Key Economic Indicators – February 6, 2017

  • Total non-farm payroll employment rose 227 thousand in January, following an increase of 157 thousand in the previous month. Private-sector payrolls increased by 237 thousand in the month, while government employment decreased by 10 thousand.
  • The unemployment rate was 4.8% in January, compared with 4.7% in December of 2016.
  • Average weekly hours held steady at 34.4. Average hourly earnings increased 3 cents to $26.00. Average hourly earnings was up 2.5% from January 2016.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 14 thousand to 246 thousand in the week ending January 28. The 4-week moving average was 248 thousand, an increase of 2.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • Nonfarm business sector productivity increased at a 1.3% annual rate during the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, following a 3.5% increase in the previous quarter. The productivity was up 1.0% from the fourth quarter of 2015. Nonfarm business sector productivity grew 0.2% in the year 2016, following a 0.9% increase in 2015.
  • The Employment Cost Index for total compensation rose 0.5%, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending December 2016, following a 0.6% increase for the 3–month period ending September 2016. Compensation costs increased 2.2% for the 12-month period ending December 2016.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in December than a year earlier in 236 of the 387 metropolitan areas, higher in 111 areas, and unchanged in 40 areas. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 292 metropolitan areas, decreased in 87 areas, and was unchanged in 8 areas.
  • Personal income increased 0.3%, in December, while personal consumption expenditures increased 0.5%. The price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 0.2% in December, following a 0.1% decrease in the previous month. The price index excluding food and energy increased 0.1% in December, after holding steady in November. The price index increased 1.6% from December 2015, while the index excluding food and energy increased 1.7%.
  • Sales of domestic cars decreased 10.2% in January, following a 1.5% increase in the previous month. Total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 4.6% in January, after a 3.4% increase in the previous month. Sales were 17.5 million units in January, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.8 million in January of 2016.
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.3% in December, while shipments increased 2.2%. New orders for manufactured goods decreased 1.4% in the year 2016, and shipments decreased 1.5%.
  • December construction spending was down 0.2% from November, but was up 4.2% from December 2015.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator for the housing sector, increased 1.6% to a reading of 109.0 in December, according to the National Association of Realtors.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed fixed mortgage rates holding steady. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.19% for the week ending February 2, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.72%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 3.2% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 27th.
  • The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index, which had increased in December, decreased to 111.8 in January.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in January, and the overall economy grew for the 92nd consecutive month.
  • In January, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 85th consecutive month.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 0.25% to 0.75%. The Committee indicated that labor market conditions continued to strengthen and economic activity continued to expand at a moderate pace.


Comments are closed.