In the week ending August 20, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 261,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 262,000. The 4-week moving average was 264,000, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 265,250. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims. This marks 77 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1970.
As goes the consumer so goes the U.S. economy. And the news has been mostly good and includes a nearly 4-1/2 point jump in the consumer confidence index to a 101.1 level for August. Both the expectations and present situation components posted gains in the month though the latter does show a sizable and unwanted 1.3 percentage point increase in those describing jobs as hard to get. But signals on jobs are mixed with other readings positive [...]
The factory sector, after a frustrating first half of the year, is now definitely showing life. Durable goods orders jumped 4.4 percent in July in a headline gain exaggerated by a swing higher for commercial aircraft but including gains across most readings. Excluding the gain for aircraft and no change for autos, orders rose a very sizable 1.5 percent. And the strength includes core capital goods where orders jumped 1.6 percent to show new demand for business [...]
In the week ending July 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 253,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 254,000. The 4-week moving average was 257,750, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 259,000. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims. This marks 72 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1973
Consumer confidence is solid, at 97.3 in July and holding onto nearly all of June's 5 point jump. Jobs-hard-to-get, a subcomponent of the present situation index, is offering a positive indication for the July employment report, falling to 22.3 percent from 23.7 percent in June which was already a very strong month for the labor market. And readings on future employment, which is a subcomponent of the expectations index, also show improvement with slightly more seeing more [...]
The housing sector is showing traction as existing home sales extended May's gain, rising 1.1 percent to a 5.570 million annualized rate for June which is the best of the cycle, since February 2007. Single-family sales rose a very solid 0.8 percent in the month for a plus 3.1 percent year-on-year rate with condos up 3.2 percent for a plus 1.6 percent on-year rate. The total year-on-year rate is modest but constructive at plus 3.0 percent. The [...]
Home sales are up while home prices are down. Case-Shiller's 20-city adjusted index fell 0.1 percent in May, well under expectations for a 0.4 percent gain. FHFA house price data released last week were also much weaker than expected. Making matters worse is a steep downward revision to April, now at minus 0.2 percent vs an initial plus 0.5 percent. But the trouble is at least limited to April and May as March is revised 1 tenth [...]
Housing is emerging as a positive surprise for the 2016 economy. New home sales burst to their best strength of the cycle during the Spring, coming in at a much higher-than-expected 592,000 annualized rate in June following a 572,000 rate in both May and April (both revised). To see the strength by comparison, the rate in June last year was 25 percent lower at 472,000. This is 3.5 percent above the revised May rate of 572,000 and [...]
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.
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.