Initial Unemployment Claims

May 19, 2022 Initial unemployment claims for the week of May 14 rose 21 thousand to 218 thousand after having fallen 5 thousand in the previous week. The 4-week average for claims rose 21 thousand to 218 thousand.  The level has risen slightly in the past couple of...

Housing Starts

May 18, 2022 Housing starts  fell 0.2% in april to 1,724 thousand after declining 2.8% in March after climbing by 6.7% in February. Starts have far surpassed the levels where they were in February of 2020 — prior to the recession.  Starts would be at an even...

Homebuilder Confidence

May 17, 2022 Homebuilder confidence fell 8 points in May to 69 after declining 2 points in April, 2 points in March and 0.1 point in January.  Despite the consecutive declines, the index remains at a fairly lofty level.  Keep in mind that any number over 50 indicates...

Industrial Production

May 17, 2022 Industrial production climbed 1.1% in April after rising 0.9% in March, 1.0% in February and 0.8% in January.  It is flying. Breaking industrial production down into its three basis categories — manufacturing, mining, and utilities –the Fed...

Retail Sales

May 17, 2022 Retail sales rose 0.9% in April after having risen 1.4% in March and 1.7% in February.  In the past year retail sales have climbed by 16.1%.  .  Despite higher inflation and higher interest rates the consumer appears to be unfazed. Motor vehicle sales...

Business Inventories / Sales Ratio

May 17, 2022 Firms are always trying to keep their inventories in line with sales.  When the economy falls into recession, typically businesses do not cut back production as quickly as sales decline, so the inventory/sales ratio rises sharply  — which is exactly...