Thursday, May 05, 2016

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Initial and Continued May 05 2016

Today’s jobless claims report showed an increase to initial unemployment claims and a decrease to continued unemployment claims as seasonally adjusted initial claims remained below the 300K level.

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment claims increased by 17,000 to 274,000 claims while seasonally adjusted "continued" unemployment claims decreased by 8,000 to 2.121 million resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 1.5%.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

ADP Manufacturing Meltdown

Looking a bit deeper at today's ADP Employment Report, one finds yet another clear signal that the current expansion may have topped-out making recession as a distinct possibility in 2016.

The ADP Total Manufacturing Payrolls series has continued to remain weak falling 0.02% on an annual basis.

Keep in mind that while manufacturing is clearly also showing strong secular weakness, this is a very sensitive series that should not be ignored.

Also, a revitalization of the nation's manufacturing sector was a important goal of the current administration's economic policy and a particularly key focus of 2009's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

ADP National Employment Report: April 2016

Today, private staffing and business services firm ADP released the latest installment of their National Employment Report indicating that the situation for private employment in the U.S. improved in April as private employers added 156,000 jobs in the month bringing the total employment level 2.04% above the level seen in April 2015.

Look for Friday’s BLS Employment Situation Report to likely show, more or less, similar trends.

ISM Non-Manufacturing Report on Business: April 2016

Today, the Institute for Supply Management released their latest Non-Manufacturing Report on Business indicating that service related business activity improved in April with the overall non-manufacturing index rising to 55.7 from last months reading of 54.5.

At 58.8 the business activity index weakened since last month falling 4.55% below the level seen a year earlier.

Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey – May 04 2016

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications.

The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases.

The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (from FHA and conforming GSE data) increased 2 basis points to 3.78% since last week while the purchase application volume declined 0.10% and the refinance application volume decreased 6% over the same period.

The following chart shows the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages since 2006 as well as the purchase, refinance and composite loan volumes (click for larger dynamic full-screen version).

Monday, May 02, 2016

Construction Spending: March 2016

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released their latest read of construction spending showing generally improving results in March with total private residential, private single family residential and private non-residential construction spending all increasing on the month.

On a month-to-month basis, total residential construction spending increased 1.6% on the month rising 7.8% above the level seen a year earlier but still remained well below the peak level seen in 2006.

Single family construction spending increased a slight 0.03% on the month rising 13.4% above the level seen a year earlier but still remained well below it's peak level reached in 2006.

Non-residential construction spending increased 0.7% on the month climbing 9.3% above the level seen a year earlier.

The following charts (click for larger dynamic versions) show private residential construction spending, private residential single family construction spending and private non-residential construction spending broken out and plotted since 1993 along with the year-over-year, month-to-month and peak percent change to each since 1994 and 2000 – 2005.

ISM Manufacturing Report on Business: April 2016

Today, the Institute for Supply Management released their latest Report on Business for the manufacturing sector indicating that manufacturing activity slowed in April staying just above the contraction level for a second straight month.

At 50.8 the purchasing manager’s composite index (PMI) declined 1.93% from March and fell 1.36% below the level seen a year earlier.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

S&P/Case-Shiller: February 2016

The latest release of the S&P/Case-Shiller (CSI) home price indices for February reported that the non-seasonally adjusted National index increased slightly from January with prices rising 0.20% while the non-seasonally adjusted Composite-10 city index increased 0.12% and the Composite-20 city index increased 0.19% over the same period.

On an annual basis, the National index increased 5.29% above the level seen in February 2015 while the Composite-10 city index increased 4.61% and the Composite-20 city index increased 5.38% over the same period.

On a peak basis, all three indices still show significant peak declines slumping -4.88% for the National index, -12.94% for the Composite-10 city index and -11.49% for the Composite-20 city index on a peak comparison basis.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey: April 2016

Today, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released their latest read on manufacturing in their region indicating that assessments of manufacturing activity remained in contraction in April with the current general business activity index falling slightly to a recessionary level of -13.9 while the future general business activity index also worsened to a weak level of 0.4.

These results are an indication (consistent with other regional and national manufacturing activity data-points) that the U.S. manufacturing sector has clearly slumped into recessionary levels as of late and provides yet another likely harbinger of what is to come in 2016 for the general economy.

New Home Sales: March 2016

Today, the U.S. Census Department released its monthly New Residential Home Sales Report for March showing sales declined 1.5% from February but still remained 5.4% above the level seen in March 2015 and remaining near an historically low level with 511K SAAR units.

The monthly supply increased to 5.8 months while the median selling price declined 1.84% and the average selling price increased 0.99% from the year ago level.

The following chart show the extent of sales decline to date (click for full-larger version).

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index: March 2016

The latest release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) indicated that national economic activity worsened in March with the index falling to a contraction level of -0.44 from a level of -0.38 a month earlier while the three month moving average also weakening to a level of -0.18.

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity collected into four overall categories of “production and income”, “employment, unemployment and income”, “personal consumption and housing” and “sales, orders and inventories”.

The Chicago Fed regards a value of zero for the total index as indicating that the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate while a negative value indicates below average growth.

A value at or below -0.70 for the three month moving average of the national activity index (CFNAI-MA3) indicates that the national economy has either just entered or continues in recession.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

New Residential Construction Report: March 2016

Today’s New Residential Construction Report showed pronounced weakness with total permit activity declining 7.7% since February while total starts declined a notable 8.8% over the same period.

Single family housing permits, the most leading of indicators, declined 1.2% from February to 727K single family units (SAAR), but rose 13.2% above the level seen a year earlier and still remained well below levels seen at the peak in September 2005.

Single family housing starts declined a notable 9.2% from February to 764K units (SAAR) but rose 22.6% above the level seen a year earlier but still remained well below the levels seen at the peak in September 2005.

Monday, April 18, 2016

NAHB/Wells Fargo Home Builder Sentiment: April 2016

Today, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released their latest Housing Market Index (HMI) showing that overall assessments of housing activity generally went flat in April with the composite HMI index remaining flat at 58 while the "buyer traffic" index improved to a level of 44.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization: March 2016

Today, the Federal Reserve released their monthly read of industrial production and capacity utilization showing continued weakness in March with total industrial production declining 0.59% from February falling 2.03% below the level seen in March 2015.

Capacity utilization also weakened falling 0.66% from February declining 3.23% below the level seen in March 2015 to stand at 74.8%.

It's important to note that industrial production is still showing significant weakness which, if all past periods were to serve at least as a rough guide, now clearly indicates notable trouble for the macro-economy.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey: April 2016

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey consists of a series of diffusion indices distilled from a monthly survey of New York regional manufacturing executives and seeks to identify trends across 22 different current and future manufacturing related activities.

Today’s report showed a overall improvement for both current and future assessments of manufacturing activity with the current activity index rising to a level of 9.56 while future activity rose to a level of 29.4.

Current prices paid jumped up to 19.23 while current new orders improved to 11.14 while assessments of future new orders declined slightly to 36.55.