• Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 4.0% in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 33.4%. Real final sales of domestic product increased 3.0%, following a 25.9% increase in the previous quarter.
  • The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.7% in the fourth quarter, compared to an increase of 3.3% in the previous quarter.  The price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased 1.5%, compared with an increase of 3.7% in the previous quarter. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.4%, compared with an increase of 3.4% in the previous quarter.
  • Real GDP decreased 3.5% in the year 2020, compared with an increase of 2.2% in 2019. The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.2% in 2020, compared to an increase of 1.6% in 2019. Current-dollar GDP decreased 2.3% in 2020 to a level of $20.93 trillion, compared with an increase of 4.0% in 2019.
  • Personal income increased 0.6%, in December, following a 1.3% decrease in the previous month. Personal consumption expenditures decreased 0.2%, after a decrease of 0.7% in the previous month. Real disposable income increased 0.2% in December, while real personal consumption expenditures decreased 0.6%. The personal saving rate, personal saving as percentage of disposable income, was 13.7%, compared with 12.9 in November and 24.7 in May.
  • Personal income increased 6.3% in the year 2020. Disposable personal income increased 7.2% in the year 2020, while personal consumption expenditures decreased 2.7%. The saving rate was 16.4% for the year 2020, compared with 7.5 in the year 2019.
  • The price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 0.4% in December, after holding steady in the previous month. The price index excluding food and energy increased 0.3%, after holding steady in the previous month. The price index increased 1.3% from December 2019, while the index excluding food and energy also increased 1.5%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 67 thousand to 847 thousand in the week ending January 23. The 4-week moving average was 868 thousand, an increase of 16.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending January 16 was 4,771 thousand, a decrease of 203 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 4,998 thousand, a decrease of 106.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.4% for the week ending January 16, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate.
  • Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.7%, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending in December 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages and salaries increased 0.9% and benefit costs increased 0.6% from September 2020. Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.5% for the 12-month period ending in December 2020, compared to 2.7% in December 2019. Wages and salaries increased 2.6% over the year compared with an increase of 2.9% for the 12-month period ending in December 2019. Benefit costs increased 2.3% over the year compared with an increase of 2.2% for the 12-month period ending in December 2019.
  • From March 2020 to June 2020, gross job losses from closing and contracting private-sector establishments were 20.4 million, an increase of 12.6 million jobs from the previous quarter, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over this period, gross job gains from opening and expanding private-sector establishments were 5.7 million, a decrease of 1.2 million jobs from the previous quarter. The difference between the number of gross job gains and the number of gross job losses yielded a net employment loss of 14.6 million jobs in the private sector during the second quarter of 2020.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in December in 19 states, higher in 12 states and the District of Columbia, and stable in 19 states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia had jobless rate increases from a year earlier, one state had a decrease, and four states had little or no change. Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 15 states in December 2020, decreased in 11 states, and was essentially unchanged in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 48 states and the District of Columbia and was essentially unchanged in 2 states.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 0.0% to 0.25 and “expects it will be appropriate to maintain this target range until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with the Committee’s assessments of maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time. In addition, the Federal Reserve will continue to increase its holdings of Treasury securities by at least $80 billion per month and of agency mortgage‑backed securities by at least $40 billion per month until substantial further progress has been made toward the Committee’s maximum employment and price stability goals. ”The Committee stated: ”The COVID-19 pandemic is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world. The pace of the recovery in economic activity and employment has moderated in recent months, with weakness concentrated in the sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic. Weaker demand and earlier declines in oil prices have been holding down consumer price inflation. The path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus, including progress on vaccinations. The ongoing public health crisis continues to weigh on economic activity, employment, and inflation, and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook.”
  • There were 102,659,554 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the world, 2,221,640 deaths, and 56,870,465 recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center (access date and time: 1/31/2021, 06:22 EST). In the United States, there were 26,075,932 confirmed cases, 439,536 deaths, and no figure for recovered cases. There are recovered figures for US states, but not for the US (some states do not report it so there is no figure for the country). The real problem is that the global figure has “zero” for the US, which also makes global “recovered” figures wrong. There is a significant drop in the number of recovered. It was 46,857,548 on 12/12/2020 in the World and 6,246,605 in the US. These are among the well-known data issues. The world is still struggling to control the spread of the virus.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 26 thousand to 900 thousand in the week ending January 16. The 4-week moving average was 848 thousand, an increase of 23.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending January 9 was 5,054 thousand, a decrease of 127 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 5,126.25 thousand, a decrease of 67 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.6% for the week ending January 9, unchanged from the previous week’s revised rate.
  • Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 111.5 million full-time wage and salary workers were $984 in the fourth quarter of 2020 (not seasonally adjusted), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was 5.1% higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.2% in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers over the same period.  Women had median weekly earnings of $894, or 83.4% of the $1,072 median for men. The women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women earned 82.3% as much as their male counterparts, compared with 95.7% for Black women, 74.9% for Asian women, and 91.8% for Hispanic women.
  • Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,709 thousand, up 4.5% from the previous month and up 17.3% December 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. An estimated 1,452 thousand housing units were authorized by building permits in 2020, up 4.8% from 2019. Housing Starts Privately-owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,669 thousand, up 5.8 from the previous month and up 5.2% from a year ago. An estimated 1,380.3 thousand housing units were started in 2020, up 7.0% from 2019.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed mortgage rates moved slightly downward. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.77% for the week ending January 21, down from last week when it averaged 2.79%. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.60%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.21%, down from last week when it averaged 2.23%. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.04%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 1.9% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 15, 2021.
  • There were 97,746,797 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the world, 2,097,263 deaths, and 53,896,966 recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center (access date and time: 1/22/2021, 11:22 EST). In the United States, there are 24,656,801 confirmed cases, 411,165 deaths, and no figure for recovered cases. There are recovered figures for US states, but not for the US (some states do not report it so there is no figure for the country). The real problem is that the global figure has “zero” for the US, which also makes global “recovered” figures wrong. There is a significant drop in the number of recovered. It was 46,857,548 on 12/12/2020 in the World and 6,246,605 in the US. Data issues may be the least of the problems. The world is still struggling to control the spread of the virus.
  • Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for December were down 0.7% from November but were up 2.9% from December 2019.  Total sales for the year 2020 were up 0.6% from the year 2019.
  • Total manufacturing and trade sales for November were down 0.1% from October but were up 1.5% from November 2019. Inventories were up 0.5% from the previous month but were down 3.2% from a year ago. The total business inventories/sales ratio at the end of November was 1.32, compared with 1.39 a year ago.
  • Total Industrial production increased 1.6% in December, following a 0.5% increase in the previous month. The index was 3.6% below the level in December 2019 and was 3.3% below its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. The manufacturing index was up 0.9% in December, while the index for utilities was up 6.2%. The index for mining was up 1.6% in December. Total Industrial production for the year 2020 was down 7.0% from the previous year.
  • The rate of capacity utilization for total industry was 74.5% in December, compared with 73.4 in November of 2020, and 77.2 in December of 2019. The average for the index was 79.8 during 1972-2019 period.
  • The federal government budget ran a deficit of $143.6 billion in December, after a deficit of $145.3 billion in the previous month. The cumulative deficit for the first three months of the fiscal year 2021 was $572.9 billion, compared with the deficit of $356.6 billion for the first three months of the previous fiscal year. The cumulative deficit was $3,131.9 billion in the previous fiscal year.
  • The import price index in December was up 0.9% from November but was down 0.3% from December of 2019. The export price index was up 1.1% from November and was up 0.2% from December of 2019.
  • The producer price index for final demand (headline index) increased 0.3% in December, following a 0.1% 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 December, after a 0.1% increase in the previous month. The headline index increased 0.8% from December 2019 to December 2020, while the index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 1.1%.
  • The consumer price index (headline index) rose 0.4% in December, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The core index, all items less food and energy, increased 0.1%, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 1.4% for the 12-month period ending in December, while the core index rose 1.6%. This increase of 1.4% in all items CPI in 2020 was smaller than the 2019 increase of 2.3% and the smallest December-to-December increase since the 0.7% rise in 2015. The index rose at a 1.7% average annual rate over the last 10 years. The food index increased 3.9% in 2020, a larger increase than the 2019 rise of 1.8%. The index for food at home also increased 3.9% in 2020, a larger increase than the 0.7% increase reported for 2019. Over the last 10 years, the food index rose at a 2.0% average annual rate, and the food at home index increased at a 1.5% average annual rate.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.4% from November to December. This result stems from a 0.8% increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.4% increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.
  • The number of job openings was little changed 6.5 million on the last business day of November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the month, hires were little changed at 6.0 million, while total separations increased to 5.6 million. Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at 2.2%, while the layoffs and discharges rate increased to 1.4%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 181 thousand to 965 thousand in the week ending January 9. The 4-week moving average was 834.25 thousand, an increase of 18.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending January 2 was 5,271 thousand, an increase of 199 thousand from the previous week’s unrevised level. The 4-week moving average was 5,271 thousand, a decrease of 59 thousand from the previous week’s unrevised average. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.7% for the week ending January 2, an increase of 0.2 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed mortgage rates tick up. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.79% for the week ending January 14, up from last week when it averaged 2.65%. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.65%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.23%, up from last week when it averaged 2.16%. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.09%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 16.7% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 8, 2021. The previous week’s results included an adjustment for the holidays.
  • There were 93,363,092 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the world, 1,999,849 deaths, and 51,514,474 recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center (access date and time: 1/15/2021, 12:30 EST). In the United States, there are 23,337,896 confirmed cases, 389,191 deaths, and no figure for recovered cases. There are recovered figures for US states, but not for the US (some states do not report it so there is no figure for the country). The real problem is that the global figure has “zero” for the US, which also makes global “recovered” figures wrong. There is a significant drop in the number of recovered. It was 46,857,548 on 12/12/2020 in the World and 6,246,605 in the US. Data issues may be the least of the problems. The world is still struggling to control the spread of the virus.
  • Total non-farm payroll employment decreased 140 thousand in December, following an increase of 336 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls decreased by 95 thousand in December, while government employment decreased by 45 thousand. The decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and efforts to contain the pandemic. Employment declines in leisure and hospitality, private education, and government were partially offset by gains in professional and business services, retail trade, construction, and transportation and warehousing. In December, nonfarm employment was below its February level by 9.8 million, or 6.5%.
  • The unemployment rate held steady at 6.7% in December, and the number of unemployed persons increased by 8 thousand to 10.736 million. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 3.6%, and the number of unemployed persons was 5.844 million
  • The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 27 thousand to 3.956 million and accounted for 37.1% of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed increased by 2.779 million.
  • The labor force participation rate remained at 61.5% in December. The rate was 63.3 in December 2019.
  • The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 to 34.7 hours in December.
  • In December, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 23 cents to $29.81. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 5.1%.
  • Unemployment rates were higher in November than a year earlier in 386 of the 389 metropolitan areas, and lower higher in 3 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment decreased over the year in 242 metropolitan areas and was essentially unchanged in 147 areas.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 3 thousand to 787 thousand in the week ending January 2. The 4-week moving average was 818.75 thousand, a decrease of 18.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending December 26 was 5,072 thousand, a decrease of 126 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 5,274.75 thousand, a decrease of 177.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.5% for the week ending December 26, unchanged from the previous week’s revised rate.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed mortgage rates hit a new record low the first week of 2021. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.65% for the week ending January 7, down slightly from last week when it averaged 2.67%. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.64%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.16%, down from last week when it averaged 2.17%. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.07%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 4.2% from two weeks earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 1, 2021. The results include adjustments to account for the holidays.
  • There were 88,885,636 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the world, 1,913,746 deaths, and 49,427,771 recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center (access date and time: 1/9/2021, 3:30 EST). In the United States, there are 21,862,983 confirmed cases, 368,777 deaths, and no figure for recovered cases. There are recovered figures for US states, but not for the US (some states do not report it so there is no figure for the country). The real problem is that the global figure has “zero” for the US, which makes global “recovered” figures wrong. There is a significant drop in the number of recovered. It was 46,857,548 four weeks ago (12/12/2020) in the World and 6,246,605 in the US.  However, Data issues may be the least of the problems. The world is still struggling to control the spread of the virus.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 19 thousand to 787 thousand in the week ending December 26. The 4-week moving average was 836.75 thousand, an increase of 17.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending December 19 was 5,219 thousand, a decrease of 103 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 5,457.25 thousand, a decrease of 77 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.6% for the week ending December 19, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed mortgage rates remain near record low. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.67% for the week ending December 31, up slightly from last week when it averaged 2.66%, which was the lowest rate in the survey’s history which dates to 1971. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.72%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.17%, down from last week when it averaged 2.19%. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.16%.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for December increased to 80.7, from 76.9 in November. The Index was 99.3 in December 2019. The Current Conditions Index increased to 90.0, from 87.0, while the Index of Consumer Expectations increased to 74.6, from 70.5.
  • There were 84,602,857 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the world, 1,836,136 deaths, and 47,604,898 recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center (access date and time: 1/3/2021, 3:00 EST). In the United States, there are 20,429,852 confirmed cases, 350,195 deaths, and no figure for recovered cases. However, there are recovered figures for US states, but not for the US. There is something wrong with “recovered” figures. There is a significant drop in the number of recovered. It was 46,857,548 three weeks ago (12/12/2020) in the World and 6,246,605 in the US. Regardless of data issues, the world is still struggling to control the spread of the virus.