Monthly Archives: June 2012
Consumer sentiment dropped to 73.2 in late June, the lowest level in six months. Much of the drop in sentiment came from households earning more than $75,000 a year, the backbone of spending in the U.S. economy. Indeed, the report said that buying plans have deteriorated quite substantially for higher-income households, which bodes poorly for [...]
Personal income rose at a 0.2% pace in May, the same as April, despite a significant weakening in employment over the period. Gains in the services sector offset a shortfall in manufacturing wage and salary disbursements.
Real GDP rose 1.9% in the first quarter, the same as was reported last month. Imports were revised down and business investment was revised up, relative to previous estimates of GDP; this is welcome news, given how reluctant businesses have been to bet on the U.S. economy since the start of the recovery. Those gains [...]
Durable goods orders increased 1.1% in May, after declining the previous two months. Gains were broad-based with the largest increases coming from aircraft and defense orders. Most importantly, non-defense capital goods orders, which most closely track business investment, rebounded nicely after collapsing during the last two months. New gains were supported by a welcome rebound [...]
A new ray of hope for the economy: new home sales jumped more than expected between April and May to an annual rate of 369,000 units. That is still low relative to history, but matches anecdotal reports that demand for newly built homes is finally starting to regain momentum, especially in well-established neighborhoods.
Existing home sales dropped 1.5% to 4.55 million in May from April’s level of 4.62 million, led by a contraction in multi-family sales (condos, co-ops and townhouses). Moreover, a drop in mortgage applications in May suggests that softness will continue in June. The average rate on a 30-year mortgage ticked up slightly in May, only [...]
Jobless claims remained stubbornly high in the most recent weak, falling to 387,000 from another upward revision to 389,000 the previous week. This confirms other employment data such as the JOLTS (job openings and labor turnover survey) data, which showed a drop in job openings in April, earlier this week; the survey of the Business [...]
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to extend “Operation Twist,”which is providing support for both the Treasury and the mortgage markets. The Federal Reserve committed to continue to expand the duration of its portfolio, swapping out Treasuries of up to three years in maturity for six- to thirty-year bonds. The Fed has committed to [...]
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) started its two-day meeting today. The result of the Greek elections delayed the need to move immediately to shore up liquidity in global markets and launch another round of quantitative easing. Concerns about both Europe and recent slackening in the U.S. economy, however, will remain front and center in [...]
Housing starts fell to 708,000 in May from an upwardly revised 744,000 unit rate in April. Multi-family starts (mostly apartments) were revised up in April, which set the stage for the May decline. Single-family starts actually edged up slightly in May compared to April, but remain extremely suppressed, relative to both history and demographic trends. [...]