Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Misc: State Revenues increases, Gas Prices fall, GDP and Weekly Claims tomorrow

by Bill McBride on 5/25/2011 10:19:00 PM

• From the Rockefeller Institute of Government: States Report Strong Growth in Tax Revenues in the First Quarter of 2011

The Rockefeller Institute's compilation of data from 47 early reporting states shows collections from major tax sources increased by 9.1 percent in nominal terms in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter of 2010. That represented the third consecutive quarter of increasing strength in revenues. Tax collections now have been rising for five straight quarters, following five quarters of declines, but were still 3.1 percent lower in early 2011 than in the same period three years ago
In terms of dollars, California reported the largest increase in overall tax collections in the first quarter of 2011, where revenue collections rose by $1.4 billion or 5.6 percent. Illinois and New York also reported large increases in overall tax collections in terms of dollars.
The press release has a state by state breakdown. Revenue is still 3.1% lower than at the beginning of the recession.

• According to, gasoline prices are down about 15 cents per gallon nationally from the peak. Oil prices moved up today to almost $102 per barrel (WTI futures), but we should still further gasoline price declines after the Memorial Day weekend.

• At 8:30 AM tomorrow, the Department of Labor will release the initial weekly unemployment claims report. This is being watched closely now because of the sharp increase in initial claims at the end of April. The consensus is for a decrease to 404,000 from 409,000 last week.

Also at 8:30 AM, the BEA will release the second estimate of Q1 GDP. The consensus is for an upward revision to 2.1% annualized real GDP growth (from 1.8%). Goldman Sachs put out a note this afternoon:
[W]e now expect an upward revision to 2.1% (one tenth higher than before). [However the] soft April results ... imply about two tenths of additional downside risk to our Q2 GDP growth forecast, on top of our downward revision to 3.0% yesterday.
Best to all