Non-manufacturing activity rose to 55.2 in April from 53.1 in March. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 51st straight month of expansion in the services sector.
Retail sales fell 2% for the week ending May 3, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 2%.
The trade deficit decreased from $41.9 billion in February to $40.4 billion in March. Exports rose $3.9 billion to $193.9 billion. Imports increased $2.5 billion to $234.3 billion.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending May 2 rose 5.3% from the previous week. Purchase volume rose 9%. Refinancing applications increased 2%.
The Labor Department reported that in the first quarter of 2014, productivity decreased at an annual rate of 1.7% and labor costs increased at an annual rate of 4.2%.
According to the Federal Reserve, monthly consumer credit debt rose $17.5 billion in March for a total credit debt level of $3,141.3 billion. Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, increased $1.1 billion to $856.7 billion. Non-revolving debt, which includes loans for cars, rose $16.4 billion to $2,284.6 billion.
Wholesalers increased their inventories 1.1% to $525.2 billion in March. Sales at the wholesale level rose 1.4% to $443.4 billion in March. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 6.5% higher than March 2013. The seasonally adjusted wholesale inventories/sales ratio in March 2014 was 1.18.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending May 3 fell by 26,000 to 319,000. Continuing claims for the week ending April 26 fell by 76,000 to 2.68 million. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 324,750.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on retail sales on May 13 and housing starts on May 16.