Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

New home sales continue rebound in August, as price increases continue slight deceleration

New home sales continue rebound in August, as price increases continue slight deceleration Housing is a long leading sector of the economy, and new home sales, while very noisy and heavily revised, tend to lead all of the other housing indicators. [Note: FRED hasn’t updated its charts with this morning’s information, so graphs below do […]

Coronavirus dashboard for September 22: the Delta wave rolls out?

Coronavirus dashboard for September 22: the Delta wave rolls out?   At last, it appears that the Delta wave may be receding, as for now, the US is on a definite downslope in cases. As of yesterday, the US recorded 135,000 cases, a 31,000 decrease from the peak only 20 days before: Deaths have continued […]

August housing construction shows stabilization, following interest rate moderation

August housing construction shows stabilization, following interest rate moderation This morning’s report on August housing permits and starts shows that the stabilizing of mortgage rates in the past few months has now stabilized housing construction. Housing starts increased 3.9% m/m, and total permits increased 6.0%. The less volatile single-family permits increased 0.6%. As a result, […]

Median household income and housing affordability

Median household income and housing affordability Let’s take a look at the affordability (or not!) of housing since there is no economic news of note today (Monday). Last week the Census Bureau released their annual report on median household income for the US, covering 2020. Since this is the best measure to gauge housing affordability, […]

August retail sales rebound slightly, argue for continued strong jobs growth in autumn

August retail sales rebound slightly, argue for continued strong jobs growth in autumn Let’s take a look at retail sales, which are perhaps my favorite monthly economic indicator, since they tell us so much about average consumer behavior, and are also a good short leading indicator for jobs.Nominally retail sales increased 0.7% for August, after […]

Jobless claims continue in normal mid-cycle range

Jobless claims continue in normal mid-cycle range Last week I encouraged readers to take the very low jobless claims number with a grain of salt due to Labor Day artifacts, and see if the big reduction was maintained or reversed this week. This week did indeed reverse the pattern somewhat, but not enough to interfere […]

Industrial production now exceeds pre-pandemic level

Industrial production now exceeds pre-pandemic level Industrial production, the King of Coincident Indicators, was reported this morning for August and was positive in a particularly significant way. Total production increased 0.4% in August, and the manufacturing component increased 0.1%. Nothing particularly special about that; in fact the manufacturing component was a little weak compared with […]

A more “normal” consumer inflation reading for August belies damage to the economy going forward

A more “normal” consumer inflation reading for August belies damage to the economy going forward Inflation, along with the expiration of the emergency pandemic payment, is one of the two big threats to this expansion. This morning August consumer inflation was the lowest in 6 months, up only 0.3% – within the range of a […]

On the downside of the Delta wave, vaccinations make all the difference

Coronavirus dashboard for September 13: on the downside of the Delta wave, vaccinations make all the difference With each passing day, it becomes increasingly likely that the peak of the Delta wave was just before Labor Day. We’ll probably get a pop in the weekly average number tomorrow, as today’s numbers replace the Labor Day […]

Coronavirus dashboard for September 10: was Labor Day indeed the peak of the Delta wave?

Coronavirus dashboard for September 10: was Labor Day indeed the peak of the Delta wave? I have been saying for some time that the Delta wave would probably peak around Labor Day. It’s not certain yet, but it is looking increasingly likely to have been the case. The Delta wave struck in both the US […]