2/21: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

Leading Economic Index surged 0.8 percent in January

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.8 percent in January to 112.1 (2016 = 100), following a 0.3 percent decline in December and a 0.1 percent increase in November.  The strong pickup in the January US LEI was driven by a sharp drop in initial unemployment insurance claims, increasing housing permits, consumers’ outlook on the economy and financial indicators.



Producer Price Index jumps 0.5 percent in January and 2.1 percent year-on-year

The Producer Price Index for final demand advanced 0.5 percent in January, and increased 2.1 percent for the 12 months ended in January, the largest advance since May 2019.  90 percent of this monthly rise was attributed to services, which climbed 0.7 percent. The index for final demand goods inched up 0.1 percent.  Prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services advanced 0.4 percent in January, the largest increase since a 0.4-percent rise in April 2019. For the 12 months ended in January, the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services moved up 1.5 percent.



4Q 2019 e-commerce sales rose over four times faster year-on-year than total retail market

U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the fourth quarter of 2019 rose 2.6 percent from the third quarter of 2019 to $158.0 billion while total retail sales rose 0.4 percent to $1,386.2 billion.  Year-on-year, fourth quarter 2019 e-commerce sales rose 16.7 percent, while total retail sales increased 3.8 percent. Ecommerce sales in the fourth quarter of 2019 accounted for 11.4 percent of total sales, up from 11.2 percent in the third quarter and 10.1 percent during the same quarter of 2018.