Economic Watch: Industrial Production, Consumer Prices and Homebuilder Confidence Rise
July 16, 2013
Industrial production in the United States has posted its largest increase in four months, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The 0.4% increase in June follows a 0.2% increase in May, but the two upturns are barely enough to offset lower numbers in March and April.
This measure of the total output from factories, mines and utilities shows the most critical part of this mix, manufacturing, increased 0.3% in June while mining output gained 0.8% and utilities dropping 0.1%.
The overall performance matched a consensus estimate by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, while the manufacturing number was better than expected.
A separate report from the U.S. Labor Department shows consumer prices in June rose by the most in four months, increasing 0.5% following a 0.1% gain in May. Much of the June hike was due to a more than 6% increase in fuel prices.
When the volatile food and energy sectors are removed, the increase was 0.2% for the second month in a row.
Over the past 12 months consumer prices have increased 1.8%, just below the Federal Reserve’s inflation target.
In June food prices ticked up 0.2%, new cars prices gained 0.3%, but are up just 1.3% over the past year. Clothing prices added 0.9% in June but are up just 0.8% over the past 12 months. Prices for used cars fell 0.4% and are down 2.3% over the past year.
Both reports come as a survey of homebuilder confidence has turned in its biggest two-month increase since 1992. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for July also reported its third consecutive monthly gain and its strongest reading since January of 2006.