It’s Friday and that means it’s time to review the latest economic data and identify which pockets of the economy are heating up and which are slowing down. Don’t worry about catching every headline and every report throughout the week—I recap all of the most important news impacting your wealth right here every Friday. Let’s take a look at this week’s big headlines:
Producer Price Index (PPI)
The Labor Department reported that its Producer Price Index (PPI) fell -0.1% in March, which missed economists’ predictions of a 0.3% increase. This comes after an unrevised 0.2% dip in February. Core PPI—which excludes food, energy and trade services—also fell 0.1% in March. However, the demand for goods increased 0.2%.
Retail sales dropped 0.3% in March, and this came in below economists’ projections for a 0.2% decline. February numbers were also revised from their unchanged levels to a 0.1% decrease. Retail sales excluding automobiles, gas, building materials and food services were up 0.2%, but this was still below expectations of a 0.5% increase. Overall, though, first quarter sales were up 2.8%.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced that business inventories declined 0.1% in February, while January levels were revised down from 0.1% to -0.1%. Retail inventories, on the other hand, rose 0.6% on weak sales, and auto inventories were up 1.3%. At current rates, it would take 1.41 months to empty shelves.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
The Labor Department reported that its Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.1% in March. Breaking it down, the food index declined 0.2% and the energy index rose 0.9%, marking energy’s first increase since November. Additionally, core CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.1%.
Initial claims for unemployment
For the week ending April 9, the initial claims for unemployment dropped 17,000 to 253,000, far exceeding economists’ predictions of 270,000. The four-week moving average also fell 1,500 to 265,000. This is now the 58th consecutive week with initial claims below 300,000, which is the longest streak since 1973.
Have a great weekend,