Economic Roundup: June 13, 2011



In the News

Consumer credit increased for the seventh straight month in a row in April, with consumers racking up $2.428 trillion in total credit, a $6.25 billion jump from March's total figure, the Federal Reserve reported last week.
Revolving debt, such as credit cards, for April dropped slightly to $790.1 billion from March's $791.1 billion, but non-revolving debt such as home loans and school loans increased to $1.638 trillion over March's $1.630 trillion. This increase was in line with auto sales and price data for the month, according to analysts and economists.
"The non-revolving component has increased nine months in a row and is consistent with the strong vehicle sales data we have seen over that period," wrote Theresa Chen of Barclays Capital in an email statement about the Federal Reserve's data.
Meanwhile April's wholesale sales, except those of manufacturers' branch offices, increased 0.3 percent from March to $393.5 billion, and were up a whopping 14.4 percent from the year prior, the Census Bureau reported last week. In terms of sales for specific wholesale segments, sales of durable goods were down 0.6 percent for the month; sales of lumber and construction materials were down 5 percent; sales of metals and minerals (except petroleum) were down 3.6 percent; sales of non-durable goods were up 0.9 percent; and sales of petroleum and petroleum products were up 2.3 percent.
Wholesalers' total inventories for April were $44.7 billion, a 0.8 increase over March, and a 13.8 percent jump from March 2010. This put April's inventory-to-sales ratio for wholesalers at 1.14, the exact same ratio they had in April 2010.
Moving to more up-to-the-minute statistics, first-time claims for unemployment insurance took an unexpected upturn for the week ending June 4, according to figures released by the Employment and Training Administration last week. While analysts had expected a sizable drop of roughly 5,000, claims instead jumped by 1,000 to 427,000 over the previous week's figure of 426,000, the administration reported.
That said, the administration also noted last week that the four-week moving average was 424,000, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 426,750. The total number for insured unemployed workers during the week ending May 28 was 3,676,000, a decrease of 71,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,747,000. The four-week moving average was 3,719,250, a decrease of 29,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,748,250.
This week has a busy agenda of economic headlines slated, starting off tomorrow with May's retail sales figures from the Census Bureau. The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases May's producer price index that day, as well, and follows with that month's consumer price index on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, the Census Bureau will report May's industrial production and business inventories, as well as the total capacity utilization for that month.
On Thursday the Employment and Training Administration releases initial jobless claims data for last week and the Census Bureau releases data for construction permit and housing starts for May. The week wraps on Friday with the Leading Economic Indicators index for May from the Conference Board.



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