Category Archives: Economic Alert

New Home Sales Bounce Back

In October, 495,000 new homes were sold; that increase followed a downward revision to September. Gains were broad-based with three of the four regions posting increases. The median sales price moved down from the previous month as the composition of homes sold shifted towards lower-priced properties.

Consumers Make Trade-offs

Real disposable incomes rose 0.4% in October, slightly faster than September, while inflation-adjusted spending rose a tepid 0.1% during the month, weaker than September, which was actually revised down. The saving rate picked up, but something more than caution alone appears to be happening.

Aircraft Orders Lift Durable Goods

Durable goods orders jumped a more-than-expected 3% in October, buoyed by a surge in aircraft orders for Boeing at the Dubai air show. Moreover, orders were revised up for the month of September. Nondefense and ex-aircraft orders, which more closely correlate with direct business investment, increased

Inventories Still a Problem

Real GDP was revised up to 2.1% in the third quarter from an initial estimate of 1.5%. Unfortunately, almost all of those “gains” can be attributed to larger-than-previously reported inventories, which will now have to be drained in the fourth quarter. This could further deepen holiday discounts

Housing Starts Disappoint

In October, housing starts slipped to a 1.06 million unit pace, nearly 60% below household formation. This is causing acute shortages for those looking for a place to live, particularly to rent,

Industrial Production Better than Headline

Industrial production dropped a more-than-expected 0.2% in October. All of that weakness, however, can be attributed to sharp declines in utilities and mining. Milder-than-usual autumn weather pushed down utilities, while mining and extraction continued to suffer from low prices at the gas pump.

Retail Sales Better than Headline Indicates

Retail sales rose what appeared to be a tepid 0.1% in October but, as the debates have revealed, appearances can often be deceiving. Vehicle sales remained unusually strong after an already robust September, which dampened month-to-month gains, while gasoline station sales continued to fall on lower prices at the pump. Core retail sales, which exclude [...]

Trade Deficit Shrinks as Exports of Goods Improve

The latest data on international trade for the month of September show some positive developments for the U.S. economy. The goods and services deficit dropped by $7.2 billion, from $48 billion in August to $40.8 billion in September, in a movement that reflects both advances in exports and declines in imports, despite the relative strong [...]

Construction Gains Solid, Only in Key Sectors

Construction spending rose 0.6% in September, a little more than expected. Gains in multifamily construction in particular continued to substantially outpace gains in the single-family market. We also saw solid gains at auto dealers, which is not surprising given the recent surge in sales,

Durable Goods Orders Drop

Durable goods orders fell for the second month in a row, largely in response to a downdraft in the volatile aircraft component. Losses were broad-based with the exception of the vehicle sector.