- Deficit $65.3 billion. Previous was $61.9 billion - Exports % change -1.0%. Previous was -2.5% - Imports % change 1.2%. Previous was +1.5%
This negatively impacts GDP. Moreover this shows the difficulty facing the new administration. The increase in goods Trade Deficit is mainly about the stronger US $ and weakening economies in other nations.
Initial Jobless Claims (week ended 12/14/2016)
- New Claims seasonally adjusted 265,000. Previous was 275,000 - New Claims unadjusted, totaled 340,022 an increase of 24,915 from previous - 4-week Moving Average seasonally adjusted 2630,000 . Previous was 263,750.
I want to remind folks here that as we enter the post-Christmas season the seasonal adjustments to jobless claims and jobs in the BLS Employment Situation Report are enormous and can obfuscate the health of the jobs market. This is especially large in the BLS report on January jobs which will be published the first week of February.
- Inventories month/month +0.9%. Previous was -0.1%.
- Pending Home Sales Index month/month -2.5%. Previous was +0.1%.
Housing is being serious hurt by higher prices (caused by low supply), higher interest rates, and the fact that the jobs market is not creating jobs that will allow people to qualify for mortgages especially with the enhanced standards imposed by CFPB.
- New Home Sales seasonally adjusted, annualized 592,000. Previous was 563,000.
New Hone Sales and Home Sales is general are held low by lack of supply which has also driven prices up. Lack of supply is a consequence both of economic uncertainty and local regulations which restrict building.
Consumer Sentiment (December 2016)
- Sentiment Index 98.2. Previous was 98.0.
The is the University of Michigan Index. It is supposed to be a leading indicator of Consumer Spending in the next few months.
- New Orders month/month -4.6%. Previous was +4.8% - New Orders year/year 2.1% - Ex-transportation month/month +0.5%. Previous was +1.0% - Ex-transportation year/year 0.3% - Core capital goods month/month +0.9%. Previous was +0.2% - Core capital goods year/year -4.3%
Nondefense new orders for capital goods in November decreased 19.5%
- Real GDP quarter/quarter seasonally adjusted, annualized rate +3.5%. Previous was +3.2% - GDP price index quarter/quarter seasonally adjusted, annualized rate +1.4%. Previous was +1.4%.
Initial Jobless Claims (week ended 12/17/2016)
- New Claims seasonally adjusted 275,000. Previous was 254,000 - New Claims unadjusted, totaled 315,613 an increase of 10,280 from previous - 4-week Moving Average 263,750. Previous was 257,750
Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (November 2016)
- Level -0.27. Previous was -0.05 - 3 Month Moving Average -0.14. Previous was -0.20
Corporate Profits (3rdQ2016)
- Profits (After-tax year/year) +4.3%. Previous was +5.2%
FHFA House Price Index (October 2016)
- month/month +0.4%. Previous was +0.6% - year/year +6.2%. Previous was +6.1%
Price increases this high translate into less affordability. Supply is too low.
Personal Income and Outlays (November 2016)
- Personal Income month/month +0.0%. Previous was +0.5% - Consumer Spending month/month +0.2%. Previous was +0.3% - PCE Price Index month/month +0.0%. Previous was +0.2% - Core PCE price index month/month +0.0%. Previous was +0.1% - PCE Price Index year/year +1.4%. Previous was +1.4% - Core PCE price index year/year +1.6%. Previous was +1.8%
Leading Indicators (November 2016)
- Leading Indicators month/month +0.0%. Previous was +0.1%
- Starts seasonally adjusted, annualized rate 1,090,000. Previous was 1,340,000 - Permits seasonally adjusted, annualized rate 1,130,000. Previous was 1,260,000
There are at least two things to take from the data: 1) Housing Starts have very high month-to-month volatility. That is not surprising given the nature of housing and 2) Housing have never recovered from the Great Recession. The economy has not created enough well-paying jobs to create homeowners and many young people are burdened by student loan debt. In places such as the San Francisco Bay Area where many well-paying jobs have been created local regulation has limited supply and prices have been driven up to levels few can afford. Add to this the increased demands to toughen mortgage standards and you have, well, fewer Housing Starts.