Key Economic Indicators – February 13, 2017

  • Sales of merchant wholesalers in December were up 2.6% from the previous month, and were up 6.8% from the December 2015 level. Inventories were up 1.0% from the previous month, and were up 2.6% from a year ago.  In the year 2016, sales were down 0.2% from the previous year.
  • In December international trade deficit was $44.3 billion, $1.5 billion less than the revised November figure. For 2016, the goods and services deficit was $502.3 billion, up $1.9 billion from $500.4 billion in 2015. As percentage of gross domestic product, the deficit was 2.7% in 2016, compared with 2.8% in 2015.
  • December consumer credit outstanding increased at an annual rate of 4.5%. Revolving credits increased 2.9%, while non-revolving credits increased 5.1%
  • The import price index increased 0.4% in January, following a 0.5% increase in the previous month. Import prices advanced 3.7% from January 2016 to January 2017. The export price index increased 0.1% in January, after increasing 0.4% in December. Export prices increased 2.3% from January 2016 to January 2017.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 12 thousand to 234 thousand in the week ending February 4. The 4-week moving average was 244.25 thousand, a decrease of 3.75 thousand from the previous week’s average of 248 thousand. This was the lowest level for this average since November 3, 1973 when it was 244 thousand.
  • The number of job openings was little changed at 5.5 million on the last business day of December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the month, hires and separations were also little changed at 5.3 million and 5.0 million, respectively.
  • In 2016, there were 15 major work stoppages involving 99,000 workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The period from 2007 to 2016 was the lowest decade on record, averaging approximately 14 major work stoppages per year.
  • The Federal Reserve Board of Governors labor market conditions index was 1.3 in January, compared with 0.6 in December and negative 2.0 in January of 2016.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed fixed mortgage rates moving lower. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.17% for the week ending February 9th, down from last week when it averaged 4.19%. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.65%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 2.3% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 3, 2017.
  • The Chicago Fed’s National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) was little changed in the week ending February 3. The index was negative 0.80 for the week ending February 3, compared with negative 0.79 for the week ending January 27. Twelve months ago the index was negative 0.57.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, for February was 95.7, down from 98.5 in January. The index was 91.7 in February of 2016. The current economic conditions component was 111.2 in early February, compared with 111.3 in January. The index of consumer expectations decreased to 85.7 in February, from 90.3 in January.

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