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:
In November, retail sales took their foot off the gas. According to the Commerce Department, retail sales rose 0.1% last month to $465.5 billion. That missed economists’ estimates for a 0.3% increase. However, November retail sales jumped 3.8% year-over-year, which shows that the U.S. consumer is more confident this holiday shopping season than last year.
Producer Price Index (PPI)
On Wednesday, the Labor Department posted a better-than-expected increase in the Producer Price Index (PPI) last month. The index soared 0.4% in November, topping estimates for a 0.1% rise. That marks the largest gain for the index in the past five months. Increasing costs for services accounted for more than 80% of the November increase.
Due to an unseasonably warm November, industrial production dipped 0.4% month-over-month. That was a bigger drop than economists’ forecast for a 0.2% decline. The big drag on industrial production last month was the 4.4% drop in utilities. The mining sector, however, posted a 1.1% gain in output, which bodes well for the U.S. economy.
The Commerce Department reported that business inventories slipped 0.2% in October after being flat in September. Economists were only looking for a 0.1% decline. Retail inventories, which exclude autos, also dropped 0.2% in October. Given the October sales pace, it would take 1.37 months to empty shelves.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Yesterday, the Labor Department announced that the Consumer Price Index increased 0.2% in November, which was in line with economists’ estimates. In the past 12 months, CPI has climbed 1.7%. Excluding food and energy, core CPI also rose 0.2% last month. Overall, inflation remains modest and below the Fed’s 2% inflation target.
Housing Starts & Building Permits – Friday
During November, housing starts plunged 18.7% to 1.09 million units, missing economists’ estimates for a 1.23 million-unit pace. October housing starts were revised higher to a 1.34 million-unit rate, which represents a 27.4% increase. Building permits slipped 4.7% last month to a 1.2 million rate. Despite the decline in housing starts and building permits in November, the housing market still remains strong as homebuilding during the fourth quarter is still above the previous quarter.
That’s all I have for you this week; I’ll be back online on Monday with your weekly ratings changes.
Have a great weekend,