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March 16, 2000

s The producer price index (PPI) for finished goods rose 1 percent,
or 13.2 percent at an annual rate. The PPI is up 4 percent from a
year earlier. Energy prices surged 5.2 percent in February, their
largest increase since October 1990.
s Starts of new single-family residences totaled 1.31 million units at
an annual rate in February, down 3.9 percent from January’s rate.
Multifamily starts, by contrast, rose 19.2 percent to 471,000 units
(annualized), the most since January 1989.
s The nominal value of retail sales rose $2.9 billion, or 1.1 percent,
in February. The combined value of retail sales in January and
February are 2.7 percent, or 11.1 percent at an annual rate, above
the level of sales reported during the fourth quarter of 1999.
s The nominal value of total business inventories increased
$66.5 billion, or 6 percent at an annual rate, in January.
The value of business sales, though, increased $80 billion,
or a 9.6-percent rate, pushing the business inventory-to-sales
ratio to its lowest level since August 1950.
s After increasing at a 12.4-percent annual rate during January,
the index of manufacturing production grew at a 3.8-percent rate in
February. Following four consecutive increases, the manufacturing
utilization rate was unchanged in February at 80.9 percent of
capacity. Measured from a year earlier, manufacturing production
is up 5.9 percent, while the capacity utilization rate has increased
1.5 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
bulletin board at (314) 621-1824 or internet World Wide Web server at

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102