Author Archives: Jack McCabe

Consumer Sentiment Held Strong in April

Consumer Sentiment increased 0.1 point in April to 97.0, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. The Current Economic Conditions Index fell 0.5 point to 112.7, while the Consumer Expectations Index rose 0.5 point to 87.0. “Consumer sentiment continued to travel along the high plateau established following Trump’s election, with only minor deviations from its five month average ...

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First Quarter GDP Weak

Real GDP grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.7% during the first quarter of 2017, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s “advance” estimate, down from 2.1% in the fourth quarter. The deceleration in real GDP reflected a deceleration in personal consumption expenditures along with drawbacks in private inventory investment and in state and local government spending. These ...

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Durable Goods Orders Increased in March

New orders for manufactured durable goods increased 0.7% in March to $238.7 billion, following a 2.3% February increase, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. New orders excluding defense rose 0.1% on the month, as orders of nondefense capital goods increased 1.2% to $75.0 billion. Shipments of manufactured durable goods increased 0.2% to $239.8 billion. Inventories of manufactured durable goods rose ...

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New Home Sales Increased in March

New single-family home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 621,000 in March, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The March level was 5.8% above the revised February rate of 587,000 and 15.6% above the March 2016 level. Sales rose in most regions, increasing 25.8% in the Northeast, 16.7% in ...

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Consumer Confidence Receded in April

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased to 120.3 in April, down 4.6 points from March. The Present Situation Index fell 3.3 points to 140.6, while the Expectations Index declined 5.6 points to 106.7. “Consumer confidence declined in April after increasing sharply over the past two months, but still remains at strong levels,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators ...

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Existing-Home Sales Rose in March

Existing-home sales increased 4.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million in March, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This is the highest level in the past ten years. “The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully ...

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Beige Book: Economic Expansion Continues to Pick Up

Economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace across the twelve Federal Reserve Districts over the period from mid-February to the end of March, according to the just-released Federal Reserve Beige Book. Consumer spending varied this period as reports of stronger light vehicle sales were accompanied by somewhat softer readings in non-auto retail spending. Manufacturing continued to ...

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Industrial Production Increased in March

Industrial production increased 0.5% in March after a 0.1% February increase. Over the last year, industrial production was up 1.5%. Manufacturing output decreased 0.4% in March, its first loss since August 2016. Production of durable goods fell 1.7%, while nondurables rose 2.1% during the month. Capacity utilization for manufacturing increased by 0.3 percentage point to 75.3%, a rate that is ...

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Housing Starts Declined in March

Housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.215 million in March, 6.8% below the revised February rate of 1.303 million, but 9.2% above the March 2016 rate. Housing activity increased in only one out of the four regions as the Northeast saw housing starts jump 12.9%. The West, Midwest, and South experienced declines of 16.0%, 16.2%, and ...

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Builder Confidence Remained Solid in April

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index fell to 68 in April, a three point decrease from March’s reading of 71. “Even with this month’s modest drop, builder confidence is on very firm ground, and builders are reporting strong interest among potential home buyers,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. ...

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