Snapshot – April 2024

April 15th, 2024

Interest rates: The benchmark federal interest rate, the Federal Funds Rate, held steady at 5.33 percent from January to February and increased 0.76 percent over the last year.

Inflation: The inflation rate rose just a bit over the month from January to February, but it fell by more than 2.5 percent over the last 12 months. 

Petroleum: The U.S. benchmark crude, West Texas Intermediate, traded at an average spot price of $77.25 per barrel in February, which was 4% higher than the month before and about even compared with 12 months before. 

Construction: The construction industry was essentially flat from January to February, but February 2024 was much better than February 2023, showing an improvement of more than 10 percent. 

Durable Goods: The dollar value of shipments and new orders are higher than in the previous month and higher than a year ago. The only concern here is that new orders—a leading indicator—is lower than shipments. 

Automotive: Since January 2000, the U.S. automobile industry has sold an average of 16 million vehicles annually. It hit a recent trough of 9 million in April 2020. Despite the workforce and supply chain challenges of the last few years, the sales rate has recovered to about 16 million annually. Employment in the automotive industry also is solid and has been growing more or less steadily for about three years.

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