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Monday, May 03, 2010

Summary: Busy Day

by Calculated Risk on 5/03/2010 11:24:00 PM

Just an overview ...

  • Light Vehicle Sales in April were at a 11.2 Million Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR). This was up 21.8% from April 2009 (when sales were at the lowest level in 30 years), and down 4.6% from the March 2010 sales rate.

  • Personal Income was up 0.3% in March, but spending increased 0.6%. The increases in spending are coming from less saving and transfer payments instead of income growth. This is a solid increase in personal consumption expenditures (PCE), but PCE growth is not sustainable without jobs and income growth.

  • The ISM Manufacturing Index showed solid growth in April. The employment index increased to 58.5 percent in April (suggesting growth in manufacturing employment).

  • Private construction spending declined in March for both residential and non-residential. Public construction spending increased. Perhaps the good news is investment in offices, malls and hotels is at or near record lows, and is probably nearing the bottom (although spending will probably decline most of this year). This suggests the job losses related to construction employment will slow.

  • The Federal Reserve released the April Senior Loan Officer survey. The survey showed that banks are keeping lending standards unchanged (no longer tightening), but the survey also showed that loan demand weakened further.

  • And some more excerpts from Fed transcripts in 2004 (just released). These transcripts show that Fed researchers were aware that the increase in house prices (by early 2004) could not be explained by fundamentals, and that a Fed President was concerned about rampant speculation and loose lending standards.