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.
Housing Starts: Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,164,000. This is 0.3 percent below the revised April estimate of 1,167,000, but is 9.5 percent above the May 2015 rate of 1,063,000. Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 764,000; this is 0.3 percent above the revised April figure of 762,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 396,000 Building Permits: Privately-owned [...]
In the week ending May 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 267,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 268,000. The 4-week moving average was 276,750, a decrease of 1,750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 278,500. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims. This marks 65 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1973.
The Labor Force Participation Rate decreased in May to 62.6%. This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force. A large portion of the recent decline in the participation rate is due to demographics. The Employment-Population ratio was unchanged at 59.7% (black line).
On a monthly basis, wages increased at a 2.4% annual rate in May, and April was revised up. The graph shows the nominal year-over-year change in "Average Hourly Earnings" for all private employees. Nominal wage growth was at 2.5% YoY in May. This series is noisy, however overall wage growth is trending up. Note: CPI has been running under 2%, so there has been real wage growth.