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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for March 2021

The National Federation of Independent Business® (NFIB®) released its Small Business Optimism Index for March 2021:

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Predicted: 100.0
Actual: 98.2

  • Change from Previous Month: +2.505% (+2.4 points.)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: +1.867% (+1.8 points.)

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NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - March 2021 Update
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index
March 2021 Update

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From today's report:


"...Small Business Owners Struggle To Find Qualified Workers

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 2.4 points in March to 98.2. March’s reading is the first return to the average historical reading since last November. The NFIB Uncertainty Index increased six points to 81, which was primarily driven by owners being more uncertain about whether it is a good time to expand their business and make capital expenditures in the coming months.

 'Main Street is doing better as state and local restrictions are eased, but finding qualified labor is a critical issue for small businesses nationwide, ' said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.  'Small business owners are competing with the pandemic and increased unemployment benefits that are keeping some workers out of the labor force. However, owners remain determined to hire workers and grow their business. '

Other key findings include:

  ---  Seven of the 10 Index components improved and three declined.

  ---  Sales expectations over the next three months improved eight points to a net 0% of owners, a historically low level.

  ---  Earnings trends over the past three months declined four points to a net negative 15%.

As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, 42% of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a record high reading. Owners continue to have difficulty finding qualified workers to fill jobs as they compete with increased unemployment benefits and the pandemic keeping some workers out of the labor force.

A net 28% of owners reported raising compensation (up three points) and the highest level in the past 12 months. A net 17% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, down two points.

Seven percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 24% said that labor quality was their top business problem. Finding eligible workers to fill open positions will become increasingly difficult for small business owners.

Fifty-nine percent of owners reported capital outlays in the next six months, up two points from February. Of those making expenditures, 41% reported spending on new equipment, 26% acquired vehicles, and 14% improved or expanded facilities. Six percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion and 11% spent money for new fixtures and furniture.

Twenty percent of owners plan capital outlays in the next few months, down three points from February. Owners are not planning on investing in their businesses as expected future sales and business conditions remain below average.

A net negative 6% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, down eight points from February. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes improved eight points to a net negative 0%..."

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  • Small business survey questions can be found at the end of today's report.
  • The baseline "100" score is associated with 1986 survey data.
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The previous month's Small Business Optimism Index was 95.8.

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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March 2021

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March 2021:

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Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.6%

  • Change From 12 Months Previous: +2.6%

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Below is the CPI when food and energy are removed, also known as core CPI:

Predicted: 0.4%
Actual: 0.3%

  • Change From 12 Months Previous: +1.6%

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The above, yellow-highlighted figures represent the seasonally adjusted, month-to-month change in prices for a specific group of goods and services that consumers buy, and is, therefore, a very important part of the overall inflation picture for the country.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

General categories that constitute the CPI are:

  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Clothing
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Food and Beverages
  • Recreation
  • Miscellaneous Goods and Services (grooming expenses, etc.)

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Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI) March 2021 Update
Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI)
March 2021 Update

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Friday, April 09, 2021

Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for March 2021

The Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for March 2021 was released this morning:

Predicted: +0.8%
Actual: +1.0%

Change from 12 months previous:  +4.2%

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Below is the PPI-FD when food, energy and trade services are removed:

Predicted: +0.5%
Actual: +0.6%

Change from 12 months previous:  +3.1%

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The above, yellow-highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in prices received by domestic producers of goods and services, for goods, services and construction in the United States, for final demand.

Final Demand = personal consumption (consumers), exports, government purchases and capital investment.

The PPI-FD is released by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.


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CHART: Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) March 2021 Update
CHART: Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD)
March 2021 Update

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Thursday, April 08, 2021

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of April 3, 2021

Jobless Claims
Jobless Claims

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on April 3, 2021:

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Predicted: 700,000

  • Actual: 744,000
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The yellow-highlighted figure represents the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

  • Previous Week (revised): 728,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 723,750

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Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for February 2021

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS*) for February 2021 was released by the Labor Department this morning:

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Job Openings

Predicted: 7,000,000
Actual:    7,367,000

  • Previous Month (revised): 7,099,000

  • One Year Previous: 7,012,000

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Hires: 5,738,000 

Total Separations §: 5,456,000 

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The above, yellow-highlighted percentage represents the estimated number of job openings in the United States during the indicated month. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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From Today's Release:

"...Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on February 2021 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Data

Data collection for the JOLTS survey was affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While 42% of data are usually collected by phone at the JOLTS data collection center, most phone respondents were asked to report electronically. However, data collection was adversely impacted due to the inability to reach some respondents that normally respond by phone.

The JOLTS response rate for February was 45%, while response rates prior to the pandemic averaged 54%. More information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the JOLTS survey, including information about the JOLTS estimation methodology, is available at www.bls.gov/covid19/job-openings-and-labor-turnover-covid19-february-2021.htm.
.."

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Chart: Total Nonfarm Hires and Separation Rates February 2021 Update

Chart: Total Nonfarm Hires and Separation Rates
February 2021 Update
 
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§ = Here's How The Labor Department Defines Total Separations:

"Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations is referred to as turnover. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer. Other separations includes separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm."

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Monday, April 05, 2021

U.S. Factory Orders During February 2021

The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released their report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders -- also known as Factory Orders -- for February 2021:

Predicted: -1.0%
Actual: -0.802% (-$4,056,000,000)

  • February 2021 New Orders: $505,680,000,000.

  • January 2021 New Orders: $509,736,000,000.

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The yellow-highlighted percentage is the month-to-month change in orders for both durable and nondurable goods made by U.S. manufacturers. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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Chart: U.S. Factory Orders - February 2021 Update
Chart: U.S. Factory Orders - February 2021 Update
 
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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for March 2021

The Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) for this month (March 2021) was released by The Conference Board® this morning:

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Predicted: 95.0
  • Actual: 109.7

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Previous Month (revised): 90.4

  • Change from Previous Month: +21.35% (+19.3 points)
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The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

From Today's Report:

"...'Consumer Confidence increased to its highest level since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020,' said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 'Consumers’ assessment of current conditions and their short-term outlook improved significantly, an indication that economic growth is likely to strengthen further in the coming months. Consumers’ renewed optimism boosted their purchasing intentions for homes, autos and several big-ticket items. However, concerns of inflation in the short-term rose, most likely due to rising prices at the pump, and may temper spending intentions in the months ahead.'..."

Every month, The Conference Board sends a questionnaire to 5,000 U.S. households. Survey participants are polled about their feelings regarding the U.S. economy, current and future, and about their own fiscal circumstances. On average, 3,500 participants complete and return the 5-question survey.

  • The baseline "100" score for the CCI is associated with 1985 survey data.

When consumers feel good about the economy, they tend to do more spending, and vice versa.

Based in New York City, The Conference Board is a private, not-for-profit organization with a mission to, "create and disseminate knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society."

The CCI is usually released on the last Tuesday of the month.

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Friday, March 26, 2021

PCE Price Index + Personal Income + Consumer Spending Report for February 2021

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its report on The PCE Price Index, Consumer Spending and Personal Income for February 2021:

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Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)

Predicted: -0.5%

  • Actual: -1.0%
  • Actual (2012 Chained* Dollars): -1.2%
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Personal Income

Predicted: -5.0%
  • Actual: -7.1%
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  • Disposable Personal Income, Current Dollars: -8.0%
  • Disposable Personal Income (2012 Chained* Dollars): -8.2%

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The above highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in Consumer Spending (aka Personal Consumption Expenditures), Personal Income and Disposable Personal Income for the entire United States.

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CHART: Month-to-Month Change in Consumer Spending February 2021 Update
CHART: Month-to-Month Change in Consumer Spending
February 2021 Update

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Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index
Predicted: Unchanged
Actual: 0.2% 

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.6%
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Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: 0.1%
Actual: 0.1%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.4%
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The yellow-highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in the prices associated with domestic personal consumption.  The PCE Price Index is different from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in that it is a very broad measure of the prices associated with domestic products and services, while the CPI measures a more limited fixed basket of goods and services.

The broad nature of the PCE Price Index is key to why it is the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) pays very close attention to it.

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The "predicted" figures are what economists were expecting, while the "actual" figures are the true or real figure.


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*Chained dollars is a method of adjusting real dollar amounts for inflation over time, so as to allow comparison of figures from different years. The Commerce Department introduced the chained-dollar measure in 1996. Chained dollars generally reflect dollar figures computed with 2012 as the base year.


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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February 2021

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February 2021:

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Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.4%

  • Change From 12 Months Previous: +1.7%

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Below is the CPI when food and energy are removed, also known as core CPI:

Predicted: 0.1%
Actual: 0.1%

  • Change From 12 Months Previous: +1.3%

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The above, yellow-highlighted figures represent the seasonally adjusted, month-to-month change in prices for a specific group of goods and services that consumers buy, and is, therefore, a very important part of the overall inflation picture for the country.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

General categories that constitute the CPI are:

  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Clothing
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Food and Beverages
  • Recreation
  • Miscellaneous Goods and Services (grooming expenses, etc.)

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Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI) February 2021 Update
Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI)
February 2021 Update 

 
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Tuesday, March 09, 2021

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for February 2021

The National Federation of Independent Business® (NFIB®) released its Small Business Optimism Index (SBOI) for February 2021:

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Predicted: 95.0
Actual: 95.8

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  • Change from Previous Month: +0.842% (+ 0.8 point)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: -8.325% (-8.7 points)

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  • The January 2021 SBOI reading was 95.0

  • The February 2020 SBOI reading was 104.5


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NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for February 2021
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index
February 2021 Update

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From Today's Report:


"...'Small business owners worked hard in February to overcome unexpected weather conditions along with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,' said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. 'Capital spending has been strong, but not on Main Street. The economic recovery remains uneven for small businesses, especially those still managing state and local regulations and restrictions. Congress and the Biden administration must keep small businesses a priority as they plan future policy legislation.'..."

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  • Small business survey questions can be found at the end of today's report.
  • The baseline "100" score is associated with 1986 survey data.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

New Home Sales During January 2021

The January 2021 New Home Sales report was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

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Predicted: 900,000
  • Actual New Home Sales: 923,000

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  • Change from One Month Previous: +38,000 units (+4.294%)

  • Change from One Year Previous: +149,000 units (+19.251%)


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Median Price for a New Home
during January 2021: $346,400

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Average Price for a New Home
during January 2021: $408,800

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Inventory: 307,000 (4.0 months supply at current sales rate; seasonally‐adjusted.)

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CHART: New Home Sales January 2021 Update

CHART: New Home Sales
January 2021 Update

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Compiled jointly by the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the yellow-highlighted figure above is the seasonally adjusted and annualized number of newly-built homes with committed buyers for the indicated month.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The New Home Sales report is watched by economists and investors because it offers insight into the state of the U.S. housing market, and also provides data that can be used to predict sales of large household furniture and appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, microwave ovens, etc.


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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January 2021

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January 2021:

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Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.3%

  • Change From 12 Months Previous: +1.4%

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Below is the CPI when food and energy are removed, also known as core CPI:

Predicted: Unchanged
Actual: Unchanged

  • Change From 12 Months Previous: +1.4%

=========================================

The above, yellow-highlighted figures represent the seasonally adjusted, month-to-month change in prices for a specific group of goods and services that consumers buy, and is, therefore, a very important part of the overall inflation picture for the country.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

General categories that constitute the CPI are:

  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Clothing
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Food and Beverages
  • Recreation
  • Miscellaneous Goods and Services (grooming expenses, etc.)

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Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI) January 2021 Update

Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI)
January 2021 Update 
 
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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Housing Starts During December 2020

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released its Housing Starts report for December 2020:

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,600,000
Actual: 1,669,000

Change From Previous Month: +5.767% (+,91,000 units)
Change From One Year Previous: +5.167% (+82,000 units)

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,600,000
Actual: 1,709,000

Change From Previous Month: +4.526% (+74,000 permits)
Change From One Year Previous: +17.296% (+252,000 permits)

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Housing Starts: The top, yellow-highlighted figure is a measure of initial construction of single and multi-family residential units in the United States for the indicated month. Seasonally adjusted annual rate. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

If you're wondering about the demand for new homes in the United States, or about the American residential construction industry in general, then you should pay attention to the monthly Housing Starts report. This report also offers insight into specific types of consumer spending: when housing starts are up, demand for the stuff that a consumer would purchase for a new home (large appliances, consumer electronics, furniture, etc.) tends to also rise -- and vice versa.


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CHART: Housing Starts December 2020 Update

CHART: Housing Starts
December 2020 Update


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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

PCE Price Index + Personal Income + Consumer Spending Report for November 2020

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its report on The PCE Price Index, Consumer Spending and Personal Income for November 2020:

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Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)

Predicted: -0.5%

  • Actual: -0.4%
  • Actual (2012 Chained* Dollars): -0.4%
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Personal Income

Predicted: -1.0%
  • Actual: -1.1%
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  • Disposable Personal Income, Current Dollars: -1.2%
  • Disposable Personal Income (2012 Chained* Dollars): -1.3%

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The above highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in Consumer Spending (aka Personal Consumption Expenditures), Personal Income and Disposable Personal Income for the entire United States.

=============

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CHART: Change in Personal Income - November 2020 Update
CHART: Change in Personal Income
November 2020 Update
 
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Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index
Predicted: Unchanged
Actual: Unchanged 

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.1%
=====================

Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: Unchanged
Actual: Unchanged

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.4%
=====================

The yellow-highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in the prices associated with domestic personal consumption.  The PCE Price Index is different from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in that it is a very broad measure of the prices associated with domestic products and services, while the CPI measures a more limited fixed basket of goods and services.

The broad nature of the PCE Price Index is key to why it is the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) pays very close attention to it.

=====================

The "predicted" figures are what economists were expecting, while the "actual" figures are the true or real figure.


=====================

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*Chained dollars is a method of adjusting real dollar amounts for inflation over time, so as to allow comparison of figures from different years. The Commerce Department introduced the chained-dollar measure in 1996. Chained dollars generally reflect dollar figures computed with 2012 as the base year.

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New Home Sales During November 2020

The November 2020 New Home Sales report was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

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Predicted: 850,000
  • Actual New Home Sales: 841,000

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  • Change from One Month Previous: -104,000 units (-11.005%)

  • Change from One Year Previous: +145,000 units (+20.833%)


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Median Price for a New Home
during November 2020: $335,300

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Average Price for a New Home
during November 2020: $390,100

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Inventory: 286,000 (4.1 months supply at current sales rate; seasonally‐adjusted.)

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CHART: New Home Sales - November 2020 Update

CHART: New Home Sales
November 2020 Update

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Compiled jointly by the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the yellow-highlighted figure above is the seasonally adjusted and annualized number of newly-built homes with committed buyers for the indicated month.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The New Home Sales report is watched by economists and investors because it offers insight into the state of the U.S. housing market, and also provides data that can be used to predict sales of large household furniture and appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, microwave ovens, etc.


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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Existing Home Sales During November 2020

The Existing Home Sales report for November 2020 was released by The National Association of Realtors® (NAR®) this morning:

Predicted: 6,500,000
Actual: 6,690,000

  •  Change from Previous Month: -2.478% (-170,000 homes)

  •  Change from One Year Previous: +25.752% (+1,370,000 homes)
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Inventory: 1,280,000 (2.3 months supply)

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The yellow-highlighted, "actual" figure above represents the preliminary, seasonally adjusted annualized sales count of existing homes, co-ops and condominiums for the indicated month. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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Median Price for A Used Home During November 2020: $310,800

Change from One Year Previous: +14.56% (+$39,500)

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Average Price for A Used Home During November 2020: $343,000

Change from One Year Previous: +11.291% (+$34,800)



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From Today's Report:


"...Existing-home sales fell in November, snapping a five-month streak of month-over-month gains, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions either took a step back or held steady in terms of their respective month-over-month status, but each of the four areas experienced significant year-over-year growth.

Total existing-home sales, https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, decreased 2.5% from October to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million in November. However, sales in total rose year-over-year, up 25.8% from a year ago (5.32 million in November 2019).

'Home sales in November took a marginal step back, but sales for all of 2020 are already on pace to surpass last year's levels,' said
Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. 'Given the COVID-19 pandemic, it's amazing that the housing sector is outperforming expectations.'

Yun notes that job recoveries have stalled in the past few months, and fast-rising coronavirus cases along with stricter lockdowns have weakened consumer confidence.

'Circumstances are far from being back to the pre-pandemic normal,' he said. 'However, the latest stimulus package and with the vaccine distribution underway, and a very strong demand for homeownership still prevalent, robust growth is forthcoming for 2021.'

The median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $310,800, up 14.6% from November 2019 ($271,300), as prices increased in every region. November's national price increase marks 105 straight months of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of November totaled 1.28 million units, down 9.9% from October and down 22% from one year ago (1.64 million). Unsold inventory sits at an all-time low 2.3-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 2.5 months in October and down from the 3.7-month figure recorded in November 2019.

Properties typically remained on the market for 21 days in November, seasonally even with October and down from 38 days in November 2019. Seventy-three percent of homes sold in November 2020 were on the market for less than a month.

'The positive momentum that home sellers are seeing will carry on well into the new year,' Yun predicted, citing low mortgage rates and remote-work flexibilities.

Yun's projections of a continued housing market rebound were the consensus among economic and housing experts during NAR's Real Estate Forecast Summit, held earlier this month. Industry insiders in attendance agreed that mortgage rates will hover around 3% in the coming year, and said they expect an annual median home price increase of 8.0%.

'Housing affordability, which had greatly benefitted from falling mortgage rates, are now being challenged due to record-high home prices,' Yun said. 'That could place strain on some potential consumers, particularly first-time buyers.'

First-time buyers were responsible for 32% of sales in November, equal to the percentage seen in both October 2020 and November 2019. NAR's 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers -- released last month -- revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 31%.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14% of homes in November, identical to the share recorded in October 2020 and a small decline from 16% in October 2019. All-cash sales accounted for 20% of transactions in November, up from 19% in October but unchanged from November 2019.

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – represented less than 1% of sales in November, equal to October's percentage but down from 2% in November 2019.

'While we still face economic and health challenges ahead, I have zero doubt that the nation will continue to recover from this pandemic,' said NAR President Charlie Oppler, a Realtor® from Franklin Lakes, N.J., and broker/owner of Prominent Properties Sotheby's International Realty. 'Whether it's through volunteering or philanthropy, or helping a given buyer secure that dream home, Realtors® have stepped up in a major way and we will continue with those efforts in 2021 and beyond.'

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 2.77% in November, down from 2.83% in October. The average commitment rate across all of 2019 was 3.94%.
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Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for December 2020

The Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) for this month (December 2020) was released by The Conference Board® this morning:

================

Predicted: 95.0
  • Actual: 88.6

================

Previous Month (revised): 92.9

  • Change from Previous Month: -4.629% (-4.3 points)
================

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

From Today's Report:

"...'Consumers’ assessment of current conditions deteriorated sharply in December, as the resurgence of COVID-19 remains a drag on confidence,' said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 'As a result, consumers’ vacation intentions, which had notably improved in October, have retreated. On the flip side, as consumers continue to hunker down at home, intentions to purchase appliances have risen. Overall, it appears that growth has weakened further in Q4, and consumers do not foresee the economy gaining any significant momentum in early 2021.'..."

Every month, The Conference Board sends a questionnaire to 5,000 U.S. households. Survey participants are polled about their feelings regarding the U.S. economy, current and future, and about their own fiscal circumstances. On average, 3,500 participants complete and return the 5-question survey.

  • The baseline "100" score for the CCI is associated with 1985 survey data.

When consumers feel good about the economy, they tend to do more spending, and vice versa.

Based in New York City, The Conference Board is a private, not-for-profit organization with a mission to, "create and disseminate knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society."

The CCI is usually released on the last Tuesday of the month.

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Friday, December 18, 2020

Leading Economic Index for November 2020

The Conference Board® released its Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for November 2020 this morning:

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Index for November 2020: 109.1 (The baseline 100 score is associated with 2016 data.)

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Predicted: +0.5%

  • Actual: +0.646% (+0.7 point)

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  • LEI for October 2020: 108.4

  • LEI for September 2020: 107.5

  • LEI for August 2020: 106.7
     
  • LEI for July 2020: 105.0

  • LEI for June 2020: 102.9
     
  • LEI for May 2020: 99.8

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The yellow-highlighted percentage is the month-to-month change for the index.  The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The LEI is a composite of 10 of the nation's economic data releases that's put together by The Conference Board. Statistically, the components listed below have shown a significant increase or decrease before national economic upturns or downturns:

  1. The Standard + Poor's 500 Index

  2. Average weekly claims for unemployment insurance

  3. Building permits for new private housing

  4. The interest rate spread between the yield on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury Note and Federal Funds

  5. ISM® Index of New Orders

  6. Manufacturer's new orders for consumer goods or materials

  7. Manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders

  8. Average weekly manufacturing hours

  9. Average consumer expectations for business conditions

  10. Leading Credit Index™

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CHART: Leading Economic Index - November 2020 Update
CHART: Leading Economic Index
November 2020 Update

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CHART: Leading Economic Index - Six-Month Growth November 2020 Update
CHART: Leading Economic Index - Six-Month Growth
November 2020 Update

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From Today's Report:

"...'The US LEI continued rising in November, but its pace of improvement has been decelerating in recent months, suggesting a significant moderation in growth as the US economy heads into 2021,' said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. 'Initial claims for unemployment insurance, new orders for manufacturing, residential construction permits, and stock prices made the largest positive contributions to the LEI. However, falling average working hours in manufacturing and consumers’ worsening outlook underscore the downside risks to growth from a second wave of COVID-19 and high unemployment.'..."

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Thursday, December 17, 2020

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of December 12, 2020

Jobless Claims
Jobless Claims

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on December 12, 2020:

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Predicted: 800,000

  • Actual: 885,000
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The yellow-highlighted figure represents the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

  • Previous Week (revised): 862,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 812,500

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