Category Archives: Economic Alert

Spending and Incomes Flatline in July

Real disposable incomes increased by 0.1% in July after being revised up for the month of June.  The most weakness occurred in wages and salaries. Rental incomes increased, which is keeping investors in the housing market, particularly in the Midwest where foreclosures are still around for investors to flip to rent. Real expenditures were slightly [...]

GDP Q2 Revised to Upside

Real GDP was revised up 0.2% to 4.2% in the second quarter, a pleasant surprise as many had expected a downward revision. Increases were across the board but overall gains were still heavily dependent on a rise in inventories following a sharp drain

Surge in Aircraft Mask Underlying Weakness in Orders

Durable goods orders surged more than 20% in July to the highest level since 1992. Much of that rise, however, was due to a surge in new aircraft orders for Boeing; those have long lag times (up to five years to completion) and can be cancelled if economic conditions change. The remainder of the increases [...]

Broad-Based Losses in New Home Sales

New home sales fell from a 422,000 unit pace in June to a 412,000 unit pace in July; the data for June was revised up slightly, but the sales remain above levels hit a year ago. Losses in the month of July were broad-based with the exception of the South; the South is by far [...]

Housing Starts Increase

Housing starts moved back above the one-million-unit mark again in July, and were revised up for the month of June. This is a highly volatile and unreliable series, but we will take what we can get when it comes to housing; the gains are also corroborated by the survey of home builder confidence,

Autos Drive Gains in IP

Industrial production rose 0.4% in July, supported by outsize gains in vehicle production.  Many plants were running in July when retooling typically occurs to either catch up on losses from interruptions during the winter months or ramp up for an expanded number of new model introductions. Unusually harsh winter weather also accelerated the pace at [...]

Retail Sales Flatline in July

Retail sales disappointed again in July, flatlining after rising only 0.2% in June. Declines were in everything from big-ticket durable goods such as vehicles (some of that could be because of the shift from more expensive trucks into less expensive cars), furniture and appliances to the big-box retailers. Even the large discount chains were hit. [...]

Growth Rebounds

Real GDP growth rose a more-than-expected 4% in the second quarter, after falling a less-than-previously reported 2.1% in the first quarter. The forecast was for a 3% rebound in growth. Benchmark revisions, which include more complete data, helped to reduce the drop in the first quarter. Almost all of the “unexpected rise” in growth in [...]

Durable Goods Orders Rebound Partway

Durable goods orders jumped 0.7% in June on strong gains in machinery and transportation equipment. The increase in transportation equipment was heavily concentrated in defense aircraft and parts, which has long lag times, while orders in the vehicle sector actually fell. The more important capital goods orders excluding defense and aircraft, which track actual business [...]

New Home Sales Disappoint

New home sales dropped to a 406,000 rate in June and were revised down for the month of May. The biggest losses were in the South, where builders have complained about labor shortages. A shortfall in the South also has a disproportionate effect on the overall figures