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April 13, 2000

s The producer price index (PPI) for finished goods rose 1 percent
in March, matching its February increase. Excluding energy price
increases, which measured 5.8 percent in March, the PPI rose
0.1 percent. Accordingly, because of the surge in energy prices,
the PPI accelerated at a 4.8-percent annual rate during the first
quarter, following a 3.5-percent rate of gain during the fourth
quarter of 1999. Excluding energy prices, however, growth of
the PPI slowed from a 2.2-percent rate in the fourth quarter to
a 0.7-percent rate during the first quarter.
s According to the advance report, the nominal value of retail sales
increased 0.4 percent in March. Outside of the automotive sector,
sales rose 1.4 percent in March. Total retail sales rose 3.7 percent
during the first quarter, while nonautomotive sales powered ahead
3.1 percent, the largest gain since the fourth quarter of 1980.
s The index of U.S. import prices increased 0.3 percent in March, the
smallest gain in five months. Prices of imported petroleum products
rose 0.2 percent in March—their slowest rate in 13 months.
s After rising just 7,000 in February, nonagricultural payroll
employment jumped 416,000 in March. Nonfarm payrolls rose
829,000 during the first quarter, or at a 2.6 percent annual rate.
In percentage terms, the first-quarter rise was the largest in two
years. The civilian unemployment rate was unchanged in March
at 4.1 percent.

All data are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise indicated.
U.S. Financial Data is published weekly by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of
St. Louis. For more information on data, please call (314) 444-8590. To be added to the mailing
list, please call (314) 444-8808 or (314) 444-8809.
Information in this publication is also included in the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) electronic
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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102