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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Housing Starts Grew in June

Housing starts increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.215 million in June, 8.3% above the revised May rate of 1.122 million and 2.1% above the June 2016 rate.
Housing activity increased 1.6% in the West and jumped 83.7% in the Northeast. The Midwest’s housing activity grew 22.0%, while the South’s decreased 3.8%.
New building permits increased during the month, rising 7.4% to 1.254 million. Permits were up 5.1% from the June 2016 rate.

Housing completions were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.203 million, up 5.2% from the revised May estimate and 8.1% above the June 2016 rate.

Read the Census release.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Builder Confidence Declines Slightly in July

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index slowed to 64 in July, a two point decrease from July’s downwardly revised reading of 66.

“Our members are telling us they are growing increasingly concerned over rising material prices, particularly lumber,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. “This is hurting housing affordability even as consumer interest in the new-home market remains strong.”

All three HMI components posted losses in July but remained at historically solid levels. The component measuring current sales conditions fell two points to 70; the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months decreased two points to 73, and the component measuring buyer traffic moved down one point to 48.

The regional three-month moving averages for HMI scores showed gains in just one of the four regions. The Northeast edged one point up to 47, while the Midwest and West each dropped one point to 66 and 75, respectively. The South fell three points to 67.

Read the NAHB release.
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Friday, July 14, 2017

Industrial Production Rose 0.4% in June

Industrial production grew 0.4% in June after an upwardly revised 0.1% May increase, according to the Federal Reserve. May’s jump was the fifth consecutive month of growth
Manufacturing output grew 0.2% in June after a 0.4% decline in May. Production of durable goods and nondurables both edged up 0.5% during the month. Capacity utilization for manufacturing increased by 0.1 percentage point to 75.4%, a rate that is 3.4 percentage points below its long-run average.

The output of mining continued to rise, increasing 1.6% in June, following a 1.9% May jump. The index in June was 9.9% higher than its year-earlier level.

Utilities remained unchanged in June, following increases in the three previous months.

Read the Fed release.
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Retail Sales Fell in June

There were $473.5 billion in retail and food service sales in June, down 0.2% from the previous month and up 2.8% from June 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 
Core retail sales – excluding automobiles and parts – also fell 0.2%. Year-over-year core sales increased 2.4%. 

Retail trade sales decreased 0.1% from May and are up 3.0% from last year. Sales at nonstore retailers increased 0.4% from May, while increasing 9.2% year-over-year.

Sales at gasoline stations decreased 1.3% during the month but are up 0.3% from a year ago.

Read the Census release.
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Consumer Prices Unchanged in June

The Consumer Price Index remained flat in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index rose 1.6%. 
Prices for all items less food and energy, the “core CPI,” increased 0.1% in June, the same as in May. The index rose 1.7% for the 12 months ending in June. 

The food index was unchanged after five consecutive monthly increase. Prices for food at home fell 0.1%, while prices for food away from home remained flat. Over the past 12 months, food prices are up 0.9%.

The energy index decreased 1.6% in June, led by the fuel oil index falling 3.7%.

Read the BLS release.
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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Producer Prices Increased 0.1% in June

Producer prices increased 0.1% in June, seasonally adjusted, after remaining unchanged in May, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Producer prices rose 2.0% for the twelve months ended June 2017. 
The index for final demand goods increased 0.1% in June after falling 0.5% in the previous month. The index for final demand energy fell 0.5%, the second consecutive monthly decline. Prices for final demand foods climbed 0.6%. 

Prices for final demand services moved up 0.2% in June. Most of the increase can be traced to prices for final demand services less trade, transportation and warehousing, which advanced 0.3%.

Read the BLS release.
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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Beige Book: Economic Activity Expanding at a Slight to Moderate Pace

Economic activity continued to expand at a slight to moderate pace across the twelve Federal Reserve Districts in June, according to the just-released Federal Reserve Beige Book.

Consumer spending softened this period, particularly in auto retail sales which declined in half of the Districts. Manufacturing and non-financial services continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace across the Districts. Agricultural conditions were mixed as regions reported varying moisture conditions. Energy activity improved since the most recent Beige Book, driven by growth in oil and natural gas but somewhat offset by sluggish coal production.

Employment expanded across most Districts at a modest to moderate pace. Labor markets once again remained tight, and employers in most Districts continued to report greater difficulty attracting and retaining qualified workers.

Modest to moderate wage growth was seen in most Districts, with many reporting tight labor market conditions driving wage gains. Prices increased modestly in the majority of districts. Several Districts reported higher construction materials costs but lower gasoline and agricultural prices.

Read the full Federal Reserve report
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