Layoffs are on the decline, indicated earlier this morning by trends in the Challenger report and confirmed by yet another set of very low readings for jobless claims. Initial claims fell a very steep 16,000 in the July 2 week to 254,000. The 4-week average at 264,750 is trending about 5,000 lower than a month ago which is a constructive signal for growth in the labor market.
May was indeed an odd outlier in what is otherwise a still favorable trend for the labor market. June nonfarm payrolls surged a much stronger-than-expected 287,000 vs a downward revised and recovery low increase of only 11,000 in May. June's strength is led by a 38,000 gain for professional & business services, a closely watched area that is especially sensitive to changes in labor demand. Telecommunications, which fell 32,000 in May during the Verizon strike, rose 28,000 [...]
Job openings fell sharply in May, to 5.500 million from April's revised 5.845 million for the lowest rate since February. The results pull down the job openings rate by 2 tenths to plus 3.7 percent, where it also was in May last year. The hiring rate is unchanged at 3.5 percent. On the breakup side of the labor market, the quits rate is unchanged at 2.0 percent and is not pointing to much confidence among workers who [...]
Sales of new single-family houses in May 2016 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 551,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 6.0 percent below the revised April rate of 586,000, but is 8.7 percent above the May 2015 estimate of 507,000.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, grew 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.53 million in May from a downwardly revised 5.43 million in April. With last month's gain, sales are now up 4.5 percent from May 2015 (5.29 million) and are at their highest annual pace since February 2007 (5.79 million). ... Total housing inventory at the end of May rose 1.4 percent to [...]
The consumer sentiment report has been strong but less so for the consumer confidence report, at least until today's data for June where the index jumped nearly 6 points to a much higher-than-expected 98.0. This is the best reading of the year, since October last year. Both main components show strength with expectations up 6.0 points to 84.5 and the present situation up 5.1 points to 118.3. Strength in the former, led by income expectations, points to [...]
The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.0% annual gain in April, down from 5.1% the previous month. The 10-City Composite posted a 4.7% annual increase, down from 4.8% in March. The 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year gain of 5.4%, down from 5.5% from the prior month. Before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 1.0% in April. The 10-City Composite recorded a 1.0% month-over-month increase, [...]
Strength in net exports and less weakness in nonresidential fixed investment gave a boost to first-quarter GDP which rose 1.1 percent in the 3rd estimate vs plus 0.8 percent for the second estimate. Net exports added more than 1 tenth to GDP as exports rose slightly in the quarter and imports fell. An upward revision to software helped shave the negative contribution from nonresidential investment by 2 tenths to 6 tenths. On the downward side, the positive [...]
Consumer spending proved to be the biggest surprise of April and is at least a pleasant surprise in May. Retail sales rose a very solid and better-than-expected 0.5 percent with strength evident, though to a less degree than in April, through the balance of the report. Auto sales did give a boost to total sales but sales ex-auto, up 0.4 percent, were nearly as solid. Gasoline, reflecting higher prices, once again gave an outsized boost to sales [...]
In the week ending June 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 277,000, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 264,000. The 4-week moving average was 269,250, a decrease of 250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 269,500. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims. This marks 67 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1973.