Retail and food service sales had a down month in December, according to figures released last week by the Census Bureau. December’s receipts fell 0.1 percent to $448.1 billion. Compared annually, this was 2.2 percent higher than December 2014. All in all, this was the smallest yearly gain in retail sales since 2009. Key areas of growth were furniture and home furnishings, which were up 0.9 percent; sporting goods, hobby and book stores; which gained 0.9 percent; bars and restaurants grew 0.8 percent; and building material and garden centers, which were up 0.7 percent.
The Producer Price Index for final demand goods for December declined 0.2 percent, according to last week’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Final demand prices are the most closely watched of the various PPI indexes, as they are closest to consumer prices.
Initial Jobless Claims First-time claims for unemployment benefits filed by the newly unemployed during the week ending January 9th, rose to 284,000, an increase of 7,000 claims from the prior week’s total of 277,000, the Employment and Training Administration reported last week.
This economic information comes from Summit Mortgage Newsletter dated January 20th, 2016.