (8.3%) and information services (8.6%) were the leading contributors to the increase in U.S. economic growth in the third quarter of 2016, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (15.1%) and utilities (14.2%) were the two fastest growing sectors also contributing to a real GDP growth of 3.5% in the third quarter.
  • Housing starts in December were up 11.3% from the previous month, and were up 5.7% from December 2015. The total number of starts for the year 2016 was up 4.9% from the previous year.  Building permits were down 0.2% from the previous month, but were up 0.7% from a year ago.  Building permits for the year 2016 was up 0.4% from the previous year.
  • The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo decreased 2 points to 67 in January 2017, from 69 in the previous month. The Index was 61 in January of 2016.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of January 19th showed average fixed mortgage rates decreasing. 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.09% for the week ending January 19th, down from last week when it averaged 4.12%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.81%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 0.8% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 13th.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 15 thousand to 234 thousand in the week ending January 14. The 4-week moving average was 246.750 thousand, a decrease of 10.25 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.1% from November to December. This result stems from a 0.4% increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.3% increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.
  • The consumer price index (headline index) rose 0.3% in December, while the core index increased 0.2%. The consumer price index increased 2.1% for the 12-month period ending in December, while the core index rose 2.2%.
  • The FED’s “Beige Book” indicated that overall economic activity continued to expand at a modest pace across most regions from late November through the end of the year.
  • The January 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity continued to grow modestly in New York State.
  • The Philadelphia FED’s manufacturing business outlook survey for January 2017 reported that economic conditions continued to improve.
  • The Chicago FED’s National Financial Conditions Index remained at negative 0.78 in the week ending January 13.


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