Economic Update, May 7, 2012
Provided courtesy of Marie Richarz, Prospect Mortgage
The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose $32.3 billion or 0.3% in March, just one-third of February’s increase. Personal income in March increased $50.3 billion or 0.4%, after a 0.3% rise in February.
The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly composite index of manufacturing activity rose to 54.8 in April from 53.4 in March. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 33rd straight month of expansion.
Total construction spending rose 0.1% to $808.1 billion in March from a revised $807.3 billion in February. Economists had anticipated an increase of 0.5% in March. Compared to a year ago, construction spending is up 6%.
Factory orders fell 1.5% in March, the biggest drop in three years, to a seasonally adjusted $460.5 billion, following a revised 1.1% increase in February. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders increased slightly in March.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending April 27 rose 0.1%. Refinancing applications decreased 0.7%. Purchase volume rose 2.9%.
The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly composite index of non-manufacturing activity fell to 53.5 in April from 56 in March. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 28th straight month of expansion in the services sector.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending April 28 fell by 27,000 to 365,000 from a revised 392,000 the prior week. Continuing claims for the week ending April 21 fell by 53,000 to 3.276 million. The unemployment rate fell to a three-year low of 8.1% in April from 8.2% in March.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on international trade on May 10 and the producer price index on May 11.