Economic News in Review Greenville SC - Mar 17, 2015

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Economic News in Review Greenville SC

Here is last week’s Economic News in Review Greenville SC.

Last week’s economic headlines showed that retail sales were up while first-time jobless claims had dropped as the winter’s frigid grasp on the economy seemed to be loosening.

Retails Sales

Retail sales for February increased 0.3 percent to $427.2 billion, and were 1.5 percent higher than last year’s sales from February 2013, the Census Bureau reported last week. February’s performance outpaced analysts’ expectations of 0.2 percent growth for the month.

“The economy seems to be rebounding from a winter-related slump,” Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ chief financial economist Chris Rupkey told the Reuters news service. “We expect the Fed will stay the course with its exit strategy.”

“We see this as further confirmation that the underlying momentum in the economy remains quite favorable,” added Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York.

Key categories that showed solid growth over January were health and personal care stores, which were up 1.2 percent; sport goods, hobbies, book and music stories, which were up 2.5 percent; and non-store retailers, which were up 1.2 percent.


First-time claims for unemployment insurance filed by the newly unemployed during the week ending March 8 hit dropped to 315,000, a decline of 9,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 324,000, the Employment and Training Administration reported last week. This was the lowest level since November, which saw a six-month low. The four-week moving average — considered a more stable gauge of near-term employment activity — dropped to 330,500, a dip of 6,250 claims from the previous week’s revised average of 336,750.

Initial jobless claims have been volatile during the extreme winter conditions felt by most of the country, as well as due to other factors, according to Barclay’s Cooper Howes in an interview with Business Insider.

“Claims data have been volatile dating back to last fall, as factors such as computer system upgrades, seasonal adjustments related to moving holidays, and severe weather all potentially complicated the interpretation of the previously steady downward trend,” Howes explained. “That being said, the four week moving average has settled in around where it was last summer before these factors came into play, suggesting that it may be stabilizing.”


Meanwhile, sales for wholesalers dipped in January while inventories increased. Sales for merchant wholesalers dropped 1.9 percent from December to $432.6 billion, but were up 3.9 percent from January 2013, the Census Bureau reported last week.

Total inventories for merchant wholesalers grew by 0.6 percent in January to hit $521.2 billion. Key categories that saw gains were drugs and druggist sundries (up 2.7 percent), motor vehicles and parts (up 2.2 percent), and paper and paper products (up 2.8 percent).

January’s activity put the inventory-to-sales ratio at 1.20, which was virtually unchanged from January 2013’s ratio of 1.21.


Economic News in Review Greenville SC


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Movement Mortgage, LLC is an Equal Housing Lender. NMLS # 39179 | 877-314- 1499. Movement Mortgage, LLC is licensed by the "South Carolina Board of Financial Institutions" Lic # MLS-39179. Interest rates and products are subject to change without notice and may or may not be available at the time of loan commitment or lock-in.  Borrowers must qualify  at  closing  for  all  benefits. “Movement Mortgage” is a registered trademark of the Movement Mortgage, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company.

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Randy Shamburger

Senior Mortgage Lender 

NMLS# 322952        

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