Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Consumer Confidence Fell in May

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index fell to 92.6 in May, down 2.1 points from the previous month.

The Present Situation Index fell 4.2 points to 112.9, while the Expectations Index fell 0.7 points to 79.0.

“Consumer confidence declined slightly in May, primarily due to consumers rating current conditions less favorably than in April,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Expectations declined further, as consumers remain cautious about the outlook for business and labor market conditions. Thus, they continue to expect little change in economic activity in the months ahead.”

The labor market outlook was less favorable in May, as the share of consumers expecting more jobs in the coming months was unchanged at 12.8%, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased 1.4% to 18.1%. Income expectations improved some, as 16.2% of consumers expected their incomes to increase within the coming months, up from 15.8% in April. The proportion expecting a reduction in income was unchanged at 12.4%.

Read the release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Home Prices Continued to Grow in March

The year-over-year appreciation of the 20-City Case-Shiller Composite Index was 5.4% in March, the same as in February. The 10-City Composite Index appreciation was also unchanged at 4.7%. The National Index, which covers home prices in all nine census divisions increased by 5.2%, down from 5.3% in February.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the 20-City Composite increased by 0.9%, the 10-City Composite increased by 0.8%, and the National Index increased by 0.1% in March.

“Home prices are continuing to rise at a 5% annual rate, a pace that has held since the start of 2015,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Another factor behind rising home prices is the limited supply of homes on the market. The number of homes currently on the market is less than two percent of the number of households in the U.S., the lowest percentage seen since the mid-1980s.”

Home prices rose in nineteen of the twenty cities covered by the index. Minneapolis saw the largest gains, with prices increasing by 1.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis, while home prices in Cleveland fell by 0.1%.

Read the S&P release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Consumer Sentiment Rose in April

Consumer Sentiment rose to 94.7 in May, up 5.7 points from the previous month, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index.

The Current Economic Conditions Index improved 3.2 points to 109.9, while the Index of Consumer Expectations rose to 7.3 points to 84.9.

“The biggest uncertainty consumers see on the horizon is not whether the Fed will hike interest rates in the next few months, but the outlook for future government economic policies under a new president,” said Richard Curtin, Chief Economist of UM Surveys of Consumers. “This has increased their emphasis on maintaining precautionary savings, although the savings rate is not expected to increase much beyond its current level.”

Visit Banks and the Economy

GDP Revised up to 0.8% in the First Quarter

Real GDP for the first quarter of 2016 grew at an annual rate of 0.8%, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s second estimate. First quarter GDP was revised up from the advance estimate of 0.5% growth, as the decrease in private inventory investment was smaller than previously estimated. During the fourth quarter of 2015, real GDP grew at a rate of 1.4%.

Consumption was the largest contributor to GDP accounting for 1.3% of growth, compared to 1.7% during the fourth quarter. Consumption spending grew by $53.5 billion during the first quarter of 2016, compared to $68.3 billion during the fourth quarter of 2015.

Non-residential fixed investment was a significant drag on GDP, subtracting 0.8% from growth. The fall in non-residential fixed investment was partially offset by a $22.0 billion increase in residential fixed investment, which contributed 0.6% to GDP.

Inventories subtracted 0.2% from GDP, a lower figure than the 0.3% subtraction estimated previously. Both farm and nonfarm private inventories declined during the quarter. The negative impact of net exports was also revised during the quarter, falling from a 0.3% drag to a 0.2% drag.

State and local government spending grew, contributing 0.3% to GDP. This was offset by a decrease in Federal government spending, which was a 0.1% drag.

Read the BEA release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mortgages Drove Household Debt in the First Quarter

Household debt reached $12.25 trillion in the first quarter of 2016, according to the New York Fed’s Household Debt and Credit Report, up $136 billion form last quarter. The growth was driven primarily by an increase in mortgage balances which grew $120 billion, in contrast to an $11 billion decline during the fourth quarter of 2015.

Non-housing debt balances also increased as both student and auto loan debt rose during the quarter. Student loans increased $29 billion to $1.26 trillion, while auto loans increased $7 billion to $1.07 trillion.

Credit card balances declined $21 billion after increasing $19 billion in the previous quarter, as the number of credit inquiries – an indicator of consumer credit demand – fell by 8 million. The aggregate credit card limit increased for the thirteenth consecutive quarter, rising 2.0%.

Delinquencies improved as 5.0% of outstanding debt was delinquent, down from 5.4% during the fourth quarter. Mortgage delinquencies continued their improving trend, as 2.1% of mortgage balances were 90 days delinquent, compared to 2.2% in the previous quarter. Approximately 97,000 consumers had a foreclosure notation added to their credit reports, just above the lowest level seen since the data was first collected in 1999.

The 90-day delinquency rate for student loans fell 50 basis points during the quarter, but remains high at 11.0% according to the report. However, the true delinquency rate may be twice as high as nearly half of the loans are in deferment.

Read the New York Fed report.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Durable Goods Orders Rose in April

New orders for manufactured durable goods increased 3.4% to $235.9 billion in April, following a 1.9% increase in March, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The majority of the month’s increase was driven by an 8.9% increase in new orders for transportation equipment. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.4%.

New orders excluding defense increased 3.7% on the month, as orders of nondefense aircraft and parts grew by 64.9% to $16.9 billion. Nondefense capital goods also increased, rising 7.8% to $73.6 billion in April.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods rose 0.6% in April to $232.5 billion, following two consecutive monthly decreases.

Inventories of manufactured durable goods fell 0.2% to $384.4 billion, following a 0.2% decline in the previous month. Inventories have now declined for nine of the last ten months.

Read the Census release.
Visit Banks and the Economy

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

New Home Sales Surged in April

New single-family home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 619,000 in April, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The April rate is 16.6% above the revised March rate of 531,000 and is the highest level in eight years.

Sales were mixed across regions, rising 52.8% in the Northeast, 18.8% in the West and 15.8% in the South. Sales fell in the Midwest, dropping by 4.8% during the month.

The median price of a new home was $321,100, up 7.8% from March. The average price was $379,800, up 7.3% from the previous month.

At the end of April, there was an estimated supply of 4.7 months at the current sales rate, down from a 5.5 month supply in March.

Read the Census/HUD release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Existing Home Sales Rose in April

Existing home sales rose 1.7% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.45 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The April reading follows March’s upwardly revised rate of 5.36 million. Annual sales of existing homes were mixed across regions, rising 12.1% in the Midwest and 2.8% in the Northeast, but falling 2.7% and 1.7% in the South and West regions respectively.

“Primarily driven by a convincing jump in the Midwest, where home prices are most affordable, sales activity overall was at a healthy pace last month as very low mortgage rates and modest seasonal inventory gains encouraged more households to search for and close on a home,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

The median existing-home price moved up to $232,500, a 6.3% increase from April 2015.

Distressed sales slipped 1 point to 7% of sales in April. Five percent of April sales were foreclosures while 2% were short sales. On average, foreclosures and short sales sold for discounts of 17% and 10% respectively.

Read the NAR release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

FOMC Minutes: June Rate Hike Still on the Table

In the minutes of their April 26 – 27 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, Fed officials expressed that they may be ready to raise interest rates once again in June.

“Most participants judged that if incoming data were consistent with economic growth picking up in the second quarter, labor market conditions continuing to strengthen, and inflation making progress toward the Committee’s 2 percent objective, then it likely would be appropriate for the Committee to increase the target range for the federal funds rate in June,” the minutes stated.

The release of the April meeting minutes follows comments from Fed Presidents Dennis Lockhart of Atlanta and John Williams of San Francisco, who suggested on Tuesday that markets should not discount the possibility of a June rate hike. Lockhart and Williams also stated that they each expect two-to-three additional movements this year.

Federal Fund futures prices have adjusted following the FOMC release, with markets now anticipating a 34% probability of a June rate hike, up from a 4% probability two days prior.

Although members agreed that labor market indicators had improved since the last meeting, other economic indicators had been mixed. Household spending moderated even as household real income had risen and consumer sentiment remained high. In addition, members noted that the housing sector had improved while business fixed investment and net exports had been soft. Due to these soft readings on spending and production, the Committee decided against raising rates during their April meeting.

Read the FOMC minutes.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Industrial Production Rose in April

Industrial Production increased 0.7% in April, after falling for the previous two months, according to the Federal Reserve. The increase was largely due to gains in utilities and manufacturing. Over the last 12 months, total industrial production has fallen 1.1%.

Mining output fell 2.3% on the month, continuing the downward trajectory for the industry. Mining output fell at an average pace of 1.5% monthly over the past eight months.

The utilities index increased 5.8% in April, as demand for electricity and natural gas rebounded following unseasonably warm March weather. The index is up 0.4% over the last 12 months.

Manufacturing increased 0.3% in April after declining by that amount in March. Durable goods production rose 0.6%, as machinery and motor vehicles and parts production accelerated. Nondurable goods manufacturing was largely unchanged in April.

Capacity utilization increased to 75.4%, up 50 basis points from March’s reading and up 1.0% from a year ago.

Read the Fed release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Housing Starts Rose in April

Housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.172 million in April, 6.6% above March’s revised estimate of 1.099 million, but 1.7% below the April 2015 rate. Housing starts have remained above the 1.0 million rate for 13 consecutive months.

Housing activity was mixed across regions in April. Starts fell 7.6% in the Northeast, and 10.0% in the West, but rose 14.1% in the South and 22.2% in the Midwest.

New building permits rose during the month, rising 3.6% above March’s rate to 1.116 million. New permits, however, declined year-over-year, falling 1.3% below the April 2015 estimate.

Housing completions fell in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.933 million, 11.0% below March’s rate and down 7.4% from a year ago.

Read the Census release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

CPI Increased Broadly in April

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.4% in April, as the indices for food, energy and all items less food and energy rose during the month. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 1.1% before seasonal adjustment.

The energy index rose 3.4% in April, the largest increase since February 2013. The gasoline index drove the increases, rising 8.1% during the month. Fuel oil and natural gas prices also increased, rising 1.9% and 0.6% respectively.

The food index rose 0.2% following a 0.2% decline in March. Prices for food at home advanced 0.1% while prices for food away from home advanced 0.2%. Dairy and related products rose 0.4% in April. In contrast, the index for fruits and vegetables fell for the second straight month, falling 0.5%.

Prices for all items less food and energy increased 0.2% in April, compared to a 0.1% rise in March. The indices for transportation services, medical care commodities, medical care services and shelter all increased, while the indices for new and used vehicles, apparel and commodities fell.

Read the BLS release.
Visit Banks and the Economy

Monday, May 16, 2016

Builder Confidence Unchanged in May

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index was unchanged at 58 points in May, indicating that more builders view conditions as good than poor. The index has remained unchanged for four consecutive months.

Index components were mixed in May. The index measuring sales expectations in the next six months rose 3 points to 65, while the indices measuring buyer traffic and current sales conditions were unchanged at 44 and 63 respectively.

“The fact that future sales expectations rose slightly this month shows that builders are confident that the market will continue to strengthen,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Job creation, low mortgage interest rates and pent-up demand will also spur growth in the single-family housing sector moving forward.”

The three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores varied. The Northeast fell 3 points to 41, while the West was unchanged at 67. The South and Midwest each posted 1 point gains to 59 and 58 points respectively.

Read the NAHB release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Producer Prices Rose 0.2% in April

Producer prices rose 0.2% in April, seasonally adjusted, after falling 0.1% in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. April’s increase was attributable to increases in prices for both final demand goods and services.

Prices for final demand goods moved up 0.2%, only the second increase in the past ten months. Most of the increase was due to prices for final demand goods less foods and energy, which climbed 0.3%. Energy and food prices did increase however, rising 0.2% and 0.3% respectively.

The index for final demand services moved up 0.1% in April, after falling 0.2% in March. Final demand services less trade, transportation, and warehousing rose 0.3%. In contrast, final demand transportation and warehousing services and final demand trade services fell 0.4% and 0.1% respectively.

Read the BLS release.
Visit Banks and the Economy,

Retail Sales Rose 1.3% in April

There were $453.4 billion of retail and food service sales in April (after adjustment for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes), up 1.3% from the previous month and 3.0% from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Core retail sales – excluding automobiles and parts – increased 0.8% after rising 0.4% in the previous month. Year-over-year core sales increased 3.0%.

Retail trade sales rose 1.4% on the month after falling 0.3% in March, but rose 2.7% from a year ago.

Sales at gasoline stations increased 2.2% in April, but were 9.4% lower than a year ago. Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers rose 3.2% on the month and were 3.1% higher than in April 2015.

Read the Census release.
Visit Banks and the Economy,

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Small Business Optimism Improved in April

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increased 1.0 point in April, rising to 93.6. Five of the ten components posted gains on the month, while only one posted a decline.

Labor market conditions improved in April, as 53% of small business reported hiring or trying to hire, up from 48% in March. Forty-six percent of employers reported few or no qualified applicants for available positions, up 5 points from the previous month. A seasonally adjusted net 11% of employers plan to create new jobs, up 2 points from March.

The percent of owners reporting higher sales in the past three months rose 2 points to a net negative 6%. Eleven percent of small business owners cited weak sales as their top business problem, down 2 points from the previous month.

Capital spending picked up slightly, with 60% of businesses reporting capital outlays, up 1 point on the month. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next 3 to 6 months remained unchanged at 25%.

Credit conditions improved slightly, as 4% of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not met, down 1 point from March. Fifty-two percent of respondents explicitly said they did not want a loan, down 1 point on the month. Two percent of owners cited financing as their top business problem, unchanged on the month.

Read the NFIB release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Consumer Credit Grew 10.0% (SAAR) in March

Consumer Credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 10.0% in March, the highest rate since November 2001. Total outstanding credit rose $29.7 billion during the month (compared to $14.1 billion in February) to $3.59 trillion.

Revolving credit rose at an annual rate of 14.2% ($11.1 billion) to $951.6 billion, compared to a 3.7% rate in February. March’s revolving credit growth rate was the highest in 15 years.

Non revolving credit rose at an annual rate of 8.5% or $18.6 billion, compared to February’s increase of 5.2%. Total outstanding non-revolving credit now stands at $2.64 trillion.

Federal government holdings of student loans continue to be the largest portion of non-revolving credit, comprising approximately 37% of outstanding credit. Depository institutions and finance companies are the secondary and tertiary holders, with 25% and 23%, respectively, of outstanding non-revolving credit.

Read the Federal Reserve’s release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

160,000 Jobs Added in April, Unemployment Holds at 5.0%

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 160,000 in April, down from last month’s downwardly revised total of 208,000. The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0%.

The services sector added 174,000 jobs, down from 184,000 in March. The majority of new service jobs were in professional and business services and healthcare, which added 65,000 and 44,000 jobs respectively. Over the past year, healthcare employment has increased by 502,000.

Goods producing industries shed 3,000 jobs in April – the second decrease in the last three months. Soft gains in construction and manufacturing were offset by a decline in the mining sector which shed 7,000 jobs during the month. Since peaking in September 2014 mining employment has fallen by 191,000. The construction industry added only 1,000 jobs in April, after adding 72,000 over the previous three months.

The civilian labor force participation rate fell slightly to 62.8% in April. The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, fell by 150,000 to 2.1 million. The number of discouraged workers, those who gave up looking for work, was 568,000, down 188,000 from a year ago.

Average hourly earnings grew by 8 cents to $25.53, following a 6 cent increase in March. Year-over-year earnings have grown by 2.5%.

Read the BLS release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Job Cuts Rose 35% in April

Employers announced plans to cut 65,141 jobs in April, according to a report issued by Challenger Gray & Christmas. April’s announced cuts were 35% above March’s total, and 5.8% higher than the year-ago-rate. Cuts through the first four months of 2016 amounted to 250,061, 24% higher than in the first four months of 2015.

“We continue to see large scale layoffs in the energy sector, where low oil prices are driving down profits,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “However, we are also seeing heavy downsizing in other areas, such as computers and retail, where changing consumer trends are creating a lot of volatility.”

Year-to-date, the energy sector has announced 72,660 job cuts (19,759 of which were in April), a 26% increase from a year ago. Computer firms announced 16,923 cuts during the month, 12,000 of which were from Intel, which plans to shift away from desktop and laptop computing and toward the mobile market. Year-to-date, job cuts among computer firms are up 262% from 12 months ago.

“We are at a stage in the recovery, where it is not unusual to see hiring and firing occur simultaneously across the economy and often within a single company,” said Challenger. “In December 1998, near the height of the boom, we recorded more than 103,000 planned workforce reductions. The fact is, companies are constantly retooling, and sometimes the best time to do that is when the economy is strong.”

Read the Challenger Gray & Christmas release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

ISM: Non-Manufacturing Sector Continues to Expand

The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index registered 55.7 points in April, up 1.2 points from March’s rate and marking the 75th consecutive month of growth in the sector. Thirteen non-manufacturing industries reported growth in April, while four reported contraction.

Growth in the Business Activity Index fell to 58.8 points, down 1 point from March’s reading, but still indicating solid growth in activity. Respondents noted that capital spending had begun to “loosen up.” Fifteen industries including information, and finance and insurance reported growth, while mining, arts entertainment and recreation, and other services reported contraction.

Non-manufacturing employment grew for the second consecutive month, as the index rose 2.7 points to 53.0. Ten industries, including management of companies and support services, arts entertainment and recreation, and health care and social assistance reported employment growth, while five industries including mining and retail trade reported decreased employment.

The New Orders Index registered 59.9 points, up 3.2 from March. Respondents cited an improved business climate and more client hiring during the month.

Supplier deliveries slowed for the fourth consecutive month as the index remained at 51.0 points (readings above 50 for this index indicate slowed deliveries). Seven industries reported slower deliveries while six reported faster deliveries.

Read the ISM release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Manufactured Goods Orders Rose 1.1% in March

New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.1% to $458.4 billion in March, following a 1.9% February decrease according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This was the second increase in in the last three months.

New orders for manufactured durable goods increased 0.8% to $230.6 billion, following a 3.1% decrease in February. Orders for transportation led the increase, rising 2.8% to $75.8 billion.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods fell 0.5% to $236.9 billion, largely unchanged from February’s decrease. Transportation equipment drove the decrease, falling 1.9% to $77.4 billion. Excluding transportation, shipments increased 1.0% compared to a 0.7% decline in the previous month.

Shipments of nondurable goods rose following eight consecutive monthly drops, rising 1.5% to $227.8 billion. Growth in shipments of petroleum and coal products drove the increases.

Read the Census release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Foreign Trade Deficit Narrowed in March

The U.S. international trade deficit narrowed in March to $40.4 billion, down $6.5 billion from February. The narrowing of the balance was driven by an $8.1 billion decrease in imports, which was partially offset by a $1.5 billion decrease in exports.

The goods deficit fell $6.0 billion to $58.5 billion, while the services surplus increased $0.5 billion to $18.1 billion. The petroleum deficit narrowed by $0.7 billion to $8.1 billion.

Exports of goods fell $1.8 billion to $116.8 billion, driven largely by a $1.6 billion decrease in exports of consumer goods, and a $0.8 billion decline in industrial supplies and materials. Exports of services increased $0.3 billion to $59.8 billion, largely on account of travel services.

Imports of goods fell $7.9 billion to $175.3 billion, primarily due to a $5.1 billion decline in consumer goods. Imports of services fell $0.2 billion to $41.7 billion due to a decline in transport services.

Read the Census/BEA release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

ADP: 156,000 Jobs Added in April

The non-farm private sector added 156,000 jobs in April, according to the ADP National Employment Report, a decline from March’s downwardly revised growth of 194,000. Growth in the services sector slowed from March’s total, while the goods-producing sector shed jobs during the month.

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees added 93,000 jobs, roughly the same as in March. Medium-sized businesses with 50-499 employees added 39,000 jobs, down from 66,000 in March. Large businesses added 24,000 jobs, down from 35,000 in the previous month.

“The Job market appears to have stumbled in April,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “Job growth noticeably slowed, with some weakness across most sectors. One month does not make a trend, but this bears close watching as the financial market turmoil earlier in the year may have done some damage to business hiring.”

Goods-producing employment fell by 11,000, after gaining 5,000 jobs last month. The manufacturing sector led the losses, losing 13,000 jobs.

Service-providing employment rose by 166,000, down from 189,000 in March, as the professional and business services and financial activities sector saw slightly lower gains during April. The trade transportation and utilities sector added 25,000 jobs, 17,000 fewer than in March.

Read the ADP release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Monday, May 2, 2016

C&I Lending Standards Tighten, Mortgage Standards Ease

Over the past three months, banks reported tightening lending standards for C&I and CRE loans on net according to the April 2016 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices. The survey results indicate that demand for C&I loans weakened during the first quarter of 2016, while CRE loan demand strengthened. Banks also reported easing lending standards for most residential mortgage loans, as mortgage demand strengthened.

Although the majority of banks did not change their lending standards, a net 11.6% of banks reported tightening standards for C&I lending to large and middle market firms, while a net 5.8% of respondents reported tightening standards for small business lending. Most respondents who tightened standards reported a less favorable or more uncertain economic outlook, as well as worsening of industry-specific problems affecting borrowers.

The April survey included a special question on lending to firms in the energy sector. Most domestic banks indicated that such lending accounts for less than 5% of outstanding C&I loans, while foreign banks indicated that those loans amounted to greater than 5% of outstanding C&I loans. Respondents also noted some spillover from the weakening energy sector onto households and businesses in energy-sector-dependent regions. A significant net fraction of banks noted that credit quality deteriorated for auto and non-energy-sector C&I loans in those regions. In addition, moderate net fractions noted deterioration in CRE, credit card loans, and loans other than credit card and auto loans over the past year.

Read the survey release.
Visit Banks and the Economy

Manufacturing Expands for Second Consecutive Month

The ISM Manufacturing Index fell to 50.8 points in April – down 1.0 point from March’s reading of 51.8. However, the manufacturing industry is still growing, as readings above 50 indicate expansion. Of the eighteen manufacturing industries, eleven reported growth, while four reported contraction.

The employment index registered 49.2 points, marking the fifth consecutive month of contraction. Eleven industries including wood products, textile mills and printing and related support activities, reported expansion. Five industries including apparel, leather and allied products and petroleum and coal products, reported contraction.

The index of new orders registered 55.8 points in April, down 2.5 points. Fifteen industries reported growth in new orders, while only textile mills reported contraction.

Export orders rose 0.5 points to 55.2, the highest reading since December 2014. Eight industries, including wood products and chemical products reported increased exports, while four industries reported a decline in export orders.

The inventories index fell 1.5 points to 45.5. Inventories contracted in April for the tenth consecutive month.

Read the ISM release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.

Construction Spending Rose in March

Construction spending rose 0.3% in March to $1,137.5 billion (SAAR). February’s spending estimate was revised down to $1,133.6 billion. During the first three months of the year, construction spending amounted to $240.4 billion, 9.1% higher than in the first three months of 2015.

Total private construction rose to a rate of $842.3 billion, 1.1% above February’s estimate of $832.8 billion.

Private residential construction fell 1.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $295.2 billion.

Private nonresidential construction rose 0.7% to a rate of $406.8 billion, rising broadly across most nonresidential categories.

Public construction fell 1.9% to a rate of $295.2 billion, in large part due to a 14% decline in transportation construction.

Read the Census release.
Visit Banks and the Economy.