Initial Claims, Consumer Price Index & Industrial Production (March 17)

Initial Claims decreased to 385,000 for the week ending 03/12, against the expected decrease to 384,000, after increasing to 401,000, the revised level for the previous week. The 4-week moving average decreased to 386,250, from the previous week’s revised average of 393,250. Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment from the prior week, ending on 03/05, was 3,706,000, a decrease of 80,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,786,000. Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate from the week ending on 03/05, was 3.0%, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised figure of 3.0%.

The Consumer Price Index increased by 0.5% in February, higher than the expected increase of 0.4%, to an index value of 221.309 (1982-84=100), after increasing by 0.4% in both December and January. The energy index was the largest contributor to the increase in the index. Over the year the CPI has increased by 2.1% before seasonal adjustment. The food index increased by 0.6%, after increasing by 0.5% in January and 0.1% in December and is up by 2.3% over the year. Energy Prices increased by 3.4% after increasing by 2.1% in January and 4.0% in December and are up 11.0% over the year. The gasoline index rose 4.7% and has increased eight months in a row. Excluding food and energy prices, the Core CPI increased by 0.2%, after increasing by 0.2% in January and 0.1% in December.

Industrial Production decreased by 0.1% to an index value of 95.5 (2007=100) in February, against the expected 0.6% increase, following a 0.3% increase in January. Over the year, the industrial production index is up by 5.6%. Capacity Utilization decreased to 76.3% for February from 76.4% in January and was 4.2 percentage points below its average for the period from 1972 through 2010. In February 2010, Capacity Utilization was measured at 72.4%.

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