The numbers are looking good for January: both US home construction and industrial production rose.
Here are the stats:
- The Commerce Department reported that housing starts climbed 2.8% to a seasonally adjusted 591,000 annual rate.
- Housing starts and apartment construction were both up in January.
- Apartment construction rose 9.2% to 107,000
- Housing starts climbed 1% in the South, 10% in the Northeast, and 8.9% in the West. The Midwest saw a drop of 3.2%.
The Federal Reserve reported the industrial production rose .9% in January, led by car and car parts.
Overall, the US economy expanded for the second straight quarter in the final months of 2009.
Both exports and imports rose. Unfortunately there is some inflation in the pipeline. Here are those numbers:
- Prices of imported goods rose 1.4% in January, higher than expected.
- Fuel import prices rose 5.3%
- Food prices increased 1.3%, the highest jump in five months.
Of course, the Fed will tell you that inflation is under control when they release the consumer price index which excludes food and energy. The CPI is a real joke and should be abolished or revised to include food and energy. This is where we spend most of our money. The government excludes food and energy because it would need to pay out larger Social Security payments if food and energy were included in the CPI. Social Security payments are tied to the cost of living (COLA).
Nevertheless, the numbers indicate a slow, steady improvement in the economy.
Did you see higher fuel and food prices this winter?