The Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Commission has released the latest report on Traffic Volume Trends, data through March. "Travel on all roads and streets changed by 0.8% (2.2 billion vehicle miles) for March 2017 as compared with March 2016." The less volatile 12-month moving average was up 0.07% month-over-month and 1.0% year-over-year. If we factor in population growth, the 12-month MA of the civilian population-adjusted data (age 16-and-over) is up just 0.005% month-over-month and up only 0.3% year-over-year.
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Today's report on Industrial Production for April shows a 1.0% change month-over-month (0.98% to two decimal points), which was above the Investing.com consensus of 0.4%. The previous month was revised downward from 0.5 percent to 0.4 percent and revisions were made going back to November. Industrial Production peaked in November 2014, only one point higher than its pre-recession peak in November 2007. The year-over-year change is 2.19 percent, up from last month's YoY increase.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for April new residential housing starts. The latest reading of 1.172M was below the Investing.com forecast of 1.260M. Revisions were made going back to January 2015.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) released this morning puts the year-over-year inflation rate at 2.20%. It is below the 3.77% average since the end of the Second World War but above its 10-year moving average, now at 1.77%.
This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey, which leveled off. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions at -1.0 was a decrease of 6.2 from the previous month's 5.2. The Investing.com forecast was for a reading of 7.0.
Let's do some analysis of the Consumer Price Index, the best known measure of inflation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) divides all expenditures into eight categories and assigns a relative size to each. The pie chart illustrates the components of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers, the CPI-U.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI) is a gauge of builder opinion on the relative level of current and future single-family home sales. It is a diffusion index, which means that a reading above 50 indicates a favorable outlook on home sales; below 50 indicates a negative outlook. The latest reading of 70, up 2 from last month, came in above the Investing.com forecast of 68.
Let's have a look at a long-term perspective on Treasury yields. The chart here shows the 10-Year Constant Maturity yield since 1962 along with the Federal Funds Rate (FFR) and inflation. The range has been astonishing. The stagflation that set in after the 1973 Oil Embargo was finally ended after Paul Volcker raised the FFR to 20.06%.
The Census Bureau's Advance Retail Sales Report for April released this morning showed a small increase over the March figures. Headline sales came in at 0.4% month-over-month to one decimal and the March number was revised upward from -0.2% to 0.1%. Today's headline number was below the Investing.com consensus of 0.6%. Core sales (ex Autos) came in at 0.3% MoM and the March Core was revised upward.