• Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP also increased 2.1%.
  • Real final sales of domestic product increased 3.1%, following a 2.1% increase in the previous quarter.
  • The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.4% in the fourth quarter, the same increase as in the previous quarter.  The price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 1.3%, compared with an increase of 1.5%. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 1.2%, following an increase of 2.1% in the previous quarter.
  • Real GDP increased 2.3% in 2019, compared with an increase of 2.9% in 2018. Current-dollar GDP increased 4.1%, or $846.9 billion, in 2019 to a level of $21.43 trillion, compared with an increase of 5.4 percent, or $1,060.8 billion, in 2018.
  • The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.5% in 2019, compared with an increase of 2.4% in 2018. The price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 1.4%, compared with an increase of 2.1%. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 1.6%, compared with an increase of 1.9% in 2018.
  • Personal income increased 0.6% in January, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. Disposable personal income increased 0.6%, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month.  The price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 0.1% in January, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month. The core index (price index for personal consumption expenditures excluding food and energy) increased 0.1% in January, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month.  The price index (headline index) was up 1.7% from January 2019 to January 2020, while the core index was up 1.6%.
  • Both new orders and shipments for manufactured durable goods decreased 0.2% in January. New orders in January 2020 decreased 2.3% from January 2019, while shipments decreased 2.2%.
  • Retail inventories for January were virtually unchanged from December 2019, and were up 0.3% from January 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Wholesale inventories for January were down 0.2% from December 2019, and were up 0.6% from January 2019.
  • The international trade deficit of goods was $65.5 billion in January, down $3.2 billion from $68.7 billion in December. Exports of goods for January decreased $1.4 billion to $135.7 billion, and imports of goods decreased $4.6 billion to $201.2 billion.
  • Sales of new single-family houses in January were at an annual rate of 764 thousand, 7.9% above December 2019 and 18.6% above January 2019, according estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed mortgage rates falling. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.45% for the week ending February 27, down from last week when it averaged 3.49%. A year-ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.35%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.95%, down from last week when it averaged 2.99%. A year-ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.77%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 1.5% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 21, 2020.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 8 thousand to 219 thousand in the week ending February 22. The 4-week moving average was 209.75 thousand, an increase of 0.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending February 15 was 1,724 thousand, a decrease of 9 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,729.25 thousand, an increase of 5.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in January, improved slightly in February. The Index now stands at 130.7 (1985=100), up from 130.4 in January. The Present Situation Index decreased from 173.9 to 165.1, and the Expectations Index increased from 101.4 to 107.8.
  • The University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for February was 101.0, up from 98.8 in January. The Index was 93.8 in February 2019. The Current Economic Conditions Index edged up from 114.4 in January to 114.8 in February, while the Index of Consumer Expectations increased from 90.5 to 92.1.
  • Housing starts in January were 1,567 thousand, down 3.6% from the previous month but were up 21.4% from a year ago. Building permits in January were 1,551 thousand units, up 9.2% from the previous month, and up 17.9% from January 2019.
  • January existing home sales were down 1.3% from the previous month, but were up 9.6% from January 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors. The median sales price of existing houses sold was $266.3 thousand, 6.8% above January 2019. There were 1.42 million existing homes for sale at the end of the month.  This represents a supply of 3.3 months at the current sales rate, compared to 3.8 in January of 2019.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed little change. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.49% for the week ending February 20, slightly up from last week when it averaged 4.37%. A year-ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.35%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.99%, up slightly from last week when it averaged 2.97%. A year-ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.78%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 6.4% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 14th.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 4 thousand to 210 thousand in the week ending February 15. The 4-week moving average was 209 thousand, a decrease of 3.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending February 8 was 1,726 thousand, an increase of 25 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,722.25 thousand, a decrease of 5.250 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • From September 2018 to September 2019, employment increased in 283 of the 355 largest U.S. counties, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In September 2019, national employment (as measured by the Quarterly County Employment and Wages program) increased to 148.6 million, a 1.1% increase over the year. New Hanover, NC, had the largest over-the-year increase in employment with a gain of 5.8%. In the third quarter of 2019, average weekly wages for the nation increased to $1,093, a 3.6% increase over the year. Among the 355 largest counties, 350 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Boulder, CO, had the largest third quarter over-the-year wage gain at 18.4%.
  • The producer price index for final demand (headline index) increased 0.5% in January, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 0.4% in January, after a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The headline index increased 2.1% from January 2019 to January 2020, while the index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 1.5%.
  • The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators increased 0.8% in January, following a decrease of 0.3% in the previous month. Over the six-month span through January, the leading index increased 0.1% (about a 0.2% annual rate), much slower than the growth of 0.8% over the previous six months. The Conference Board coincident economic index increased 0.1% in January, after holding steady in the previous month. Over the six-month span through January, the coincident index increased 0.8% (about a 1.7% annual rate), faster than the growth of 0.3% over the previous six months.
  • Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for January were up 0.3% from the previous month and were up 4.4% from January 2019. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, retail sales increased 0.3% from the previous month, and were up 4.0% from a year ago.
  • Total manufacturing and trade sales decreased 0.1% in December, while inventories increased 0.1%. Sales were up 1.7% from a year ago, and inventories were up 2.2% from December 2018. The total business inventories/sales ratio at the end of December was 1.40, compared with 1.39 in December 2018.
  • Total Industrial production decreased 0.3% in January, following a 0.4% decrease in the previous month. Total Industrial production was 0.8% lower in January than it was a year earlier. The rate of capacity utilization for total industry was 76.8%, a level 3.0 percentage points below its 1972-2019 average, and 2.2 percentage points below its level in January 2019.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed fixed-rate mortgages moving slightly higher. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.47% for the week ending February 13th, slightly up from last week when it averaged 3.45%. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.37%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.97% for the week ending February 13th, unchanged from last week. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.81%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 1.1% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 7, 2020.
  • The import price index held steady in January, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. Import prices increased 0.3% from January 2019 to January 2020. The export price index increased 0.7% in January, following a 0.2% decrease in the previous month. Export prices increased 0.5% from January 2019 to January 2020.
  • The consumer price index (headline index) increased 0.1% in January, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month.  The core index, all items less food and energy, increased 0.2% in January, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 2.5% for the 12-month period ending in January, while the core index rose 2.3%.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.1% from December to January. This result stems from a 0.2% increase in average hourly earnings combined with an increase of 0.1% in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.
  • The number of job openings decreased to 6.4 million on the last business day of December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.9 million and 5.7 million, respectively.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 2 thousand to 205 thousand in the week ending February 8. The 4-week moving average was 212 thousand, unchanged from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending February 1 was 1,698 thousand, a decrease of 61 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,726.75 thousand, a decrease of 17.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • The University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, for February was 100.9, up from 99.8 in January. The index was 93.8 in February of 2019. The current economic conditions component was 113.8 in early February, compared with 114.4 in January. The index of consumer expectations increased to 92.6 in February, from 90.5 in January.

 

  • Total non-farm payroll employment increased 225 thousand in January, following an increase of 147 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 206 thousand in January, while government employment increased by 19 thousand. Notable job gains occurred in construction, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing.
  • The unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage point to 3.6% in January, and the number of unemployed persons increased by 139 thousand to 5.892 million. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 4.0%, and the number of unemployed persons was 6.516 million
  • The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 20 thousand to 1.166 million and accounted for 19.9% of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed declined by 93 thousand.
  • The labor force participation was 63.4% in January, up 0.2 percentage point from the previous month and from January 2019.
  • The average workweek of all employees on private non-farm payrolls was unchanged at 34.3 hours in January.
  • In January, average hourly earnings of all employees on private non-farm payrolls increased by 7 cents to $28.44. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 3.1%.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in December than a year earlier in 266 of the 389 metropolitan areas, higher in 101 areas, and unchanged in 22 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. A total of 136 areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0% and 3 areas had rates of at least 10.0%. Non-farm payroll employment increased over the year in 45 metropolitan areas and was essentially unchanged in 344 areas.
  • Non-farm business sector labor productivity increased 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as output increased 2.5% and hours worked increased 1.1%.  From the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019, productivity increased 1.8%, reflecting a 2.7% increase in output and a 0.9% increase in hours worked. Unit labor costs in the non-farm business sector increased 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019 as hourly compensation grew at a faster rate (2.8%) than productivity (1.4%). Unit labor costs increased 2.4% over the last four quarters. Annual average productivity increased 1.7% from 2018 to 2019, as output increased 2.7% and hours worked increased 1.0%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased by 15 thousand to 202 thousand in the week ending February 1. The 4-week moving average was 211.75 thousand, a decrease of 3 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending January 25 was 1,751 thousand, an increase of 48 thousand from the previous week’s level of 1,703 thousand. The 4-week moving average was 1,742.25 thousand, a decrease of 13.25 thousand from the previous week’s  average of 1,755.5 thousand.
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.8% in December, following a 1.2% decrease in November. Shipments increased 0.5%, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month. Inventories were up 0.5% from the previous month. New orders for manufactured goods decreased 0.6% in the year 2019 and shipments increased 0.6%.
  • Sales of domestic cars decreased 9.6% in January, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales increased 1.2%. Total vehicle sales were 16.8 million units in January, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 16.7 million in January 2019 and 17.1 million in January 2018.
  • In December international trade deficit was $48.9 billion, $5.2 billion more than the revised November figure. December exports were $209.6 billion, $1.5 billion more than November exports. December imports were $258.5 billion, $6.7 billion more than November imports.
  • For 2019, the goods and services deficit decreased $10.9 billion, or 1.7%, from 2018. Exports decreased $1.5 billion or 0.1%. Imports decreased $12.5 billion or 0.4%. As a percentage of U.S. gross domestic product, the goods and services deficit were 2.9% in 2019, down from 3.0% in 2018.
  • Construction spending in December 2019 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,327.9 billion, 0.2% below the revised November estimate. The December figure is 5.0% above the December 2018 figure. Private Construction decreased 0.1% in December, while public construction decreased 0.4%.  Construction spending for the year 2019 was 0.3% below the spending in 2018.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed fixed mortgage rates moving lower. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.45% for the week ending February 6, down from last week when it averaged 3.51%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.41%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.97% for the week ending February 6, down from last week when it averaged 3.00%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.84%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 5.0% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 31, 2020.