The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2% in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all items index was unchanged.
The core CPI, which excludes food and energy, was up 0.2% in March and is up 1.8% year over year.
The All Food index was down 0.2% in March and is up 2.3% from a year ago. The All Energy index increased 1.1% and is down 18.0% from a year ago.
The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.2% in March, seasonally adjusted. The index for final demand decreased 0.8% for the 12 months ended in March.
The core PPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.2% and is up 0.9% from a year ago.
U.S. privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.926 million. This is 2.0% above the revised Febrary estimate of 0.908 million, and is 2.5% below the March 2014 rate of 0.950 million.
Single-family starts in March increased to an annual rate of 0.618 million from 0.592 million and multi-unit starts decreased to 0.308 million from 0.316 million.
U.S. initial jobless claims for the week ending April 11 were a seasonally adjusted 294k, up from the prior week’s revised reading of 282k. Not seasonally adjusted, jobless claims for the week were 308k.
Individual states that had changes in claims of more than 1k (not seasonally adjusted):
The 4-week moving average of initial jobless claims was 283k.
The number of unemployment insurance recipients, or continuing claims, for regular state programs was 2.268 million, down from the previous week’s revised reading of 2.308 million.
The insured unemployment rate, which is the number of unemployment insurance recipients as a share of covered employment, was 1.69%, down from 1.73% the week prior.
90.39% of all U.S. jobs are covered by state unemployment insurance programs.
Of the 8.575 million Americans currently unemployed, 26.45% receive unemployment insurance.
Jobless claims and the unemployment rate:
U.S. industrial production decreased 0.6% in March after having increased 0.1% in February. At 105.2% of its 2007 average, total industrial production in March was 2.0% above its level of a year earlier.
The output of manufacturing increased 0.1% in March, production at mines decreased 0.7%, and output of utilities decreased 5.9%.
Capacity utilization for total industry decreased in March to 78.4%, less than the long-run (1972–2014) average of 80.1%.
The combined value of U.S. distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for February, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes,was estimated at $1.313 trillion. That is unchanged from January and down 1.2% from a year ago.
Manufacturers’ and trade inventories were estimated at an end-of-month level of $1.790 trillion, up 0.3% from January and up 3.3% from a year ago.
The total business inventories-to-sales ratio at the end of February was 1.363, up from 1.360 in January. The February 2014 ratio was 1.304.
U.S. retail and food services sales for March, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $441.4 billion.
This is up 0.9% from February’s sales and up 1.3% from the same month a year ago.
All categories of retail sales except for gas stations and electronics & appliances have seen increases year over year.
The number of Americans receiving assistance from the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps, decreased by 223k persons in January.
A total of 46.029 million people participated in the program.
The number of SNAP participants as a ratio of the total employed persons was 31.05%, down from 31.37%.
The average monthly benefit received per person in January was $126.69, down from $127.78.
The total cost of the SNAP program in January was $5.908 billion, up from $5.831 billion. The annual cost of the SNAP program (rolling 12 months) was $69.805 billion, up from $69.740 billion.