Tag Archive for ‘eye on the economy’

Consumer Prices in April – Energy Declines Again, But Overall Prices Remain Positive

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported consumer prices increased in April. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.2%. Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the “core” CPI rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.1%. Large swings in energy prices account for most of the divergence between CPI and the… Read More ›

Eye on the Economy: Home Building Jumps in April

Home builders ratcheted up construction in April to a level not seen since November 2007. Total starts increased 20.2% from March to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.135 million. The increase was broad based, with a 16.7% jump in single-family starts to an annual pace of 733,000, the highest since January 2008, and a multifamily increase of 27.2% to an… Read More ›

Eye on the Economy: Existing Home Sales Spring Forward

Spring brought good news for housing: a rise in pending and completed existing home sales. New home sales declined significantly in March, but the current pace of newly-built home purchases is up almost 20% from a year ago. Existing home sales soared 6.1% in March, with the share of sales for first-time buyers also increasing, according to estimates from the… Read More ›

Consumer Confidence and Economic Cycles

Consumer sentiment and consumer confidence are two indexes showing consumers’ perceptions of current business, income and employment conditions, as well as their expectations for the near future’s economy.   Figure 1 shows both the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment and the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index are highly inversely correlated with the unemployment rate. High unemployment drives down… Read More ›

Eye on the Economy: Modest Gains for Home Construction

After a disappointing set of housing data last month, recent reports suggest a return to trend for home building as the nation enters the spring home buying season. Home builders reversed a one-month decline in sentiment as the April NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) increased 4 points to 56 in April from a one-point downwardly revised 52 in March…. Read More ›

Eye on the Economy: Weak Employment Gains in March

The March employment report disappointed most economists, casting some doubt on the strength of the labor market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that payroll employment expanded by only 126,000 positions, with downward revisions totaling 69,000 for previously reported jobs gains in January and February. While the unemployment rate held steady at 5.5%, the downshift in the size of monthly… Read More ›

Eye on the Economy: A Focus on Employment

While housing and the economy are off to a slow start at the beginning of 2015, positive developments in the labor market are a source of growing momentum, particularly for housing demand. In February, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that payroll employment expanded by 295,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.5%. It is important… Read More ›

Eye on the Economy: A Slow Start for 2015

Housing and residential construction have gotten off to a slow start at the beginning of the year. January data have been disappointing, although current indicators continue to suggest home building will grow in the year ahead. In particular, solid job growth and historically low mortgage rates should help unleash growing pent-up demand and keep the housing market moving forward. Home… Read More ›

Eye on the Economy: Jobs Gains Will Support Housing Demand

The end of 2014 saw an acceleration of job creation that compared favorably with the poor start to the year. Combined with the ongoing expansion of consumer confidence, these trends will help support housing demand and residential construction during 2015. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that payroll employment expanded by 257,000 in January, with an additional 147,000 jobs… Read More ›