Friday, August 31, 2012

University of Michigan Survey of Consumers August 2012 (Final)

Today's final release of the Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers for August indicated an increase in consumer sentiment from the prior month with a reading of 74.3 and improvement on an annual basis with the level increasing a notable 33.15% above a year ago while one year inflation expectations rose to 3.6%.

The Index of Consumer Expectations (a component of the Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators) declined to 65.1, and the Current Economic Conditions Index rose to 88.7.

It's important to recognize that consumer sentiment has seriously eroded over the past few months with the current results remaining near levels not seen since 1980, a major indication that consumers are in the process of tightening even further on spending.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Extended Unemployment: Initial, Continued and Extended Unemployment Claims August 30 2012

Today’s jobless claims report indicated that initial unemployment claims went flat and continued unemployment claims declined slightly while seasonally adjusted initial claims remained below the closely watched 400K level.

Seasonally adjusted “initial” wen flat at 374,000 claims while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims declined by 5,000 resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 2.6%.

Since the middle of 2008 though, two federal government sponsored “extended” unemployment benefit programs (the “extended benefits” and “EUC 2008” from recent legislation) have been picking up claimants that have fallen off of the traditional unemployment benefits rolls.

Currently there are some 2.27 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits.

Taken together with the latest 3.16 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 5.44 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pending Home Sales: July 2012

Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Pending Home Sales Report for July showing that pending home sales improved with the seasonally adjusted national index climbing 2.4% since June while increasing 12.4% above the level seen in July 2011.

Meanwhile, the NARs chief economist Lawrence Yun points out that there has been no 15 consecutive months of annual gains suggesting that buying activity is on the mend:

"While the month-to-month movement has been uneven, more importantly we now have 15 consecutive months of year-over-year gains in contract activity ... All regions saw monthly increases in home-buying activity except for the West, which is now experiencing an acute inventory shortage,"

The following chart shows the seasonally adjusted national pending home sales index along with the percent change on a year-over-year basis as well as the percent change from the peak set in 2005 (click for larger version).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

S&P/Case-Shiller: June 2012

Note... be sure to bookmark the overall S&P/Case-Shiller Dashboard or the Scary Housing Dashboard of the weakest markets for a real-time view of all the markets tracked by S&P.

The latest release of the S&P/Case-Shiller (CSI) home price indices for June reported that the non-seasonally adjusted Composite-10 price index increased 2.18% since May while the Composite-20 index increased 2.33% over the same period.

The latest CSI data clearly indicates that the price trends are experiencing an uptrend through the typically more active spring-summer season and as I recently pointed out, the more timely and less distorted Radar Logic RPX data is continuing to capture notable rising prices driven primarily by seasonality.

The 10-city composite index increased 0.10% as compared to June 2011 while the 20-city composite increased 0.50% over the same period.

Both of the broad composite indices show significant peak declines slumping -31.49% for the 10-city national index and -31.14% for the 20-city national index on a peak comparison basis.

To better visualize today’s results use to view the full release.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm Back!

I'm back and while I wasn't inspired to blog while away in France, I'm ready to fire up the econ data posts and possibly throw in a few new creative posts from time to time.

Looks like the overall economic picture hasn't changed much this summer... unchanged unemployment rate, tepid Q2 GDP, falling June existing home sales, etc... though I have yet to really digest all the data series in detail to fully absorb the latest trends.

One thing I can say with certainty though... home sales activity has peaked for the year as the seasonal factors (lower demand for single family homes post-summer heading into new school year) begin to sink in resulting in reduced sales until mid-November where sales will dramatically slow until the beginning of the next selling season in the Spring of 2013.

Tomorrow's S&P/Case-Shiller home price index should continue to capture generally rising prices, a trend that is likely to remain until the slower Fall and Winter sales begin to influence the data.