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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Thursday, April 02, 2020

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 28, 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 March 28, 2020:

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Predicted: 3,350,000

  • Actual: 6,648,000 (This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.)
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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): 3,307,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 2,612,000

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

From This Morning's Report:

"...The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims. Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus. States continued to identify increases related to the services industries broadly, again led by accommodation and food services. However, state comments indicated a wider impact across industries. Many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance, and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries..."

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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 27, 2020

Crude Oil Inventories
Crude Oil Inventories

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on March 27, 2020 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: +13,800,000 Barrels

-- Change from A Year Ago (Y/Y): +19,700,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 469,200,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).



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ISM Manufacturing Index for March 2020

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) released their Manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI®) for March 2020:

Predicted: 44.0%

  • Actual: 49.1% (-1.0 point month-on-month change)

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Previous month: 50.1%

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Every month, the ISM surveys purchasing and supply executives at hundreds of companies across the country who are involved in manufacturing in some form. The resulting index is watched closely by academics, economists and investors because manufacturing accounts for about 12% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The PMI is a reliable barometer of U.S. manufacturing: A PMI above 50% implies that U.S. manufacturing expanded during the month specified, while a reading below 50% implies that the made-in-the-USA sector contracted.

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From Today's Report:

"...Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in March, and the overall economy grew for the 131st consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®..."
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The following is a sampling of quotes from a diverse pool of U.S. manufacturers:


  •     “COVID-19 is impacting China’s raw material supply chain. We are now seeing revenue impact in that region. Our operations team is reviewing plans for spread of the virus.”
     (Computer + Electronic Products)

  •     “The two main issues affecting our business [are] COVID-19 and the oil-price war. We are in daily discussions and meeting constantly, updating tracking logs to document high risk concerns.”
     (Chemical Products)

  •     “COVID-19 impact has extended to Europe and North America. The virus escalation is affecting our purchasing and logistics operations. We have incurred air-shipment and production interruptions due to shortages of raw materials and components.”
     (Transportation Equipment)

  •     “We are experiencing a record number of orders due to COVID-19.”
     (Food, Beverage + Tobacco Products)

  •     “World demand for petroleum products is declining, while supply is ramping up. We have lost supply chain visibility to certain locations.”
     (Petroleum + Coal Products)

  •     “COVID-19’s spread in the U.S. may start impacting our domestic business. As for Asian suppliers, they are starting to get back up to speed.”
     (Fabricated Metal Products)

  •     “COVID-19 has caused a 30-percent reduction in productivity in our factory.”
     (Machinery)

  •     “A big part of our business is hospitality, and we are seeing demand drop and an increase in cancellations.”
     (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)

  •     “All North American manufacturing plants have ceased operations or drastically scaled back as a result of customer plant closings and other responses to COVID-19.”
     (Plastics + Rubber Products)

  •     “Volumes are down 4.3 percent, and some areas of the supply chain are being affected by the coronavirus.”
     (Furniture + Related Products)

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ISM Manufacturing Index - 12 Month History - March 2020 Update
ISM Manufacturing Index - 12 Month History
March 2020 Update

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for March 2020

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

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Predicted: 110.0
  • Actual: 120.0

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Previous Month (revised): 132.6
 
  • Change from Previous Month: -9.502% (-12.6 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 declined sharply in March due to a deterioration in the short-term outlook,' said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 'The Present Situation Index remained relatively strong, reflective of an economy that was on solid footing, and prior to the recent surge in unemployment claims. However, the intensification of COVID-19 and extreme volatility in the financial markets have increased uncertainty about the outlook for the economy and jobs. March’s decline in confidence is more in line with a severe contraction -- rather than a temporary shock -- and further declines are sure to follow.'..."

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 27, 2020

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

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

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Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

----------------------

Personal Income
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.6%

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  • Disposable Personal Income, Current Dollars: +0.5%
  • Disposable Personal Income, 2012 Chained* Dollars: +0.4%

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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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Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.1%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.8%
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Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.8%
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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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Chart: Disposable Personal Income and Real Consumer Spending - February 2020 Update
Chart: Disposable Personal Income and Real Consumer Spending
February 2020 Update

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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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Consumer Sentiment: Final Result for March 2020

The University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) - Final Result for March 2020 was released today:

Predicted: 92.0
Actual: 89.1

  • Change from Previous Month: -11.782% (-11.9 points)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: -9.451% (-9.3 points)

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  • Final ICS Reading for February 2020: 101.0

  • Final ICS Reading for  March 2019: 98.4

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From today's report:

"...Consumer sentiment dropped 11.9 Index-points in March, the fourth largest one-month decline in nearly a half century. The steepest monthly decline was barely larger at -12.7 Index-points in response to the deepening recession in October 2008, and there were two declines of 12.2 points in response to the 1980 recession and Hurricane Katrina in September 2005. The 1980 and 2008 collapses in consumer confidence sparked long and deep recessions. The Katrina decline was reversed within three months, and some observers compared that "V" shaped economic episode to the expected impact of the coronavirus. What didn't show a "V" shape response was the recovery of New Orleans, a closer comparison to today's national economy.
A more comparable prior decline occurred in August 1990, when the Sentiment Index fell by 11.8 points due to the invasion of Kuwait, and subsequently recorded an all-time record gain of 17.3 points in March 1991. Those two outsized changes in the Sentiment Index defined the start and end of the 1990-91 recession. Just as in the 1990-91 episode, the Sentiment Index can be expected to decline in the months ahead.

Following trendless variations in February, the Index posted sharp declines in March. If the Consumer Sentiment Index were to stabilize at its most recent seven-day average, it would imply an additional decline of nearly 18.2 Index-points in April, which would amount to a record setting two-month decline of 30.1 points. Stabilizing confidence at its month's end level will be difficult given surging unemployment and falling household incomes. The extent of additional declines in April will depend on the success in curtailing the spread of the virus and how quickly households receive funds to relieve their financial hardships. Mitigating the negative impacts on health and finances may curb rising pessimism, but it will not produce optimism.

There is no silver bullet that could end the pandemic as suddenly as the military victory that ended the Gulf war. To avoid an extended recession, economic policies must quickly adapt to a new era that will reorder the spending and saving priorities of consumers as well as the relative roles of the public and private sectors in the U.S. economy..."

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The ICS is derived from the following five survey questions:


  1. "We are interested in how people are getting along financially these days. Would you say that you (and your family living there) are better off or worse off financially than you were a year ago?"


  2. "Now looking ahead, do you think that a year from now you (and your family living there) will be better off financially, or worse off, or just about the same as now?"


  3. "Now turning to business conditions in the country as a whole, do you think that during the next twelve months we'll have good times financially, or bad times, or what?"


  4. "Looking ahead, which would you say is more likely: that in the country as a whole we'll have continuous good times during the next five years or so, or that we will have periods of widespread unemployment or depression, or what?"


  5. "About the big things people buy for their homes, such as furniture, a refrigerator, stove, television, and things like that. Generally speaking, do you think now is a good or bad time for people to buy major household items?"

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The ICS uses a 1966 baseline, i.e. for 1966, the ICS = 100. So any number that is below the 1966 baseline of 100 means that the folks who were polled recently aren't as optimistic about the U.S. economy as the sample that was polled back in 1966.

The ICS is similar to the Consumer Confidence Index in that they both measure consumer attitudes and offer valuable insight into consumer spending.

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

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Third (Final) Estimate for Q4, 2019

Earlier this morning, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its third and final estimate for U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the fourth quarter of 2019:

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Predicted: +2.1%
  • Actual: +2.1%

The yellow-highlighted percentage represents the quarter-to-quarter change for Real Gross Domestic Product for the entire United States.

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"...Corporate Profits, Fourth Quarter and 2019

Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments) increased $53.0 billion in the fourth quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $4.7 billion in the third quarter.

Profits of domestic financial corporations increased $0.7 billion in the fourth quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $4.7 billion in the third quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $53.7 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $5.5 billion. Rest-of-the-world profits decreased $1.4 billion, in contrast to an increase of $5.5 billion. In the fourth quarter, receipts increased $3.4 billion, and payments increased $4.8 billion.

In 2019, profits from current production were unchanged, compared with an increase of $68.7 billion in 2018. Profits of domestic financial corporations increased $7.1 billion, compared with an increase of $11.1 billion. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations decreased $36.4 billion, in contrast to an increase of $10.0 billion. Rest-of-the-world profits increased $29.3 billion, compared with an increase of $47.6 billion..
."
 
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Chart: GDP, Fourth Quarter 2019, Third / Final Estimate
Chart: GDP, Fourth Quarter 2019, Third / Final Estimate

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The GDP is a very broad measure of economic activity for the entire United States, covering all sectors of the economy. The Commerce Department defines real GDP as, "the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States."

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 21, 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  March 21, 2020:

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Predicted: 1,000,000

  • Actual: 3,283,000 (This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous high was 695,000 in October of 1982.)
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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): 282,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 998,250

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From This Morning's Report:

"...During the week ending March 21, the increase in initial claims are due to the impacts of the COVID-19 virus. Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus impacts. States continued to cite services industries broadly, particularly accommodation and food services. Additional industries heavily cited for the increases included the health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment and recreation, transportation and warehousing, and manufacturing industries..."

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 20, 2020

Crude Oil Inventories
Crude Oil Inventories

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on March 20, 2020 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: +1,600,000 Barrels

-- Change from A Year Ago (Y/Y): +13,100,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 455,400,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).


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Durable Goods Orders During February 2020

The Durable Goods Orders report for February 2020 was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

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Predicted: -0.7%
  • Actual: $249,409,000,000 (+$2,868,000,000 [+1.163%])

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  • January 2020 (revised): $246,541,000,000 (+$166,000,000 [+0.067%])
 
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Chart: Durable Goods Orders - February 2020 Update
Chart: Durable Goods Orders - February 2020 Update


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The yellow-highlighted figures represent the dollar amount of new orders for durable or hard goods for immediate or future delivery from U.S. manufacturers, along with both the dollar and month-to-month percentage change.

Examples of durable goods: cars, airplanes, computers, furniture -- items that are built to last at least three years.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

New Home Sales During February 2020

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

Predicted: 743,000
Actual New Home Sales: 765,000

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  • Change from One Month Previous: -4.375%

  • Change from One Year Previous: +14.35%

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Median Price for a New Home
during February 2020: $345,900 (Record High)

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Average Price for a New Home
during February 2020: $403,800  (Record High)


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Inventory: 319,000 (5.0 months supply at current sales rate.)

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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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Monday, March 23, 2020

Bear Market Update

Bear Market Update for March 23, 2020:

  • Since closing at a record high of 29,551.42 on February 12, 2020, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has lost 10,959.49 points (-37.086%.)

  • Since closing at a record high of 3,386.15 on February 19, 2020, the Standard + Poor's 500 Index has lost 1,148.75 points (-33.925%.)

  • Since closing at a record high of 9,817.18 on February 19, 2020, the NASDAQ Composite Index has lost 2,956.51 points (-30.116%.)

  • Since closing at a record high of $145.29 on July 3, 2008, a barrel of NYMEX Crude Oil for future delivery has lost $121.93 (-83.922%.)

 Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

----------------------------------------------------------

DJIA: lost 582.05 points to close @ 18,591.93 (-3.036%)

NASDAQ: lost 18.84 points to close @ 6,860.67 (-0.275%)

S + P 500: lost 67.52 points to close @ 2,237.40 (-2.929%)

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The Target Range for the Fed Funds Rate is 0% - 0.25%

The United States Prime Rate is 3.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 0.788%

 

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    Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) for February 2020

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago released its National Activity Index (CFNAI) for February 2020:

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    • Actual (CFNAI): +0.16

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    • Previous Month (revised): -0.33
    • 3-Month Moving Average (CFNAI-MA3): -0.21
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    The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of growth in national economic activity drawn from four broad categories of data:

    • Production and income;
    • Employment, unemployment, and hours;
    • Personal consumption and housing; and
    • Sales, orders, and inventories.

    The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the yellow-highlighted figure is what was reported.

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    Chart: Chicago Fed National Activity Index with Business Cycles - February 2020 Update
    Chart: Chicago Fed National Activity Index with Business Cycles
    February 2020 Update

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    From Today's Report 


    "...Index Suggests Economic Growth Slowed Further In October
    The data through February were unlikely to have been affected much by the COVID-19 outbreak. Economic data for March will be incorporated in the next CFNAI released on April 20, 2020.

    Led by improvements in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) rose to +0.16 in February from –0.33 in January. Two of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from January, and three of the four categories made positive contributions to the index in February. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, decreased to –0.21 in February from –0.11 in January..
    ."

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    Understanding The CFNAI:

    A zero value for the monthly index has been associated with the national economy expanding at its historical trend (average) rate of growth; negative values with below-average growth (in standard deviation units); and positive values with above-average growth.

    Periods of economic expansion have historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 above -0.70 and the CFNAI Diffusion Index above -0.35. Conversely, periods of economic contraction have historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 below -0.70 and the CFNAI Diffusion Index below -0.35.

    An increasing likelihood of a period of sustained increasing inflation has historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 above +0.70 more than two years into an economic expansion. Similarly, a substantial likelihood of a period of sustained increasing inflation has historically been associated with values of the CFNAI-MA3 above +1.00 more than two years into an economic expansion.

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    Friday, March 20, 2020

    Existing Home Sales During February 2020

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

    Predicted: 5,500,000
    Actual: 5,770,000

    •  Change from Previous Month: +6.458% (+350,000 homes)

    •  Change from One Year Previous: +7.249% (+390,000 homes)
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    Inventory: 1,470,000 (3.1 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 February 2020: $270,100

    Change from One Year Previous: +7.997% (+$20,000)

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    Average Price for A Used Home During February 2020: $305,800

    Change from One Year Previous: +5.997% (+$17,300)



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    From Today's Report:


    "...'February’s sales of over 5 million homes were the strongest since February 2007,' said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. 'I would attribute that to the incredibly low mortgage rates and the steady release of a sizable pent-up housing demand that was built over recent years.'

    Yun noted that February’s home sales were encouraging but not reflective of the current turmoil in the stock market or the significant hit the economy is expected to take because of the coronavirus and corresponding social quarantines. 'These figures show that housing was on a positive trajectory, but the coronavirus has undoubtedly slowed buyer traffic and it is difficult to predict what short-term effects the pandemic will have on future sales,' Yun said.

    'For the past couple of months, we have seen the number of buyers grow as more people enter the market,' Yun said. 'Once the social-distancing and quarantine measures are relaxed, we should see this temporary pause evaporate, and will have potential buyers return with the same enthusiasm.'

    While offering a definitive forecast is extremely difficult in light of this national and global emergency, Yun says home prices will hold on well. 'Unlike the stock market, home prices are not expected to drop because of the on-going housing shortage and due to homes getting delisted during this time of crisis,' he said.

    'In the midst of this national emergency, NAR has been and will continue to be in contact with Congressional leaders and White House officials as they consider various policies to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus,' said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta + Co., Inc., in San Francisco, Calif. 'NAR is engaged in these discussions and presenting proposals that will support real estate and the people that make up the industry.'

    'It is truly inspiring to see so many of our fellow Realtors® and brokerages adjust on the fly,' Malta continued. 'Agents nationwide are keeping interest alive with innovative technologies, holding virtual open houses and computer-generated tours.'
    ..."

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    Thursday, March 19, 2020

    New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 14, 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  March 14, 2020:

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

    Predicted: 220,000

    • Actual: 281,000 (This is the highest level for initial claims since September 2, 2017 when it was 299,000.)
    ====================

    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 (unrevised): 211,000
    • 4-Week Moving Average: 232,250

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

    From This Morning's Report:

    "...During the week ending March 14, the increase in initial claims are clearly attributable to impacts from the COVID-19 virus. A number of states specifically cited COVID-19 related layoffs, while many states reported increased layoffs in service related industries broadly and in the accommodation and food services industries specifically, as well as in the transportation and warehousing industry, whether COVID-19 was identified directly or not..."

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    Wednesday, March 18, 2020

    Housing Starts During February 2020

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

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    Housing Starts:
    Predicted: 1,520,000
    Actual: 1,599,000

    Change From Previous Month: -1.539% (-25,000 units)
    Change From One Year Previous: +39.164% (+450,000 units)

    ---------------------------------------------------

    Building Permits:
    Predicted: 1,500,000
    Actual: 1,464,000

    Change From Previous Month: -5.548% (-86,000 units)
    Change From One Year Previous: +13.753% (+177,000 units)

    ----------------------------------------------------

    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 - February 2020 Update
    Chart: Housing Starts - February 2020 Update

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    Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 13, 2020

    Crude Oil Inventories
    Crude Oil Inventories

    The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on March 13, 2020 was released this morning:

    -- Change from Last Week: +2,000,000 Barrels

    -- Change from A Year Ago (Y/Y): +14,300,000 Barrels

    -- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 453,700,000 Barrels

    Diminishing crude oil inventories often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

    The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).



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    Tuesday, March 17, 2020

    U.S. Retail And Food Services Sales Report for February 2020

    The Commerce Department this morning released advance estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales for February 2020:

    Predicted: +0.2%
    Actual: -0.531% (-$2,817,000,000)

    The yellow-highlighted percentage represents the month-to-month change in total sales receipts for retailers that sell durable and non-durable goods, and retailers that provide food and beverage services.

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

    • Estimated Retail Sales During February 2020: $528,113,000,000
    • Change From 12 Months Previous: +4.348% (+$22,006,000,000)

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    Chart: Retail Sales - February 2020 Update
    Chart: Retail Sales - February 2020 Update

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    Industrial Production + Manufacturing + Capacity Utilization During February 2020

    The Industrial Production, Manufacturing and Capacity Utilization numbers for February 2020 were released by the Federal Reserve this morning:

    Industrial Production:
    Predicted: +0.4%
    Actual: +0.6%

    Manufacturing:
    Predicted: +0.2%
    Actual: +0.1%

    The yellow-highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in manufacturing, and physical output from mining operations, utility plants and factories for the entire United States.

    Capacity Utilization Rate:
    Predicted: 77.0%
    Actual: 77.0

    The Capacity Utilization Rate represents the use of available resources at mining operations, utility plants and factories for the entire United States last month.

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

    From today's report:

    "...Industrial production rose 0.6 percent in February after falling 0.5 percent in January. Manufacturing output edged up 0.1 percent in February; excluding a large gain for motor vehicles and parts and a large drop for civilian aircraft, factory output was unchanged. The index for mining declined 1.5 percent, but the index for utilities jumped 7.1 percent, as temperatures returned to more typical levels following an unseasonably warm January. At 109.6 percent of its 2012 average, the level of total industrial production in February was unchanged from a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.4 percentage point in February to 77.0 percent, a rate that is 2.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2019) average..."

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    Wednesday, March 11, 2020

    Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February 2020

    Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February 2020:

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    Predicted: +0.1%
    Actual: +0.1%

    • Change From 12 Months Previous: +2.3%

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

    Predicted: +0.2%
    Actual: +0.2%

    • Change From 12 Months Previous: +2.4%

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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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    From Today's Report:

    "...Increases in the indexes for shelter and for food were the main causes of the increase in the seasonally adjusted all items index, more than offsetting a decline in the energy index. The food index increased 0.4 percent over the month, with the food at home index rising 0.5 percent, its largest monthly increase since May 2014. The index for energy fell 2.0 percent in February, with all of its major component indexes declining.

    The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in February, the same increase as in January. Along with the index for shelter, the indexes for apparel, personal care, used cars and trucks, education, and medical care were among those that increased in February. The indexes for recreation and airline fares declined over the month..."

     
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    Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI) - February 2020 Update
    Chart: Consumer Price Index (CPI) - February 2020 Update

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