Reports show mixed economic picture
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
WASHINGTON -- Rising energy prices, hotter industrial production and cooler housing activity are painting a mixed economic picture for Federal Reserve policy-makers to ponder.
The latest batch of economic reports released Tuesday underscored the crosscurrents Fed policy-makers must wade through in charting the course of interest rates.
A Labor Department report showed wholesale prices jumped by 0.9 percent in April, the most in seven months. The main culprit behind the rise: soaring energy prices. Most other prices, though, were well-behaved.
A Commerce Department reported the number of new housing projects builders launched in April dropped by 7.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.849 million units, the lowest level in 17 months.
A third report from the Federal Reserve showed production at the nation's factories, mines and utilities rose by 0.8 percent in April, the most since December.