5/1: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P.DUFFY

March pending home sales index up 0.4 percent from February, but down 3.0 percent year-on-year

The Pending Home Sales Index inched up 0.4 percent to 107.6 in March from a downwardly revised 107.2 in February. Even with last month’s increase in activity, the index declined on an annualized basis (3.0 percent) for the third straight month.

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First quarter 2018 GDP growth of 2.3 percent in first of three estimates

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2018 according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 2.9 percent.  The “second” estimate for the first quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on May 30, 2018.

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March inflation tracker PCE Price Index flat from February, up 2.0 percent year-on-year

The March PCE Price Index was up 0.0 percent from February and 2.0 percent year-on-year.  Stripping out food and energy, it was up 0.2 percent from February and 1.9 percent year-on-year.

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March personal income up 0.3 percent, spending up 0.4 percent and personal savings rate dipped to 3.1 percent

Both personal income and disposable income increased 0.3 percent in March, while consumption expenditures (PCE) increased 0.4 percent.  The personal savings rate slipped from 3.3 to 3.1 percent.

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First quarter 2018 compensation costs up 0.8 percent and 2.7 percent year-on-year

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.8 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending in March 2018. Wages and salaries increased 0.9 percent, and benefits increased 0.7 percent.  Year-on-year, compensation costs rose by 2.7 percent, with wages up 2.7 percent and benefits rising 2.6 percent.

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April consumer sentiment bounces back but concerns remain about trade tariffs

Consumer sentiment improved slightly in the 2nd half of the month, shrinking the small overall decline for April. The final April figure was nearly identical to its 2018 average (98.9)-which was higher than any other yearly average since 107.6 was recorded in 2000 (which was, in turn, the highest yearly average in more than a half century).

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