Research >> Economics

Category: Research - Topic: Economics



Existing-Home Sales Up 1.1% in May
Posted: July 24, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Monday)

Existing-home sales slipped in June as low supply kept homes selling at a near record pace but ultimately ended up muting overall activity, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Only the Midwest saw an increase in sales last month.

Total existing-home sales which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, decreased 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million in June from 5.62 million in May. Despite last month's decline, June's sales pace is 0.7 percent above a year ago, but is the second lowest of 2017 (February, 5.47 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the previous three-month lull in contract activity translated to a pullback in existing sales in June. "Closings were down in most of the country last month because interested buyers are being tripped up by supply that remains stuck at a meager level and price growth that's straining their budget," he said. "The demand for buying a home is as strong as it has been since before the Great Recession. Listings in the affordable price range continue to be scooped up rapidly, but the severe housing shortages inflicting many markets are keeping a large segment of would-be buyers on the sidelines."

Added Yun, "The good news is that sales are still running slightly above last year's pace despite these persistent market challenges."

The median existing-home price for all housing types in June was $263,800, up 6.5 percent from June 2016 ($247,600). Last month's median sales price surpasses May as the new peak and is the 64rd straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of June declined 0.5 percent to 1.96 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 7.1 percent lower than a year ago (2.11 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 25 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.6 months a year ago.

First-time buyers were 32 percent of sales in June, which is down from 33 percent both in May and a year ago. NAR's 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2016 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

"It's shaping up to be another year of below average sales to first-time buyers despite a healthy economy that continues to create jobs," said Yun. "Worsening supply and affordability conditions in many markets have unfortunately put a temporary hold on many aspiring buyers' dreams of owning a home this year."

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage declined for the third consecutive month, dipping to 3.90 percent in June from 4.01 percent in May. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 28 days in June, which is up from 27 days in May but down from 34 days a year ago. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 102 days in June, while foreclosures sold in 57 days and non-distressed homes took 27 days. Fifty-four percent of homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory data from realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in June were Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., 23 days; Salt Lake City, Utah, 26 days; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 27 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 29 days; and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., at 30 days.

"Prospective buyers who postponed their home search this spring because of limited inventory may have better luck as the summer winds down," said President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California. "The pool of buyers this time of year typically begins to shrink as households with children have likely closed on a home before school starts. Inventory remains extremely tight, but patience may pay off in coming months for those looking to buy."

All-cash sales were 18 percent of transactions in June, down from 22 percent both in May and a year ago, and the lowest since June 2009 (13 percent). Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13 percent of homes in June, down from 16 percent in May and unchanged from a year ago. Fifty-six percent of investors paid in cash in June.

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – were 4 percent of sales in June, down from both May (5 percent) and a year ago (6 percent) and matching last September as the lowest share since NAR began tracking in October 2008. Three percent of June sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Single-family home sales dipped 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in June from 4.98 million in May, but are still 0.6 percent above the 4.85 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $266,200 in June, up 6.6 percent from June 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 640,000 units in June (unchanged from May), and are 1.6 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $245,900 in June, which is 6.5 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown
June existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 760,000, but are still 1.3 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $296,300, which is 4.1 percent above June 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.32 million in June (unchanged from June 2016). The median price in the Midwest was $213,000, up 7.7 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South decreased 4.7 percent to an annual rate of 2.23 million (unchanged from a year ago). The median price in the South was $231,300, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.21 million in June, but remain 2.5 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $378,100, up 7.4 percent from June 2016.


U.S. Leading Economic Index increased 0.6% in June
Posted: July 20, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Thursday)

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI)for theU.S. increased 0.6 percent in June to 127.8 (2010 = 100), following a 0.2 percent increase in May, and a 0.2 percent increase in April.

“The U.S. LEI rose sharply in June, pointing to continued growth in the U.S. economy and perhaps even a moderate improvement in GDP growth in the second half of the year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “The broad-based gain in the U.S. LEI was led by a large contribution from housing permits, which improved after several months of weakness.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in June to 115.5 (2010 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in May, and a 0.2 percent increase in April.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in June to 124.4 (2010 = 100), following a 0.1 percent increase in May and a 0.3 percent increase in April.


Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Decrease 15,000 to 233,000
Posted: July 20, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

In the week ending July 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 233,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 247,000 to 248,000. The 4-week moving average was 243,750, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 245,750 to 246,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending July 8, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 8 was 1,977,000, an increase of 28,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 4,000 from 1,945,000 to 1,949,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,959,000, an increase of 8,750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,000 from 1,949,250 to 1,950,250.


Philadelphia Fed Outlook Reported Activity Suggest Positive but Weaker Growth in July
Posted: July 20, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

Manufacturing activity in the region continues to grow but at a slower pace, according to results from the July Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey. The diffusion indexes for general activity, new orders, shipments, employment, and work hours remained positive but fell from their readings in June. Respondents also reported a moderation of price pressures this month. Firms remained generally optimistic about future growth. More than one-third of the manufacturers expect to add to their payrolls over the next six months.

Current Indicators Suggest Positive but Weaker Growth
The index for current manufacturing activity in the region decreased from a reading of 27.6 in June to 19.5 this month (see Chart 1). The index has been positive for 12 consecutive months, but July’s reading is the lowest since November. Thirty-seven percent of the firms indicated increases in activity in July, down from 42 percent last month. The shipments index decreased 16 points, while the new orders index fell 24 points. Nearly 31 percent of the respondents reported a rise in new orders this month, down from 45 percent in June. Both the delivery times and unfilled orders indexes were positive for the ninth consecutive month, suggesting longer delivery times and increases in unfilled orders.

Firms reported overall increases in manufacturing employment this month, but the current employment index fell 5 points. The index has been positive for eight consecutive months. The percentage of firms reporting an increase in employment was 17 percent, while 6 percent reported a decrease. The average workweek index has been positive for nine consecutive months but decreased 17 points.
Price Indexes Suggest Moderated Price Pressures

The survey’s price indicators suggest moderated price pressures this month: Both the prices paid and prices received indexes remained positive but fell from their June readings. With regard to prices paid for inputs, 24 percent of the respondents reported higher input prices. The current prices paid index fell 5 points and has declined for four consecutive months. The prices received index fell 12 points (see Chart 2). With 17 percent of the firms reporting higher prices, this index is at its lowest reading in seven months.

Most Firms Expect Continued Growth
The survey’s six-month indicators remained positive this month, with firms generally expecting growth to continue. The diffusion index for future general activity increased from 31.3 in June to 36.9 this month (see Chart 1). Over half of the manufacturers expect increases in activity over the next six months, while 14 percent expect declines. The future new orders index increased 8 points, while the future shipments index fell 13 points. The future employment diffusion index decreased 3 points to 27.0. More than 34 percent of the firms expect to increase employment over the next six months. Optimism about future capital spending improved notably this month: The diffusion index for future capital spending increased 13 points, and 43 percent of the firms indicated they plan to increase such spending over the next six months.

Seasonal Activity Continues to Be Important to Some Manufacturers
In this month’s special questions, firms were asked to assess the importance of seasonal factors in production, seasonal changes in their production by month, and whether these seasonal factors have changed in importance over time (see Special Questions). Most firms (63 percent) reported that seasonal factors were not significant, while 35 percent indicated that they were significant. Of the firms that reported significant seasonal patterns, the most common pattern was increased production during the spring and fall and decreased activity in midsummer and during the winter months. Fifty-eight percent of the firms with seasonal patterns reported that seasonal effects have not changed; 25 percent saw seasonal patterns as less important, and only 12 percent indicated they were more significant.

Summary
Responses to the July Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey suggest continued growth for the region’s manufacturing sector, but the pace of growth was slower. The survey’s future indexes indicate that respondents continue to expect growth over the next six months.


June Housing Starts up 8.3%, Permits up 7.4%
Posted: July 19, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Wednesday)

Building Permits
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,254,000. This is 7.4 percent (±1.1 percent) above the revised May rate of 1,168,000 and is 5.1 percent (±1.4 percent) above the June 2016 rate of 1,193,000. Single-family authorizations in June were at a rate of 811,000; this is 4.1 percent (±0.8 percent) above the revised May figure of 779,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 409,000 in June.

Housing Starts
Privately-owned housing starts in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,215,000. This is 8.3 percent (±15.8 percent)* above the revised May estimate of 1,122,000 and is 2.1 percent (±14.0 percent)* above the June 2016 rate of 1,190,000. Single-family housing starts in June were at a rate of 849,000; this is 6.3 percent (±13.5 percent)* above the revised May figure of 799,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 359,000.

Housing Completions
Privately-owned housing completions in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,203,000. This is 5.2 percent (±13.9 percent)* above the revised May estimate of 1,144,000 and is 8.1 percent (±13.9 percent)* above the June 2016 rate of 1,113,000. Single-family housing completions in June were at a rate of 798,000; this is 0.4 percent (±11.0 percent)* above the revised May rate of 795,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 396,000.


Purchase Apps up, Refi's up in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Posted: July 19, 2017 at 07:00 AM (Wednesday)

Mortgage applications increased 6.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 14, 2017. Last week's results included an adjustment for the Fourth of July holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 6.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 33 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 13 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 27 percent compared with the previous week and was 7 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 44.7 percent of total applications from 42.1 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity remained unchanged at 6.7 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.7 percent from 10.4 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.7 percent from 11.5 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.7 percent from the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) remained unchanged at 4.22 percent, with points decreasing to 0.31 from 0.40 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100) decreased to 4.18 percent from 4.19 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.30 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 4.10 percent from 4.12 percent, with points decreasing to 0.30 from 0.40 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.48 percent from 3.50 percent, with points decreasing to 0.39 from 0.45 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs remained unchanged at 3.32 percent, with points decreasing to 0.21 from 0.31 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.


Treasury International Capital Data for May 2017
Posted: July 18, 2017 at 04:00 PM (Tuesday)

The U.S. Department of the Treasury today released Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for May 2017. The sum total in May of all net foreign acquisitions of long-term securities, short-term U.S. securities, and banking flows was a monthly net TIC inflow of $57.3 billion. Of this, net foreign private inflows were $87.2 billion, and net foreign official outflows were $29.9 billion.

Foreign residents increased their holdings of long-term U.S. securities in May; net purchases were $95.5 billion. Net purchases by private foreign investors were $119.7 billion, while net sales by foreign official institutions were $24.2 billion. U.S. residents increased their holdings of long-term foreign securities, with net purchases of $3.6 billion.

Taking into account transactions in both foreign and U.S. securities, net foreign purchases of long-term securities were $91.9 billion. After including adjustments, such as estimates of unrecorded principal payments to foreigners on U.S. asset-backed securities, overall net foreign purchases of long-term securities are estimated to have been $77.4 billion in May.

Foreign residents increased their holdings of U.S. Treasury bills by $24.0 billion. Foreign resident holdings of all dollar-denominated short-term U.S. securities and other custody liabilities increased by $32.0 billion. Banks' own net dollar-denominated liabilities to foreign residents decreased by $52.2 billion.


Builder Confidence down 2 points to 64 in July
Posted: July 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Tuesday)

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes slipped two points in July to a level of 64 from a downwardly revised June reading on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). It is the lowest reading since November 2016.

“Our members are telling us they are growing increasingly concerned over rising material prices, particularly lumber,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. “This is hurting housing affordability even as consumer interest in the new-home market remains strong.”

“The HMI measure of current sales conditions has been at 70 or higher for eight straight months, indicating strong demand for new homes,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “However, builders will need to manage some increasing supply-side costs to keep home prices competitive.”

All three HMI components registered losses in July but are still in solid territory. The components gauging current sales conditions fell two points to 70 while the index charting sales expectations in the next six months dropped two points to 73. Meanwhile, the component measuring buyer traffic slipped one point to 48.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose one point to 47. The West and Midwest each edged one point lower to 75 and 66, respectively. The South dropped three points to 67.


U.S. Import Price Index declined 0.2% in June
Posted: July 18, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Tuesday)

U.S. import prices declined 0.2 percent in June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, after a 0.1-percent decrease in May. Lower fuel prices drove the drop in June, which more than offset higher nonfuel prices. The price index for U.S. exports fell 0.2 percent in June following a 0.5-percent decline in May.


Empire State Manufacturing Survey Conditions grew modestly in July
Posted: July 17, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Monday)

Business activity grew modestly in New York State, according to firms responding to the July 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index fell ten points to 9.8. The new orders index moved down to 13.3, and the shipments index fell to 10.5, suggesting that orders and shipments continued to grow, though at a somewhat slower pace than in June. Delivery times continued to lengthen, and inventory levels were fairly steady. Labor market indicators pointed to a small increase in employment and no change in hours worked. Input prices and selling prices rose at about the same pace as last month. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms remained positive about future conditions, though they were less optimistic than in June.

Growth Continues, Though Not Quite as Strongly
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity continued to expand in July. After reaching its highest level in more than two years last month, the general business conditions index retreated ten points to 9.8, indicating that activity grew at a slower rate than in June. Thirty percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 20 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index edged down five points, but at 13.3, it still showed that orders increased at a fairly solid clip. The shipments index fell twelve points to 10.5, suggesting that shipments grew, but at a slower pace than last month. The unfilled orders index dropped below zero. The delivery time index was little changed at 4.7, pointing to somewhat longer deliver times, and the inventories index fell to 2.4.

Pace of Price Increases Little Changed
The index for number of employees fell for a third consecutive month, though it remained positive at 3.9—a sign that employment was growing, but not as rapidly as in earlier months. The average workweek index fell to zero, indicating that hours worked remained the same. The prices paid index was little changed at 21.3, as was the prices received index at 11.0, suggesting that the pace of price increases held steady.

Optimism Declines Somewhat
Indexes assessing the six-month outlook remained favorable, though firms were somewhat less optimistic about future conditions than in June. The index for future business conditions fell seven points to 34.9, and the index for future new orders fell nine points to 33.4. Employment was expected to increase modestly, though the average workweek was expected to decline slightly. The capital expenditures index slipped to 15.0, and the technology spending index was 11.8.


Business Inventories up 0.3% in May
Posted: July 14, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Friday)

The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for May, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1,350.2 billion, down 0.2 percent (±0.2 percent)* from April 2017, but was up 5.1 percent (±0.4 percent) from May 2016.

Manufacturers’ and trade inventories, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $1,859.7 billion, up 0.3 percent (±0.1 percent) from April 2017 and were up 2.4 percent (±0.3 percent) from May 2016.

The total business Inventories/Sales Ratio based on seasonally adjusted data at the end of May was 1.38. The May 2016 ratio was 1.41.


University of Michigan Consumer Confidence Preliminary July Results at 93.1
Posted: July 14, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Friday)

Confidence in future economic prospects continued to slide in early July, with the Expectations Index now 10.1 Index points below its January 2017 peak. In contrast, consumers' assessments of current economic conditions regained the March 2017 peak, the highest level since the July 2005 survey. Overall, the recent data follow the same pattern repeatedly recorded around past cyclical peaks: expectations start to post significant declines while assessments of current economic conditions continue to reach new peaks. To be sure, the data do not suggest an impending recession. Rather, the data indicate that hopes for a prolonged period of 3% GDP growth sparked by Trump's victory have largely vanished, aside from a temporary snap back expected in the 2nd quarter. The declines recorded are now consistent with just above 2% GDP growth in 2017. Much steeper declines in expectations typically precede recessions. The weakness in the Expectations Index in early July was concentrated among Republicans (falling to 108.9 from June’s 116.0 and February’s 120.1); Democrats continue to hold much less favorable expectations, although the Expectations Index among Democrats has markedly improved (to 63.2 from June’s 62.0 in June and 55.5 in February). Overall, the data indicate an annual gain of 2.4% in personal consumption during 2017.


Industrial Production increased 0.4%
Capacity Utilization increased to 76.6%

Posted: July 14, 2017 at 09:15 AM (Friday)

Industrial production rose 0.4 percent in June for its fifth consecutive monthly increase. Manufacturing output moved up 0.2 percent; although factory output has gone up and down in recent months, its level in June was little different from February. The index for mining posted a gain of 1.6 percent in June, just slightly below its pace in May. The index for utilities, however, remained unchanged. For the second quarter as a whole, industrial production advanced at an annual rate of 4.7 percent, primarily as a result of strong increases for mining and utilities. Manufacturing output rose at an annual rate of 1.4 percent, a slightly slower increase than in the first quarter. At 105.2 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production in June was 2.0 percent above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.2 percentage point in June to 76.6 percent, a rate that is 3.3 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2016) average.


Consumer Price Index unchanged% in June, Ex Fd & Engy rose 0.1%
Posted: July 14, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Friday)

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 1.6 percent.

The energy index declined again in June, falling 1.6 percent; this offset an increase in the index for all items less food and energy. All the major energy component indexes declined, with the gasoline index falling 2.8 percent. The food index was unchanged in June, with the index for food at home declining slightly as five of the six major grocery store food group indexes decreased.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in June, its third straight such increase. The shelter index continued to rise, and the indexes for medical care, motor vehicle insurance, education, and personal care also increased. The indexes for airline fares, used cars and trucks, wireless telephone services, and new vehicles were among the indexes that declined in June.

The all items index rose 1.6 percent for the 12 months ending June; this measure has been declining steadily since February, when it was 2.7 percent. The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.7 percent for the 12 months ending June, the same increase as for the 12 months ending May. The energy index rose 2.3 percent over the last year, while the food index increased 0.9 percent.


Real Average Hourly Earnings increased 0.2% in June
Posted: July 14, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Friday)

Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.2 percent from May to June, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This result stems from a 0.2-percent increase in average hourly earnings combined with no change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Real average weekly earnings increased 0.5 percent over the month due to the increase in real average hourly earnings combined with a 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek.

Real average hourly earnings increased 0.8 percent, seasonally adjusted, from June 2016 to June 2017. The increase in real average hourly earnings combined with a 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek resulted in a 1.1-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.


U.S. Retail Sales for June Decrease 0.2%, Ex-Auto down 0.2%
Posted: July 14, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Friday)

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for June 2017, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $473.5 billion, a decrease of 0.2 percent (± 0.5 percent) from the previous month, and 2.8 percent (± 0.9 percent) above June 2016. Total sales for the April 2017 through June 2017 period were up 3.8 percent (± 0.7 percent) from the same period a year ago. The April 2017 to May 2017 percent change was revised from down 0.3 percent (± 0.5 percent) to down 0.1 percent (± 0.2 percent).

Retail trade sales were down 0.1 percent (± 0.5 percent) from May 2017, and up 3.0 percent (± 0.7 percent) from last year. Nonstore Retailers were up 9.2 percent (± 1.8 percent) from June 2016, while Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book, & Music Stores were down 8.9 percent (± 2.1 percent) from last year.


Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Decrease 3,000 to 247,000
Posted: July 13, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

In the week ending July 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 247,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 248,000 to 250,000. The 4-week moving average was 245,750, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 243,000 to 243,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending July 1, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 1 was 1,945,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 9,000 from 1,956,000 to 1,965,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,949,250, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 2,250 from 1,944,750 to 1,947,000.


Producer Price Index increased 0.1% in June, ex Fd & Engy up 0.2%
Posted: July 13, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.1 percent in June, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Final demand prices were unchanged in May and rose 0.5 percent in April. On an unadjusted basis, the final demand index advanced 2.0 percent for the 12 months ended in June.

In June, almost 80 percent of the rise in the final demand index is attributable to prices for final demand services, which increased 0.2 percent. The index for final demand goods edged up 0.1 percent.

Prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services increased 0.2 percent in June. For the 12 months ended in June, the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services advanced 2.0 percent.


Beige Book: Economic Activity continues at a modest or moderate pace
Posted: July 12, 2017 at 02:00 PM (Wednesday)

Economic activity expanded across all twelve Federal Reserve Districts in June, with the pace of growth ranging from slight to moderate. In addition, the majority of Districts expected modest to moderate gains in the months ahead. Consumer spending appears to be rising across a majority of Districts, led by increases in nonauto retail sales and tourism. However, many Districts noted some softening in consumer spending, particularly in auto sales which declined in half of the Districts. Manufacturing and nonfinancial services activity continued to grow, with most Districts reporting modest to moderate gains since the last report. Loan demand was steady to increasing in most Districts. Residential and nonresidential construction activity was flat to expanding in most Districts. Most Districts cited low home inventory levels in certain market segments which were constraining home sales in many areas. Agricultural conditions were mixed across the nation as moisture conditions varied considerably; several Districts continued to report weakness in dairy and some crop sectors due to low prices. Energy activity generally improved since the last survey, particularly for oil and natural gas. Coal production remained sluggish although higher than year-ago levels.

Employment and Wages
Employment across most of the nation maintained a modest to moderate pace of expansion, although the Atlanta and St. Louis Districts noted flat employment levels. Labor markets tightened further for both low- and high-skilled positions, particularly in the construction and IT sectors. Contacts across a broad range of industries reported a shortage of qualified workers which had limited hiring. Wages continued to grow at a modest to moderate pace in most Districts, and many firms attributed these wage gains to tighter labor market conditions. Wage pressures generally trended with employment conditions, and rising wage pressures were noted among both low- and high-skilled positions. A few Districts also reported rising costs of benefits and variable pay.

Prices
Prices continued to rise modestly in the majority of Districts, and a few Districts noted that price pressures had eased slightly. Several Districts reported higher construction materials costs and freight prices, while gasoline prices fell. Retail prices held steady or slightly increased, and the manufacturing sector noted steady to modestly rising input costs. Low agricultural prices were causing stress for some farmers, although some food retailers reported improved margins due to lower commodity prices. Home prices continued to increase in most Districts.


Purchase Apps down, Refi's down in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Posted: July 12, 2017 at 07:00 AM (Wednesday)

Mortgage applications decreased 7.4 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 7, 2017. This week's results include an adjustment for the Fourth of July holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 7.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 26 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 13 percent from the previous week to the lowest level since January 2017. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 22 percent compared with the previous week and was 3 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 42.1 percent of total applications from 44.9 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 6.7 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.4 percent from 10.2 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 11.5 percent from 10.3 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.7 percent from 0.8 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) increased to 4.22 percent from 4.20 percent, with points increasing to 0.40 from 0.31 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100) increased to 4.19 percent from 4.10 percent, with points increasing to 0.3 from 0.23 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 4.12 percent from 4.04 percent, with points increasing to 0.40 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.50 percent from 3.43 percent, with points increasing to 0.45 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 3.32 percent from 3.37 percent, with points increasing to 0.31 from 0.22 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.


Job Openings decreased to 5.7 million in May
Posted: July 11, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Tuesday)

The number of job openings decreased to 5.7 million on the last business day of May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires increased to 5.5 million and separations increased to 5.3 million. Within separations, the quits rate was little changed at 2.2 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged at 1.1 percent. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the nonfarm sector by industry and by four geographic regions.


Wholesale Inventories up 0.4% in May
Posted: July 11, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Tuesday)

May 2017 sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $460.8 billion, down 0.5 percent (±0.7 percent)* from the revised April level, but were up 6.2 percent (±1.1 percent) from the May 2016 level. The March 2017 to April 2017 percent change was revised from the preliminary estimate of down 0.4 percent (±0.5 percent)* to down 0.3 percent (±0.5 percent)*.

Inventories
Total inventories of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were $593.9 billion at the end of May, up 0.4 percent (±0.4 percent)* from the revised April level. Total inventories were up 1.9 percent (±0.7 percent) from the revised May 2016 level. The April 2017 to May 2017 percent change was revised from the advance estimate of up 0.3 percent (±0.4 percent)* to up 0.4 percent (± 0.4 percent)*.

Inventories/Sales Ratio
The May inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, based on seasonally adjusted data, was 1.29. The May 2016 ratio was 1.34.


NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 0.9 in June to 103.6
Posted: July 11, 2017 at 07:00 AM (Tuesday)

The Index of Small Business Optimism fell 0.9 points to 103.6, but sustained the surge in optimism that started the day after the election. The Index peaked at 105.9 in January and has dropped 2.3 points to date, no doubt in part due to the mess in Washington, D.C. Four of the 10 Index components posted a gain, five declined, and one was unchanged. Progress is being made, but poorly communicated, and the biggest issues, healthcare and tax reform remain stuck in the bowels of Washington politics. Economic growth in the first half of this year will be about the same as we have experienced for the past three or four years, no real progress. There isn’t much euphoria in the outlook for the second half of the year.

First quarter GDP growth was finalized at 1.4 percent, a poor performance even after allowing for the peculiarities of GDP accounting. Consumer sentiment (University of Michigan) fell a few points to the lowest reading this year, apparently consumers are not finding the economy looking a lot better going forward. This, even though income grew at the fastest pace in two years. Much of this growth was due to dividends, which most consumers don’t receive as part of their regular income. Spending grew very little and more small business owners reported sales declines quarter on quarter than reported gains. Second quarter growth will be much stronger than Q1, although still likely to be unimpressive. Consumer saving is up and auto sales were sluggish. Over the last 12 months, reports that the government is doing a good job peaked in January at 28 percent but is now at its lowest level since last June when it was 19 percent.

Lower energy prices are once again providing “dividends” to fuel users, consumers, and businesses alike. This ubiquitous benefit is not as powerful for the economy as it used to be because energy production is now significant in the U.S. economy. Historically, lower oil prices impacted producers outside of the U.S. economy but now affect our large and growing energy sector. Even so, energy related profits are dominating the profit picture among the Fortune 500 firms. Cheap oil looks to be a dependable source of reduced costs for the near term.

Headline unemployment rates of 4.3 percent (U-3) and 8.4 percent (U-6) are at recovery low levels. This excludes 4.5 million workers who say they want work but haven’t looked in 12 months. Including them would take the U-6 rate up near 11 percent. Labor force participation rates for men and women remain below levels of the past few decades and “employed part-time for economic reasons” remains above levels typical of an expansion.

A continuation of the high levels of optimism in the small business sector will depend heavily on Congressional progress on the major issues for small business owners: healthcare, tax reform and regulatory relief. The Republicans have the votes to pass any bill that they agree on, but seem unable to agree on any bill, unable to find one that satisfies all the “opinion camps” in their membership. Because of this, by withholding all their votes on anything, the Democrats can block any bill which has only a few senators in opposition. More substantial progress is needed on these major issues if owner optimism is to be sustained and produce accelerated hiring and spending.


Consumer Credit Increased at an annual rate of 5.75%
Posted: July 10, 2017 at 03:00 PM (Monday)

In May, consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5-3/4 percent. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 8-3/4 percent, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 4-3/4 percent.


Employment Trends Index decreased in June to 133.07
Posted: July 10, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Monday)

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) decreased in June, following an increase in May. The index now stands at 133.07, down slightly from 133.32 (a downward revision) in May. The change represents a 4.6 percent gain in the ETI compared to a year ago.

“Despite the June decline in the Employment Trends Index, job growth will remain strong in the coming months. The decline is small and comes after a series of large increases since early 2017,” said Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North America, at The Conference Board. “Further job growth in the coming months will continue to tighten the labor market, and will likely result in further wage acceleration later this year.”

June’s decrease in the ETI was fueled by negative contributions from three of the eight components. In order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest, these were: Percentage of Firms with Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers, and Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance.


May Employment increased by 222,000
Unemployment Rate little changed at 4.4%

Posted: July 7, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Friday)

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 222,000 in June, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in health care, social assistance, financial activities, and mining.

Household Survey Data
In June, the unemployment rate, at 4.4 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 7.0 million, were little changed. Since January, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed are down by 0.4 percentage point and 658,000, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.0 percent), adult women (4.0 percent), teenagers (13.3 percent), Whites (3.8 percent), Blacks (7.1 percent), Asians (3.6 percent), and Hispanics (4.8 percent) showed little or no change in June.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged at 1.7 million in June and accounted for 24.3 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 322,000.

The labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, changed little in June and has shown no clear trend over the past year. The employment-population ratio (60.1 percent) was also little changed in June and has held fairly steady thus far this year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 5.3 million, changed little in June. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In June, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 197,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 514,000 discouraged workers in June, little different from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in June had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 222,000 in June. Employment rose in health care, social assistance, financial activities, and mining. Employment growth has averaged 180,000 per month thus far this year, in line with the average monthly gain of 187,000 in 2016.

In June, health care added 37,000 jobs. Employment increased in ambulatory health care services (+26,000) and hospitals (+12,000). Health care has added an average of 24,000 jobs per month in the first half of 2017, compared with a monthly average of 32,000 jobs in 2016.

Social assistance employment increased by 23,000 in June. Within the industry, employment continued to trend up in individual and family services (+12,000) and in child day care services (+8,000). Social assistance has added 115,000 jobs over the last 12 months.

Employment in financial activities rose by 17,000 in June and has grown by 169,000 over the year. Securities, commodity contracts, and investments added 5,000 jobs over the month.

In June, mining employment grew by 8,000, with most of the growth in support activities for mining (+7,000). Since a recent employment low in October 2016, mining has added 56,000 jobs.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in June (+35,000) and has grown by 624,000 over the last 12 months.

Employment in food services and drinking places also continued on an upward trend in June (+29,000). The industry has added 277,000 jobs over the year.

Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, showed little change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in June. In manufacturing, the workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, while overtime was unchanged at 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours.

In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents to $26.25. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 63 cents, or 2.5 percent. In June, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $22.03.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised up from +174,000 to +207,000, and the change for May was revised up from +138,000 to +152,000. With these revisions, employment gains in April and May combined were 47,000 more than previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 194,000 per month.


ISM Non-Manufacturing Index rose to 57.4% in June
Posted: July 6, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Thursday)

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in June for the 90th consecutive month, say the nation's purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The NMI® registered 57.4 percent, which is 0.5 percentage point higher than the May reading of 56.9 percent. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector at a slightly faster rate. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index increased to 60.8 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than the May reading of 60.7 percent, reflecting growth for the 95th consecutive month, at a slightly faster rate in June. The New Orders Index registered 60.5 percent, 2.8 percentage points higher than the reading of 57.7 percent in May. The Employment Index decreased 2 percentage points in June to 55.8 percent from the May reading of 57.8 percent. The Prices Index increased 2.9 percentage points from the May reading of 49.2 percent to 52.1 percent, indicating prices increased in June after decreasing in May. According to the NMI®, 16 non-manufacturing industries reported growth. The non-manufacturing sector continued to reflect strength for the month of June. The majority of respondents’ comments are positive about business conditions and the overall economy.

INDUSTRY PERFORMANCE
The 16 non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in June — listed in order — are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Wholesale Trade; Management of Companies & Support Services; Accommodation & Food Services; Public Administration; Transportation & Warehousing; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Health Care & Social Assistance; Mining; Information; Utilities; Educational Services; Construction; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Retail Trade; and Finance & Insurance. The only industry reporting contraction in June is Other Services.


Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Increase 4,000 to 248,000
Posted: July 6, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

In the week ending July 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 248,000, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 244,000. The 4-week moving average was 243,000, an increase of 750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 242,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending June 24, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 24 was 1,956,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 3,000 from 1,948,000 to 1,945,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,944,750, an increase of 6,750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 750 from 1,938,750 to 1,938,000.


Goods and Services Deficit Decreased in May 2017
Posted: July 6, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

The Nation's international trade deficit in goods and services decreased to $46.5 billion in May from $47.6 billion in April (revised), as exports increased and imports decreased.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced today that the goods and services deficit was $46.5 billion in May, down $1.1 billion from $47.6 billion in April, revised. May exports were $192.0 billion, $0.9 billion more than April exports. May imports were $238.5 billion, $0.2 billion less than April imports.

The May decrease in the goods and services deficit reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $0.9 billion to $67.5 billion and an increase in the services surplus of $0.2 billion to $21.0 billion.

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $27.0 billion, or 13.1 percent, from the same period in 2016. Exports increased $54.3 billion or 6.0 percent. Imports increased $81.4 billion or 7.3 percent.


ADP National Employment Report increased by 158,000 jobs in June
Posted: July 6, 2017 at 08:15 AM (Thursday)

Private sector employment increased by 158,000 jobs from May to June according to the June ADP National Employment Report®.

“Despite a slight moderation in the month of June, the labor market remains strong,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “For the month of June, jobs were primarily created in the service-providing sector.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “The job market continues to power forward. Abstracting from the monthly ups and downs, job growth remains a stalwart between 150,000 and 200,000. At this pace, which is double the rate of labor force growth, the tight labor market will continue getting tighter.”


Challenger Layoffs decreased to 31,105 jobs in June
Posted: July 6, 2017 at 07:30 AM (Thursday)

Employers announced plans to cut payrolls by 31,105 jobs in June, the lowest monthly total of the year according to a report released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The June job-cut total is 6 percent lower than the 33,092 cuts recorded in May*, and 19.3 percent lower than the same month last year, when 38,536 cuts were recorded.

The pace of job cutting is significantly slower compared to the first half of last year. Through the first six months of 2017, employers announced 227,000 planned job cuts, down 28 percent from the 313,754 cuts announced through the first half of 2016.

“In a tight labor market, it’s no surprise companies are holding on to their existing workforces. Companies are also waiting to see how proposed regulations from the Trump administration may impact business going forward,” said John Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Job cuts in the second quarter totaled 100,799, down 20 percent from the 126,201 cuts announced in the first quarter and 24 percent lower than the 132,834 announced cuts in the second quarter of 2016.

“It is typical to see fewer announced job cuts in the summer months. We have not seen large-scale layoffs this year, as we did in the last two years, especially in the tech and energy sectors,” said Challenger.

*Challenger revised May’s number down from 51,692 to 33,092. We reported 20,000 job cuts for Ford. Ford is offering 15,000 buyouts to cut 1,400 workers. Our revision reflects the 1,400 confirmed cuts.

Indeed, through this point last year, oil prices were blamed for 71,075 announced job cuts. Challenger has not tracked any job cuts due to a downturn in oil prices so far this year.

Meanwhile, companies in the technology industry – computer, electronics, and telecommunications – announced 50,161 job cuts through June 2016, 52.5 percent more than the 23,813 tech sector job cuts so far this year.

“Pivoting in the retail sector has led to job cuts, but we are not yet seeing them at the level they were immediately after and during the recession or in 2003, when online shopping really began to catch on,” said Challenger.

Through June, retailers have announced 60,127 job cuts, 42 percent more than the 42,095 cuts the sector announced through the first half of 2016. It is the highest first-half total since 2009, when retailers announced 85,698 cuts. The sector went on to announce 98,807 job cuts that year, the highest annual total since 2003, when 100,518 retail cuts were recorded.


Purchase Apps up, Refi's down in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Posted: July 6, 2017 at 07:00 AM (Thursday)

Mortgage applications increased 1.4 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 30, 2017.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 1.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 1 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 0.4 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent compared with the previous week and was 6 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 44.9 percent of total applications from 45.6 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.2 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 10.2 percent from 10.3 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications remained unchanged at 10.3 percent from the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.8 percent from 0.7 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) increased to its highest level since May 2017, 4.20 percent, from 4.13 percent, with points decreasing to 0.31 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100) increased to its highest level since May 2017, 4.10 percent, from 4.09 percent, with points increasing to 0.23 from 0.20 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 4.04 percent from 4.02 percent, with points decreasing to 0.33 from 0.41 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to its highest level since May 2017, 3.43 percent, from 3.39 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to its highest level since March 2017, 3.37 percent, from 3.31 percent, with points decreasing to 0.22 from 0.25 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.


New orders for manufactured goods decreased 0.8% in May
Posted: July 5, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Wednesday)

New orders for manufactured goods in May, down two consecutive months, decreased $3.7 billion or 0.8 percent to $464.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. This followed a 0.3 percent April decrease. Shipments, up five of the last six months, increased $0.6 billion or 0.1 percent to $471.5 billion. This followed a virtually unchanged April increase. Unfilled orders, down following two consecutive monthly increases, decreased $2.3 billion or 0.2 percent to $1,120.2 billion. This followed a 0.2 percent April increase. The unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio was 6.75, down from 6.83 in April. Inventories, down following six consecutive monthly increases, decreased $0.3 billion or 0.1 percent to $648.9 billion. This followed a virtually unchanged April increase. The inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.38, unchanged from April.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in May, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased $2.4 billion or 1.0 percent to $235.8 billion, up from the previously published 0.8 percent increase. This followed a 0.2 percent April decrease. Transportation equipment, up following four consecutive monthly decreases, led the increase, $1.8 billion or 2.3 percent to $79.2 billion. Shipments of manufactured nondurable goods, down two of the last three months, decreased $1.8 billion or 0.8 percent to $235.7 billion. This followed a 0.2 percent April increase. Petroleum and coal products, down four consecutive months, led the decrease, $1.4 billion or 3.2 percent to $41.1 billion.

Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in May, down following two consecutive monthly increases, decreased $2.3 billion or 0.2 percent to $1,120.2 billion, virtually unchanged from the previously published decrease. This followed a 0.2 percent April increase. Transportation equipment, also down following two consecutive monthly increases, drove the decrease, $3.3 billion or 0.4 percent to $762.9 billion.

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in May, up ten of the last eleven months, increased $0.9 billion or 0.2 percent to $395.8 billion, virtually unchanged from the previously published increase. This followed a 0.2 percent April increase. Primary metals, also up ten of the last eleven months, led the increase, $0.3 billion or 0.8 percent to $33.1 billion. Inventories of manufactured nondurable goods, down three consecutive months, decreased $1.3 billion or 0.5 percent to $253.1 billion. This followed a 0.4 percent April decrease. Petroleum and coal products, also down three consecutive months, drove the decrease, $1.4 billion or 3.7 percent to $35.1 billion. By stage of fabrication, May materials and supplies increased 0.5 percent in durable goods and decreased 0.1 percent in nondurable goods. Work in process increased 0.1 percent in durable goods and decreased 0.1 percent in nondurable goods. Finished goods increased 0.2 percent in durable goods and decreased 1.0 percent in nondurable goods.


Help Wanted OnLine Labor Demand decreased 45,800 to 4,763,400 in June
Posted: July 5, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Wednesday)

Online advertised vacancies decreased 45,800 to 4,763,400 in June, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The May Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.43 unemployed for each advertised vacancy, with a total of 2.1 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was approximately 6.9 million in May.

The Professional occupational category saw losses in Healthcare Practitioners (-27.7), Business and Financial Operations (-16.3), and Computer and Math (-11.5). The Services/Production occupational category saw gains in Food Preparation (23.3) and Transportation (6.3) and losses in Office and Administrative Support (-8.8).


Paychex-IHS Small Business Jobs Index decreased to 100.10 in June
Posted: July 5, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Wednesday)

The Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch for June marks four consecutive months of decline in small business job growth, but a continued increase in wages. The Small Business Jobs Index decreased 0.24 percent to 100.10 in June. The index is at its lowest level since late 2011. National hourly earnings in June were $25.82, increasing 2.88 percent ($0.72) year-over-year.

“Small business job gains have slowed, consistent with tightening labor markets. Wage gains continue at a moderate pace, up 2.88 percent from last year,” said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit.

“Over the past month we’ve seen continued uncertainty as it relates to legislative policies that stand to impact small businesses,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “The decline in this month’s index and modest growth in wages seem to reflect an unclear regulatory picture combined with a narrowing labor market.”


New York Purchasing Managers Business Activity jumped in June to 55.5
Posted: July 5, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Wednesday)

New York City purchasing managers indicated they expect to close 2017 with increased business activity, according to the survey taken by the Institute for Supply Management-New York.

New York Metro Current Business Conditions came in at 55.5 in June, returning to nearly the same level seen in April after a one month drop below breakeven to 46.7 in May. The Six-Month Outlook, which addresses expectations for December 2017, decreased for the fourth consecutive month without leaving growth territory, coming in at 64.5 in June. The six-month outlook has been a reliable short-run guide for current business conditions over time.

Company Specific
Employment, a seasonally adjusted index, nearly broke even in June, coming in at 49.0, the highest finding in six months. Quantity of Purchases fell to precisely the breakeven point of 50.0 in June, down from 55.3 in May.

News for the top line and forward guidance pulled back from the optimism seen in May. Current Revenues fell below the breakeven point for the first time since January 2016, something that has happened only three times in the last five years (also in September 2013, 47.3 and November 2012, 45.8. Expected Revenues fell to 60.0 in June, the lowest level seen since September 2016. Prices Paid reached 60.3, the highest level since November 2016 and a 10 point increase from May.


June Manufacturing ISM expanded to 57.8
Posted: July 3, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Monday)

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in June, and the overall economy grew for the 97th consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The June PMI® registered 57.8 percent, an increase of 2.9 percentage points from the May reading of 54.9 percent. The New Orders Index registered 63.5 percent, an increase of 4 percentage points from the May reading of 59.5 percent. The Production Index registered 62.4 percent, a 5.3 percentage point increase compared to the May reading of 57.1 percent. The Employment Index registered 57.2 percent, an increase of 3.7 percentage points from the May reading of 53.5 percent. The Supplier Deliveries index registered 57 percent, a 3.9 percentage point increase from the May reading of 53.1 percent. The Inventories Index registered 49 percent, a decrease of 2.5 percentage points from the May reading of 51.5 percent. The Prices Index registered 55 percent in June, a decrease of 5.5 percentage points from the May reading of 60.5 percent, indicating higher raw materials’ prices for the 16th consecutive month, but at a slower rate of increase in June compared with May. Comments from the panel generally reflect expanding business conditions; with new orders, production, employment, backlog and exports all growing in June compared to May and with supplier deliveries and inventories struggling to keep up with the production pace.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 15 reported growth in June in the following order: Furniture & Related Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Paper Products; Machinery; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Chemical Products; Transportation Equipment; Computer & Electronic Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Fabricated Metal Products; Wood Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; and Petroleum & Coal Products. Three industries reported contraction in June compared to May: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Textile Mills; and Primary Metals.


Construction Spending decreased 0.2% in May
Posted: July 3, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Monday)

Construction spending during May 2017 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,230.1 billion, nearly the same as (±2.5 percent) the revised April estimate of $1,230.4 billion. The May figure is 4.5 percent (±2.5 percent) above the May 2016 estimate of $1,177.0 billion. During the first 5 months of this year, construction spending amounted to $469.2 billion, 6.1 percent (±1.3 percent) above the $442.4 billion for the same period in 2016.

Private Construction
Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $943.2 billion, 0.6 percent (±0.7 percent) below the revised April estimate of $949.3 billion. Residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $509.6 billion in May, 0.6 percent (±1.3 percent) below the revised April estimate of $512.7 billion. Nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $433.6 billion in May, 0.7 percent (± 0.7 percent) below the revised April estimate of $436.7 billion.

Public Construction
In May, the estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending was $286.9 billion, 2.1 percent (±5.3 percent) above the revised April estimate of $281.0 billion. Educational construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $74.3 billion, 5.1 percent (±3.3 percent) above the revised April estimate of $70.7 billion. Highway construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $90.6 billion, 0.9 percent (±16.9 percent) below the revised April estimate of $91.5 billion.


Chicago Purchasing Managers Index rose by 6.1 points to 59.4 in June
Posted: June 30, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Friday)

The MNI Chicago Business Barometer rose to 65.7 in June from 59.4 in May, the highest level in over three years.

Optimism among firms about business conditions rose for the fifth consecutive month. Four of the five Barometer components led June’s increase, with only Employment falling, albeit slightly. Successive rises in the barometer left the Q2 calendar quarter average at 61.1, significantly above Q1’s 55.1, and the highest level since Q2 2014.

Demand accelerated in June, offsetting the loss witnessed in the previous month. New orders rose by 10.5 points to 71.9 in June, the highest level since May 2014. In line with growing demand, Production strengthened. The indicator was up 4.5 points to 67.7 from 63.2 in May. Order Backlogs grew significantly in June, to a level not seen since July 1994, after jumping out of contractionary territory last month. In Q2, backlogs averaged 52.5, after contracting for nine consecutive quarters. Suppliers took longer to deliver key inputs, with the respective indicator at 62.8, the highest since June 2011.

Companies ran down inventories to satisfy growing demand. The Inventories indicator fell 3.6 points to 51.9 in June, the lowest since the start of the year.

The Employment indicator slipped to 56.6 from 57.1 in May. Panelists were concerned about finding reliable, well qualified workers and there was a rise in temporary hires, a growing job market trend in recent months.

This month’s special question asked firms about their expectations about new orders in Q3 compared with Q2. More than half of respondents were more confident about higher new orders while 33.9% of them expected them to be at the same level. 11.3% of respondents expected softer ordering patterns in the next three months while the remaining 1.6% were unsure. When the same question was posed last year, although the majority were still confident about Q3, they were less so than in the current year. A total 46% expected higher new orders in Q3 while 42% expected orders to remain stable and 12% were pessimistic last year.

Inflationary pressures at the factory gate remained broadly stable after easing for three straight months. Panelists reported a continued rise in the price of steel and plastic products, but mentioned that suppliers were holding off passing through prices increases.

“June’s MNI Chicago Business Barometer Survey is a testament to firms’ expectations of a busy summer. With Production and New Orders touching levels not seen in three years, rising pressure on backlogs and delivery times has led to higher optimism among firms both in general business conditions and the local economy,” said Shaily Mittal, Senior Economist at MNI Indicators.


University of Michigan Consumer Confidence slipped in June to 95.1
Posted: June 30, 2017 at 09:45 AM (Friday)

Consumer confidence slipped to its lowest level since Trump was elected, although the overall level still remains quite favorable. The average level of the Sentiment Index during the first half of 2017 was 96.8, the best half-year average since the second half of 2000, and the partisan gap between Democrats and Republicans stood at 39 Index-points in June, nearly identical to the 38 point gap in February. The partisan divide still meant that June’s Sentiment Index of 95.1 was nearly equal to both the average (95.7) between the optimism of Republicans and the pessimism of Democrats and the value for Independents (94.6). Even with a much improved 2nd quarter, personal consumption spending is expected to advance during 2017 by about 2.3%.

Personal Finances Reach Decade Peak
The highest number of consumers reported an improved financial situation in June than anytime since November of 2000. The financial strength was due to gains in incomes as well as gains in household wealth driven by rising stock prices and home values. Just one-in-ten households in the June 2017 survey expected their household finances to worsen in the year ahead. Overall, personal finances were brighter than anytime in the last decade.

Partisan Economic Outlook
Selective perception of economic news still dominates as 80% of Democrats reported unfavorable developments, while 87% of Republicans reported favorable developments. Democrats reported negative references to government economic policies at about the same rate as last month, but Republicans voiced half as many positive references as they did in the prior month. Overall, for the first time since Trump was elected, more consumers expected a downturn sometime in the next five years than expected an uninterrupted expansion.

Consumer Sentiment Index
The Consumer Sentiment Index was 95.1 in June 2017, between the 97.1 in May and the 93.5 in last June’s survey. The Current Conditions Index was 112.5 in June, just above May’s 111.7 and last June’s 110.8. The Expectations Index declined to 83.9 in June from 87.7 in May but was above last June’s 82.4. The Expectations Index fell to its lowest value since just prior to Trump’s election.

The most important policies to consumers are those that directly or indirectly affect their jobs, incomes, and their financial security. Fortunately, the heightened concerns consumers now express about future prospects for the economy have thus far been offset by the renewed strength in their personal financial situation. The combination of continuing improvements in personal finances and increasing concerns about the economic outlook is typical around cyclical peaks. Nonetheless, the data provide no indication of an imminent downturn nor do the data provide any indication of a resurgent boom in spending.


Personal Income increased 0.4%, Spending increased 0.1%
Posted: June 30, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Friday)

Personal income increased $67.1 billion (0.4 percent) in May according to estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Disposable personal income (DPI) increased $71.7 billion (0.5 percent) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $7.3 billion (0.1 percent).

Real DPI increased 0.6 percent in May and Real PCE increased 0.1 percent. The PCE price index decreased 0.1 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.1 percent.


1Q2017 GDP final estimate increased 1.4%
Posted: June 29, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 1.4 percent in the first quarter of 2017, according to the "third" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter of 2016, real GDP increased 2.1 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the "second" estimate issued last month. In the second estimate, the increase in real GDP was 1.2 percent. With the third estimate for the first quarter, personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and exports increased more than previously estimated, but the general picture of economic growth remains the same.

Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 1.0 percent in the first quarter, in contrast to a decrease of 1.4 percent in the fourth. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 1.2 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter.

The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from nonresidential fixed investment, exports, PCE, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter reflected a downturn in private inventory investment, a deceleration in PCE, and a downturn in state and local government spending that were partly offset by an upturn in exports, an acceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, and a deceleration in imports.

Current-dollar GDP increased 3.4 percent, or $157.7 billion, in the first quarter to a level of $19,027.1 billion. In the fourth quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 4.2 percent, or $194.1 billion.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.5 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 2.0 percent in the fourth quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 2.4 percent, compared with an increase of 2.0 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 2.0 percent, compared with an increase of 1.3 percent.

Updates to GDP
The upward revision to the percent change in real GDP primarily reflected upward revisions to PCE and to exports which were partly offset by a downward revision to nonresidential fixed investment. For more information, see the Technical Note. For information on updates to GDP, see the "Additional Information" section that follows.

Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment and capital consumption adjustment) decreased $48.4 billion in the first quarter, in contrast to an increase of $11.2 billion in the fourth quarter.

Profits of domestic financial corporations decreased $27.9 billion in the first quarter, in contrast to an increase of $26.5 billion in the fourth. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations decreased $11.1 billion, compared with a decrease of $60.4 billion. The rest-of-the-world component of profits decreased $9.4 billion, in contrast to an increase of $45.1 billion. This measure is calculated as the difference between receipts from the rest of the world and payments to the rest of the world. In the first quarter, receipts increased $5.3 billion, and payments increased $14.7 billion.

Upcoming Annual Update of the National Income and Product Accounts **
The annual update of the national income and product accounts, covering the first quarter of 2014 through the first quarter of 2017, will be released along with the "advance" estimate of GDP for the second quarter of 2017 on July 28. For more information, see “Preview of the 2017 NIPA Annual Update” included in the May Survey of Current Business article on “GDP and the Economy”.


Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Increase 2,000 to 244,000
Posted: June 29, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

In the week ending June 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 244,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 241,000 to 242,000. The 4-week moving average was 242,250, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 244,750 to 245,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending June 17, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 17 was 1,948,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 2,000 from 1,944,000 to 1,942,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,938,750, an increase of 7,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 500 from 1,932,000 to 1,931,500.


Pending Home Sales Index decreased 0.8% in May
Posted: June 28, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Wednesday)

The ongoing supply shortages that are propping up home prices in many metro areas caused pending home sales in May to slump for the third consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors®. None of the major regions saw an increase in contract activity last month.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, decreased 0.8 percent to 108.5 in May from a downwardly revised 109.4 in April. The index is now 1.7 percent below a year ago, which marks the second straight annual decline and the most recent since November and December of last year.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says it's clear the critically low inventory levels in much of the country somewhat sidetracked the housing market this spring. "Monthly closings have recently been oscillating back and forth, but this third consecutive decline in contract activity implies a possible topping off in sales," he said. "Buyer interest is solid, but there is just not enough supply to satisfy demand. Prospective buyers are being sidelined by both limited choices and home prices that are climbing too fast."

The persistent housing shortages seen in several markets are most severe, according to Yun, in the lower price ranges. That's very apparent when looking at the percent change in closings in May compared to a year ago. Sales of homes under $100,000 last month were down 7.2 percent from last year and up only 2.0 percent for those between $100,000 and $250,000. In higher price brackets, sales expanded incrementally all the way up to massive increases of 26.0 percent for homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million and even more for those $1 million and up (29.1 percent).

Weaker financial and economic confidence could also be playing a role in the slowdown in contract activity. NAR's quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey, released earlier this week, found that fewer renters think it's a good time to buy a home, and respondents overall are less confident about the economy and their financial situation than earlier this year.

"The lack of listings in the affordable price range are creating lopsided conditions in many areas where investors and repeat buyers with larger down payments are making up a bulk of the sales activity," said Yun. "Meanwhile, many prospective first-time buyers can't catch a break. Prices are going up and there's intense competition for the homes they're financially able to purchase."

Existing-home sales are forecast to be around 5.63 million this year, an increase of 3.2 percent from 2016 (5.45 million). The national median existing-home price this year is expected to increase around 5 percent. In 2016, existing sales increased 3.8 percent and prices rose 5.1 percent.

"A much higher share of homeowners compared to a year ago think now is a good time to sell, but until they do, sales will likely stay flat and low inventory will keep price growth moving swiftly," said Yun.

The PHSI in the Northeast decreased 0.8 percent to 96.4 in May, but remains 3.1 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index was 104.5 in May (unchanged from April), and is 2.8 percent lower than May 2016.

Pending home sales in the South declined 1.2 percent to an index of 123.4 in May and are now 1.4 percent below last May. The index in the West subsided 1.3 percent in May to 98.6, and is now 4.5 percent below a year ago.


Purchase Apps down, Refi's down in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Posted: June 28, 2017 at 07:00 AM (Wednesday)

Mortgage applications decreased 6.2 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 23, 2017.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 6.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 7 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 9 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 4 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 5 percent compared with the previous week and was 8 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 45.6 percent of total applications from 46.6 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 7.0 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.3 percent from 10.1 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.3 percent from 10.4 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.7 percent from the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) remained unchanged at 4.13 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.34 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100) increased to 4.09 percent from 4.08 percent, with points decreasing to 0.20 from 0.30 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 4.02 percent from 4.04 percent, with points increasing to 0.41 from 0.35 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.39 percent from 3.40 percent, with points decreasing to 0.33 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.31 percent from 3.26 percent, with points increasing to 0.25 from 0.22 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.


Consumer Confidence increased moderately in June to 118.9
Posted: June 27, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Tuesday)

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had decreased in May, increased moderately in June. The Index now stands at 118.9 (1985=100), up from 117.6 in May. The Present Situation Index increased from 140.6 to 146.3, while the Expectations Index declined from 102.3 last month to 100.6.

“Consumer confidence increased moderately in June following a small decline in May,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved to a nearly 16-year high (July 2001, 151.3). Expectations for the short-term have eased somewhat, but are still upbeat. Overall, consumers anticipate the economy will continue expanding in the months ahead, but they do not foresee the pace of growth accelerating.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved in June. Those saying business conditions are “good” increased from 29.8 percent to 30.8 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” declined from 13.9 percent to 12.7 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more positive. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” rose from 30.0 percent to 32.8 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly from 18.3 percent to 18.0 percent.

Consumers, however, were less optimistic about the short-term outlook in June. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 21.5 percent to 20.4 percent, however, those expecting business conditions to worsen declined marginally from 10.3 percent to 9.9 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market remained mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 18.6 percent to 19.3 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs increased from 12.1 percent to 14.6 percent. The percentage of consumers expecting an improvement in their income rose from 19.1 percent to 22.2 percent, but the proportion expecting a decline increased slightly from 8.7 percent to 9.2 percent.


Richmond Fed's Current Activity Index rose 6 points to a reading of 7
Posted: June 27, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Tuesday)

Reports from Fifth District manufacturers improved in June, according to the latest survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The composite manufacturing index rose from 1 in May to 7 in June, as the indexes for shipments and new orders increased. The employment index was relatively flat. Most firms continued to report steady or higher wages; although the index for wages did fall in June, it remained above 0. Meanwhile, more firms reported a decline in the average workweek than reported an increase.

Looking six months ahead, manufacturing executives were more optimistic in June than in May, although even the May readings were very positive. Among the indexes for expected activity, only two fell: the capital expenditures index declined from 34 in May to 26 in June and the expected shipments metric inched down from 39 to 38.

Survey responses pointed toward more moderate growth in both prices paid and prices received. Expected growth in prices received also moderated, although expected growth in prices paid picked up somewhat.


S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices gained 0.9% in April
Posted: June 27, 2017 at 09:00 AM (Tuesday)

S&P Dow Jones Indices today released the latest results for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for April 2017 shows that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months.

YEAR-OVER-YEAR
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.5% annual gain in April, down from 5.6% last month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 4.9%, down from 5.2% the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 5.7% year-over-year gain, down from 5.9% in March.

Seattle, Portland, and Dallas reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities. In April, Seattle led the way with a 12.9% year-over-year price increase, followed by Portland with 9.3%, and Dallas with an 8.4% increase. Seven cities reported greater price increases in the year ending April 2017 versus the year ending March 2017.

The below charts compare year-over-year returns for Seattle and Portland with different ranges of housing prices (tiers). Upon tier level analysis from 2011 to present, both Seattle and Portland’s year-over-year returns show housing prices in the high tier to be the most stable while housing prices in the low tier are the most volatile.

MONTH-OVER-MONTH
Before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 0.9% in April. The 10-City Composite posted a 0.8% increase and the 20-City Composite reported a 0.9% increase in April. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.2% month-over-month increase. The 10-City Composite posted a 0.2% month-over-month increase. The 20-City Composite posted a 0.3% month-over-month increase. Eighteen of 20 cities reported increases in April before seasonal adjustment; after seasonal adjustment, 13 cities saw prices rise.

ANALYSIS
“As home prices continue rising faster than inflation, two questions are being asked: why? And, could this be a bubble?” says David M. Blitzer Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Since demand is exceeding supply and financing is available, there is nothing right now to keep prices from going up. The increase in real, or inflation-adjusted, home prices in the last three years shows that demand is rising. At the same time, the supply of homes for sale has barely kept pace with demand and the inventory of new or existing homes for sale shrunk down to only a four- month supply. Adding to price pressures, mortgage rates remain close to 4% and affordability is not a significant issue.

“The question is not if home prices can climb without any limit; they can’t. Rather, will home price gains gently slow or will they crash and take the economy down with them? For the moment, conditions appear favorable for avoiding a crash. Housing starts are trending higher and rising prices may encourage some homeowners to sell. Moreover, mortgage default rates are low and household debt levels are manageable. Total mortgage debt outstanding is $14.4 trillion, about $400 billion below the record set in 2008. Any increase in mortgage interest rates would dampen demand. Household finances should be able to weather a fairly large price drop.”

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 5.5% annual gain in April 2017. The 10-City and 20-City Composites reported year-over-year increases of 4.9% and 5.7%, respectively. As of April 2017, average home prices for the MSAs within the 10-City and 20-City Composites are back to their winter 2007 levels.


Texas Fed Manufacturing Activity Expanded but at a Slower Pace in June
Posted: June 26, 2017 at 10:30 AM (Monday)

Texas factory activity increased in June, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, fell 11 points to 12.3, indicating output grew but at a slower pace than in May.

Other measures of current manufacturing activity also indicated that growth moderated. The new orders and growth rate of orders indexes fell several points each, coming in at 9.6 and 4.7, respectively. The capacity utilization index moved down to 12.3, and the shipments index retreated to 8.5 after surging last month.

Perceptions of broader business conditions improved in June, although the indexes were less positive than in May. The general business activity index edged down to 15.0. The company outlook index posted a 10th consecutive positive reading but fell nine points to 10.8.

Labor market measures indicated continued employment gains and longer workweeks this month. The employment index posted a sixth consecutive positive reading and edged up to 9.6. Nineteen percent of firms noted net hiring, compared with 10 percent noting net layoffs. The hours worked index dropped to 8.9, down seven points from a six-year high last month.

Prices and wages rose in June, albeit at a somewhat slower pace. Upward pressure on input costs continued to recede slightly, with the raw materials prices index edging down two points to 15.6. Upward pressure on selling prices also abated, with the finished goods prices index falling from 5.9 to 3.6. The wages and benefits index remained elevated but ticked down to 21.1.

Expectations regarding future business conditions continued to improve. The index of future general business activity held steady at 31.9, while the index of future company outlook came in at 35.6, up five points from last month’s reading. Other indexes for future manufacturing activity showed mixed movements but remained solidly in positive territory.


May New Orders for Durable Goods Decreased 1.1%, Ex-Trans up 1.0%
Posted: June 26, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Monday)

New Orders
New orders for manufactured durable goods in May decreased $2.5 billion or 1.1 percent to $228.2 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This decrease, down two consecutive months, followed a 0.9 percent April decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.1 percent. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 0.6 percent. Transportation equipment, also down two consecutive months, drove the decrease, $2.7 billion or 3.4 percent to $75.4 billion.

Shipments
Shipments of manufactured durable goods in May, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased $1.8 billion or 0.8 percent to $234.9 billion. This followed a 0.3 percent April decrease. Transportation equipment, up following four consecutive monthly decreases, led the increase, $1.5 billion or 1.9 percent to $78.8 billion.

Unfilled Orders
Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in May, down following two consecutive monthly increases, decreased $2.3 billion or 0.2 percent to $1,120.1 billion. This followed a 0.2 percent April increase. Transportation equipment, also down following two consecutive monthly increases, drove the decrease, $3.4 billion or 0.4 percent to $762.8 billion.


Chicago Fed National Activity Growth is slower in May
Posted: June 26, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Monday)

The CFNAI Diffusion Index, which is also a three-month moving average, decreased to –0.08 in May from +0.10 in April. Thirty-two of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in May, while 53 made negative contributions. Twenty-six indicators improved from April to May, while 56 indicators deteriorated and three were unchanged. Of the indicators that improved, ten made negative contributions.

The contribution from production-related indicators to the CFNAI declined to –0.16 in May from +0.53 in April. Total industrial production was unchanged in May after moving up 1.1 percent in April, and manufacturing production decreased 0.4 percent in May after increasing 1.1 percent in the previous month.

Employment-related indicators contributed –0.02 to the CFNAI in May, down from +0.12 in April. Civilian employment decreased by 233,000 in May after increasing by 156,000 in the previous month; and nonfarm payrolls increased by 138,000 in May, following a gain of 174,000 in April.

The contribution of the personal consumption and housing category to the CFNAI edged down to –0.09 in May from –0.07 in April. Housing starts decreased to 1,092,000 annualized units in May from 1,156,000 in April, and housing permits decreased to 1,168,000 annualized units in May from 1,228,000 in the previous month.

The sales, orders, and inventories category made a contribution of +0.02 to the CFNAI in May, up slightly from –0.01 in April.

The CFNAI was constructed using data available as of June 22, 2017. At that time, May data for 51 of the 85 indicators had been published. For all missing data, estimates were used in constructing the index. The April monthly index value was revised to +0.57 from an initial estimate of +0.49, and the March monthly index value was revised to –0.18 from last month’s estimate of +0.07. Revisions to the monthly index can be attributed to two main factors: revisions in previously published data and differences between the estimates of previously unavailable data and subsequently published data. The revision to the April monthly index value was primarily due to the latter, while the revision to the March monthly index value was primarily due to the former.


New Home Sales in May at annual rate of 610,000
Posted: June 23, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Friday)

Sales of new single-family houses in May 2017 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 2.9 percent (±13.0 percent)* above the revised April rate of 593,000 and is 8.9 percent (±21.9 percent)* above the May 2016 estimate of 560,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2017 was $345,800. The average sales price was $406,400. The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 268,000. This represents a supply of 5.3 months at the current sales rate.


Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Activity expanded further in June
Posted: June 22, 2017 at 11:00 AM (Thursday)

Tenth District manufacturing activity expanded further in June, and expectations for future activity remained strong. Price indexes were mixed, with some increases in raw materials prices.

The month-over-month composite index was 11 in June, up from 8 in May and 7 in April. The composite index is an average of the production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time, and raw materials inventory indexes. Activity increased moderately at both durable and non-durable goods plants, particularly for aircraft, computers and electronics, chemicals, and plastics. Month-over-month indexes were mixed. The production index jumped from -1 to 23, and the shipments and employment indexes also increased. On the other hand, the new orders index eased from 9 to 4, and the order backlog index fell into negative territory. Both inventory indexes inched lower.

Most year-over-year factory indexes increased from the previous month. The composite year-over-year index rose from 18 to 28, its highest level since June 2011, and the production, shipment, and new orders indexes also increased moderately. The employment index edged higher from 18 to 24, a five-year high. In contrast, the capital expenditures index eased from 16 to 13 and the order backlog index also moved slightly lower. The raw materials inventory index climbed from 8 to 22, while the finished goods inventory index moderated.

Expectations for future factory activity generally remained strong. The future composite index inched down from 30 to 25, and the future production, shipments, new orders, and order backlog indexes also decreased modestly but remained solidly in positive territory. The future capital expenditures index eased from 23 to 16, while the future employment index increased after falling the past two months. The future raw materials inventory index fell from 10 to 0, and the future finished goods inventory index also decreased.

Price indexes were mixed in June. The month-over-month finished goods price index fell from 8 to -2, while the raw materials price index was mostly unchanged. The raw materials price index edged higher from 44 to 47, while the year-over-year finished goods price index was basically unchanged. The future raw materials price index increased from 37 to 49, while the future finished goods price index eased slightly.


U.S. Leading Economic Index increased 0.3% in May
Posted: June 22, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Thursday)

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3 percent in May to 127.0 (2010 = 100), following a 0.2 percent increase in April, and a 0.4 percent increase in March.

“The U.S. LEI continued on its upward trend in May, suggesting the economy is likely to remain on, or perhaps even moderately above, its long-term trend of about 2 percent growth for the remainder of the year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “The improvement was widespread among the majority of the leading indicators except for housing permits, which declined again. And, the average workweek in manufacturing has recently shown no sign of improvement.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.1 percent in May to 115.3 (2010 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in April, and a 0.1 percent increase in March.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) for the U.S. increased 0.1 percent in May to 124.2 (2010 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in April and a 0.2 percent increase in March.


Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Increase 3,000 to 241,000
Posted: June 22, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Thursday)

In the week ending June 17, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 241,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 237,000 to 238,000. The 4-week moving average was 244,750, an increase of 1,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 243,000 to 243,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending June 10, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 10 was 1,944,000, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 1,000 from 1,935,000 to 1,936,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,932,000, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 1,926,750 to 1,927,000.


Existing-Home Sales Up 1.1% in May
Posted: June 21, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Wednesday)

Existing-home sales rebounded in May following a notable decline in April, and low inventory levels helped propel the median sales price to a new high while pushing down the median days a home is on the market to a new low, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions except for the Midwest saw an increase in sales last month.

Total existing-home sales, https://www.nar.realtor/topics/existing-home-sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, climbed 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million in May from a downwardly revised 5.56 million in April. Last month's sales pace is 2.7 percent above a year ago and is the third highest over the past year.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sales activity expanded in May as more buyers overcame the increasingly challenging market conditions prevalent in many areas. "The job market in most of the country is healthy and the recent downward trend in mortgage rates continues to keep buyer interest at a robust level," he said. "Those able to close on a home last month are probably feeling both happy and relieved. Listings in the affordable price range are scarce, homes are coming off the market at an extremely fast pace and the prevalence of multiple offers in some markets are pushing prices higher."

The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in May was $252,800. This surpasses last June ($247,600) as the new peak median sales price, is up 5.8 percent from May 2016 ($238,900) and marks the 63rd straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory3 at the end of May rose 2.1 percent to 1.96 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 8.4 percent lower than a year ago (2.14 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 24 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.7 months a year ago.

"Home prices keep chugging along at a pace that is not sustainable in the long run," added Yun. "Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it's clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions."

Properties typically stayed on the market for 27 days in May, which is down from 29 days in April and 32 days a year ago; this is the shortest timeframe since NAR began tracking in May 2011. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 94 days in May, while foreclosures sold in 48 days and non-distressed homes took 27 days. Fifty-five percent of homes sold in May were on the market for less than a month (a new high).

Inventory data from realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in May were Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., 20 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 24 days; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 25 days; and Salt Lake City, Utah and Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, both at 26 days.

"With new and existing supply failing to catch up with demand, several markets this summer will continue to see homes going under contract at this remarkably fast pace of under a month," said Yun.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased for the second consecutive month, dipping to 4.01 percent in May from 4.05 percent in April. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

First-time buyers were 33 percent of sales in May, which is down from 34 percent in April but up from 30 percent a year ago. NAR's 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers — released in late 2016 — revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

Earlier this month, NAR hosted the Sustainable Homeownership Conference at University of California's Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. A white paper titled, "Hurdles to Homeownership: Understanding the Barriers," was released, which honed in on the five main reasons why first-time buyers are failing to make up a greater share of the market.

"Of the barriers analyzed in the white paper, single-family housing shortages will be the biggest challenge for prospective first-time buyers this year," said President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California. "Those hoping to buy an entry-level, single-family home continue to see minimal choices. The best advice for these home shoppers is to know what you can afford, lean on the guidance of a Realtor® and act fast once an ideal property within the budget is listed."

All-cash sales were 22 percent of transactions in May, up from 21 percent in April and unchanged from a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 16 percent of homes in May, up from 15 percent in April and 13 percent a year ago. Sixty-four percent of investors paid in cash in May.

Distressed sales — foreclosures and short sales — were 5 percent of sales in May, unchanged from April and down from 6 percent a year ago. Four percent of May sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value in May (18 percent in April), while short sales were discounted 16 percent (12 percent in April).
Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales increased 1.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million in May from 4.93 million in April, and are now 2.7 percent above the 4.85 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $254,600 in May, up 6.0 percent from May 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales climbed 1.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 640,000 units in May, and are 3.2 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $238,700 in May, which is 4.8 percent above a year ago.
Regional Breakdown

May existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 6.8 percent to an annual rate of 780,000, and are now 2.6 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $281,300, which is 4.7 percent above May 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales fell 5.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million in May, and are 0.8 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $203,900, up 7.3 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South rose 2.2 percent to an annual rate of 2.34 million, and are now 4.5 percent above May 2016. The median price in the South was $221,900, up 5.3 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.22 million in May, and are now 3.4 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $368,800, up 6.9 percent from May 2016.


Purchase Apps up, Refi's up in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Posted: June 21, 2017 at 07:00 AM (Wednesday)

Mortgage applications increased 0.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 16, 2017.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 0.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 0.4 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 2 percent from the previous week to its highest level since November 2016. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 9 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 46.6 percent of total applications from 45.4 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.5 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 10.1 percent from 11.2 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.4 percent from 11.1 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.7 percent from 0.8 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) remained unchanged at 4.13 percent, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.35 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $424,100) increased to 4.08 percent from 4.06 percent, with points increasing to 0.30 from 0.24 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 4.04 percent from 4.00 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.29 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.40 percent from 3.37 percent, with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.34 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs remained unchanged at 3.26 percent, with points increasing to 0.22 from 0.20 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.


University of Michigan Consumer Confidence Preliminary June Results at 94.5
Posted: June 16, 2017 at 10:00 AM (Friday)

The modest early June drop of 2.6 points in the Sentiment Index masks a much larger decline since June 8th. Prior to that date the Sentiment Index had averaged 97.7, but since June 8th, the Index fell to 86.7, a decline of 11.0 points. While this break corresponds with James Comey's testimony, only a few consumers spontaneously referred to him or his testimony when asked to explain their views. Importantly, the decline was observed across all political parties, but the loss in confidence among self-identified Republicans since June 8th was larger than among Democrats (9.2 vs. 6.8 Index-points), with Independents showing the greatest falloff (11.5 Index-points). The size of the partisan difference between Democrats and Republicans in the Expectations Index, however, was largely unchanged (55.6 Index-points prior to June 8th, and 51.2 after). The recent erosion of confidence was due to more negative perceptions of the proposed economic policies among Democrats and the reduced likelihood of passage of these policies among Republicans. Fortunately, a strong job market, improved household income and wealth have provided a financial buffer against rising uncertainties. Nonetheless, consumers have become less optimistic about the future course of the domestic economy. Even with the expected bounce back in spending in the current quarter, personal consumption is expected to advance by 2.3% for all of 2017.


May Housing Starts down 5.5%, Permits down 4.9%
Posted: June 16, 2017 at 08:30 AM (Friday)

Building Permits
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,168,000. This is 4.9 percent (±0.9 percent) below the revised April rate of 1,228,000 and is 0.8 percent (±1.1 percent)* below the May 2016 rate of 1,178,000. Single-family authorizations in May were at a rate of 779,000; this is 1.9 percent (±1.0 percent) below the revised April figure of 794,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 358,000 in May.

Housing Starts
Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,092,000. This is 5.5 percent (±11.9 percent)* below the revised April estimate of 1,156,000 and is 2.4 percent (±11.4 percent)* below the May 2016 rate of 1,119,000. Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 794,000; this is 3.9 percent (±10.4 percent)* below the revised April figure of 826,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 284,000.

Housing Completions
Privately-owned housing completions in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,164,000. This is 5.6 percent (±9.2 percent)* above the revised April estimate of 1,102,000 and is 14.6 percent (±10.9 percent) above the May 2016 rate of 1,016,000. Single-family housing completions in May were at a rate of 817,000; this is 4.9 percent (±11.6 percent)* above the revised April rate of 779,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 335,000.


Treasury International Capital Data for April 2017
Posted: June 15, 2017 at 04:00 PM (Thursday)

The U.S. Department of the Treasury today released Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for April 2017. The sum total in April of all net foreign acquisitions of long-term securities, short-term U.S. securities, and banking flows was a monthly net TIC inflow of $65.8 billion. Of this, net foreign private inflows were $72.8 billion, and net foreign official outflows were $7.0 billion.

Foreign residents decreased their holdings of long-term U.S. securities in April; net sales were $0.8 billion. Net purchases by private foreign investors were $1.4 billion, while net sales by foreign official institutions were $2.2 billion. U.S. residents decreased their holdings of long-term foreign securities, with net sales of $2.7 billion.

Taking into account transactions in both foreign and U.S. securities, net foreign purchases of long-term securities were $1.8 billion. After including adjustments, such as estimates of unrecorded principal payments to foreigners on U.S. asset-backed securities, overall net foreign sales of long-term securities are estimated to have been $11.2 billion in April.

Foreign residents increased their holdings of U.S. Treasury bills by $7.2 billion. Foreign resident holdings of all dollar-denominated short-term U.S. securities and other custody liabilities increased by $26.0 billion. Banks' own net dollar-denominated liabilities to foreign residents increased by $51.0 billion.


Tags - Research
ADP EMPLOYMENT
BEIGE BOOK
BUSINESS BAROMETER
BUSINESS INVENTORIES
CASE-SHILLER
CHALLENGER LAYOFFS
CHICAGO FED MIDWEST MFG
CHICAGO FED NATL ACTIVITY
CHICAGO PMI
CONSTRUCTION SPENDING
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE
CONSUMER CREDIT
CPI
CURRENT ACCOUNT
DURABLE GOODS
EMPLOYMENT COST INDEX
EMPLOYMENT TRENDS INDEX
EXISTING HOME SALES
FACTORY ORDERS
FOMC STMT
FOMC
GDP
HELP WANTED HWOL
HOUSING STARTS
ICSC CHAIN STORE
IMPORT PRICE INDEX
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION
INTERNATIONAL TRADE
ISM MFG
ISM NON-MFG
JOB OPENINGS
JOBLESS CLAIMS
KANSAS CITY FED MFG
LEADING INDEX
MASS LAYOFFS
MICH CONSUMER CONFIDENCE
MORTGAGE APPS
NAHB INDEX
NAPM-NY
NBER
NEW HOME SALES
NEW YORK FED MFG
NFIB OPTIMISM INDEX
NONFARM EMPLOYMENT
PAYCHEX-IHS SMALL JOBS
PENDING HOME SALES
PERSONAL INCOME
PHILA FED FORECASTERS
PHILA FED MFG
PHILA FED NON-MFG
PPI
PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH
REAL HOURLY EARNINGS
RETAIL SALES
RICHMOND FED MFG
TEXAS FED MFG
TREASURY INTL CAPITAL
WHOLESALE INVENTORIES
Archives
Jul 2017
Jun 2017
May 2017
Apr 2017
Mar 2017
Feb 2017
Jan 2017
Dec 2016
Nov 2016
Oct 2016
Sep 2016
Aug 2016
Jul 2016
Jun 2016
May 2016
Apr 2016
Mar 2016
Feb 2016
Jan 2016
Dec 2015
Nov 2015
Oct 2015
Sep 2015
Aug 2015
Jul 2015
Jun 2015
May 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Feb 2015
Jan 2015
Dec 2014
Nov 2014
Oct 2014
Sep 2014
Aug 2014
Jul 2014
Jun 2014
May 2014
Apr 2014
Mar 2014
Feb 2014
Jan 2014
Dec 2013
Nov 2013
Oct 2013
Sep 2013
Aug 2013
Jul 2013
Jun 2013
May 2013
Apr 2013
Mar 2013
Feb 2013
Jan 2013
Dec 2012
Nov 2012
Oct 2012
Sep 2012
Aug 2012
Jul 2012
Jun 2012
May 2012
Apr 2012
Mar 2012
Feb 2012
Jan 2012
Dec 2011
Nov 2011
Oct 2011
Sep 2011
Aug 2011
Jul 2011
Jun 2011
May 2011
Apr 2011
Mar 2011
Feb 2011
Jan 2011
Dec 2010
Nov 2010
Oct 2010
Sep 2010
Aug 2010
Jul 2010
Jun 2010
May 2010
Apr 2010
Mar 2010
Feb 2010
Jan 2010
Dec 2009
Nov 2009
Oct 2009
Sep 2009
Aug 2009
Jul 2009
Jun 2009
May 2009
Apr 2009
Mar 2009
Feb 2009
Jan 2009
Dec 2008
Nov 2008
Oct 2008
Sep 2008
Aug 2008




Buy Economic Books at

The OneWall.com Book Shop

Quick Links
Barron's Online
Bloomberg
CNBC
CNBC TV Live
CNet Investor
Financial Times (UK)
Forbes
Kudlow Podcast
MSNBC TV Live
NBC News
NY Times
The Economist
TheStreet.com
Wall St Journal
Dismal Scientist
Dr. Ed Yardeni
FRED Graph
Lawrence Kudlow
Stone McCarthy
GDPNow
NABE
ABC News
CNNfn
Institutional Investor
MarketWatch
Cash Prices - WSJ.com
Dr. Jeremy Siegel
Market Map
NY RBOB Gas
Shadow Fed - SOMC
BankStocks.com
Dow Jones Indices
Morningstar
SP Indices
Mt Washington Observatory
Weather.com
Yahoo!!




National Association for Business Economics
NABE

Founded in 1920, the National Bureau of Economic Research is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works.

CFA Institute

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was created to examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States.

The Moment of Truth: Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform