Archive for April, 2012

Real US GDP Increased 2.2% Annual Rate in Q1

April 27, 2012

US GDP increased at a 2.2% annual rate in the first quarter of 2012. Nominal GDP increased $142.4 billion and Real GDP increased $73.4 billion. Personal consumption expenditures increased $68.1 billion, private domestic investment increased $27.3 billion, and government expenditures rose $20.4 billion. Mitigating these rises were a trade deficit increase of $37.3 billion and a continued slow of government investment which has slowed or decreased across all its forms–even defense investment has plateaued.

For more information see our GDP Report.

–from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the St. Louis Federal Reserve, and CalculatedRisk

The Invisible Borders that Define American Culture

April 27, 2012

This map uses cell phone data to determine regions of America. These borders represent areas in which people are more likely to call each other inside, rather than outside, the border. Click through for a fascinating series of maps detailing cultural differences regarding  text message boundaries, the soda/pop split, baseball teams, and more.

–From the Atlantic Cities

Since 2009, US Has Recovered More than UK, Euro Zone

April 26, 2012

Although recovery has been rocky and uneven in the US, it is still seeing greater recovery than the UK or the Euro Zone. Since 2010, when the UK and many European countries began enforcing austerity programs, the gap widened.

–From Business Insider

Home Price Indices Drop Again in February

April 24, 2012

The 10-city index fell 1.2 points to 146.9 in February 2012 and the 20-city index fell 1 point to 134.2. Only three cities saw an index increase: Phoenix rose 1.3 points to 104.1, San Diego increased .3 points to 149.1, and Miami went up .9 to 139.49. All the other tracked cities decreased. The most notable losses were Atlanta falling 2.1 points, or 2.5%, to 83.3; Chicago dropping 2.7, or 2.5% to 105.4, and Cleveland slipping 1.6 points, or 1.7%, to 94.14.

For more information, see our Home Prince Index Report

–From the St. Louis Federal Reserve

Unemployment Down to 3% in North Dakota

April 20, 2012

In the ongoing, impressive employment situation in North Dakota, this northern state’s employment rate fell another .1% to 3% in March. Comparatively, California’s employment rate increased .1% to 11%.

–from the St. Louis Federal Reserve and the Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Big is a Billion? A Trillion? What Does Bank Derivative Exposure Look Like in Printed Currency?

April 19, 2012

The image above places an average-sized person next to $1,000,000,000 stacked on a pallet. Click through the link to see the size of the major US bank’s derivative exposure amounts if it were printed and stacked. The stacks of bills are significantly larger than the skyscraper-sized headquarters.


Capacity Utilization Decreased .3% in March 2012

April 17, 2012

Capacity utilization shrank .3% to 78.3%, a value well within historical norms. Utilization is up 3.1% from March 2011 and 8.9% from March 2010. Thus, even with a small, one-month decline the overall trend has been significantly positive over the last few years.

–From the St. Louis Federal Reserve

Housing Starts Fell 5.8% in March

April 17, 2012

Privately owned housing unit starts fell 40,000, or 5.8%, to 654,000. This is the second month in a row starts have fallen and this month’s loss is double last month’s. Although the short-term performance is down, starts are up 10.3% since March 2011.

–From the St. Louis Federal Reserve

Retail Sales Increased .8% in March

April 16, 2012

Retail and food service sales increased $3.2 million dollars or .8% to $411.1 billion. This continues the upward trajectory seen for the past few years. Sales are up 23% over the low point reached in April 2009 and up 6.5% from last March.

–From the St. Louis Federal Reserve

CPI Increased .665 in March 2012

April 13, 2012

The Consumer Price Index increased .665 points in March to 229.1. The index is up 2.7% over last year. This is another month of slowed growth: one-year CPI growth has slowed every month from its most recent high of 3.9% reached in September 2011.

For more information see our Consumer Price Index Report.

–from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the St. Louis Federal Reserve