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Friday, January 13, 2017

Producer Prices Increased 0.3% in December

Producer prices rose 0.3% in December, seasonally adjusted, after climbing 0.4% in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Producer prices rose 1.6% in 2016, after declining 1.1% in 2015.
The index for final demand goods rose 0.7% in December, the largest jump since June. The increase was led by a 2.6% rise in the index for final demand energy. There was a smaller 0.3% increase in the index for final demand goods less food and energy.

Prices for final demand services ticked up 0.1% in December, after rising 0.5% in November. Much of the advance was due to the index for final demand services less trade, transportation, and warehousing, which increased by 0.2%.

Read the BLS release.
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Retail Sales Rose in December

There were $469.1 billion in retail and food service sales in December, up 0.6% from the previous month and 4.1% from December 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Core retail sales – excluding automobiles and parts – increased 0.2% after rising at the same rate in November. Year-over-year core sales increased 3.4%.

Retail trade sales increased 0.8% from November and are up 4.3% from last year. Sales at nonstore retailers increased 1.3% from November, while increasing 13.2% year-over-year.

Sales at gasoline stations continued to climb, rising 2.0% during the month and 6.3% from a year ago.

Read the Census release.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Small Business Optimism Soared in December

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index posted a strong increase of 7.4 points in December to 105.8, the highest reading in twelve years. Seven of the ten index components rose, while two declined and one was unchanged.
Even with the increased optimism, reported job creation remained weak in December, as only 51% of businesses reported hiring or trying to hire. Forty-four percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twelve percent of employers surveyed cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their top business problem. A seasonally adjusted net 16% of owners plan to create new jobs, which is the strongest reading in the recovery.

Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners expecting better business conditions shot up 38 points to a net 50%. The percent of owners reporting higher sales in the past three months rose 1 point to a net negative 7%. Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes rose 20 points to a net 31% of owners. Capital spending jumped as 63% of owners reported capital outlays, up 8 points from November. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next 3 to 6 months increased 5 points to 29%.

Credit conditions held steady, as 4% of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not met. Only 2% of business owners surveyed reported that financing was their top business problem, unchanged from the past two months.

Read the NFIB report.
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Monday, January 9, 2017

Consumer Credit Surged in November

Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.9% in November, up from a 5.2% rate in October. Total outstanding credit increased $24.6 billion during the month (compared with $14.1 billion in October) to $3.75 trillion.
Revolving credit rose at an annual rate of 13.5% to $992.4 billion, compared to a 2.4% increase in October. Non-revolving credit rose at a 5.9% annual rate, or $13.5 billion, compared to October’s rate of $11.8 billion. Total non-revolving credit is now $2.76 trillion.
The large increase in revolving consumer credit can partly be attributed to the holiday season, with spending fueled by credit cards. Also, more consumers are gaining access to credit as the economy continues to brighten.

Read the Fed release.
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Friday, January 6, 2017

Manufactured Goods Orders Fell in November

New orders for manufactured goods decreased 2.4% to $458.3 billion in November, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The November reading followed four months of increases.
New orders for manufactured durable goods fell 4.5% to $228.8 billion, after increasing 5.0% in October. Orders for transportation equipment drove the decrease, rising 13.2% to $76.7 billion.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods increased 0.1% to $234.2 billion. Primary metals led the decrease, falling 2.0% to $18.1 billion.

Inventories of manufactured durable goods increased 0.2% to $384.1 billion.

Read the Census release.
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International Trade Balance Widened in November

The U.S. international trade deficit expanded in November to $45.2 billion, up from $42.6 billion in October, according to the U.S. Census Bureau of Economic Analysis. The expansion reflected a $0.4 billion decrease in exports along with a $2.4 billion increase in imports.
The goods deficit increased $3.4 billion to $66.6 billion, while the services surplus rose $0.5 billion to $21.4 billion.

Exports of goods fell $0.7 billion to $122.4 billion in November, driven by decreases in capital goods. Exports of capital goods fell by $1.8 billion, largely due to a $1.3 billion decrease in civilian aircraft exports. Exports of services increased $0.3 billion to $63.5 billion.

Imports of goods increased $2.7 billion to $189.0 billion, mostly due to an increase in industrial supplies and materials, which rose by $2.2 billion. Imports of services decreased $0.3 billion to $42.1 billion in November.

Read the Census/BEA release.
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156,000 Jobs Added in December, Strongest Wage Growth since Recession

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in December, down from November’s upwardly revised figure of 204,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate moved up slightly to 4.7% as more people entered the labor force. The majority of gains occurred in health care and restaurants.
Private-service providing industries added a net 132,000 jobs, led by gains in education and health services, which added 70,000 jobs during the month, and by leisure and hospitality, which added 24,000 jobs this month.

Goods-producing employment rose by 12,000 jobs during the month, as gains in manufacturing led the way.

The civilian labor force participation rate was 62.7%, virtually unchanged from November. The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, decreased to 1.8 million and accounted for 24.3% of the unemployed. The number of discouraged workers was 426,000, down over 35% from a year earlier.

Average hourly earnings increased by 10 cents to $26.00, which was the fastest rise in worker pay since 2009. Hourly earnings have increased 2.9% over the past year.

Read the BLS release.
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