It’s Friday and that means it’s time to review the latest economic data and identify which pockets of the economy are heating up and which are slowing down. Don’t worry about catching every headline and every report throughout the week—I recap all of the most important news impacting your wealth right here every Friday. Let’s take a look at this week’s big headlines:
Overall U.S. industrial production increased 1.3% in November, and October was revised up to a 0.1% increase. Capacity utilization surged 80.1% in November, up from October’s revised reading of 79.3%. Manufacturing output rose 0.4% last month. U.S. manufacturing output is now back above its prerecession peak, as manufacturers ignore the turmoil overseas. Overall industrial production was up 5.2% year-over-year in November, which shows the U.S. economy is growing stronger.
Housing Starts & Building Permits
Housing starts and building permits declined last month, as new home construction dipped 1.6% and building permits dropped 5.2%. October’s housing starts were revised upward to 1.045 million groundbreakings, up from 1.009 million, while permits were bumped to 1.092 million, up from 1.08 million. While the November figures were disappointing, it was positive to see the October figures revised higher.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) dipped 0.3% in October, falling more than economists’ expectations for a 0.1% decline. Core CPI (excluding food and energy prices) climbed 0.1% In October. Gasoline prices slipped 6.6% in October, while food prices increased 0.2%. In the past 12 months, CPI has risen 1.4%, while core CPI has increased 1.7%. Inflation remains under control, and I still don’t see the Fed raising rates any time soon.
Initial Claims for Unemployment
For the week ending December 13, jobless claims dropped by 6,000 to 289,000. That beat economists’ projections for jobless claims to total 295,000. The four-week moving average of jobless claims is now at 298,750. In 14 of the last 15 weeks, jobless claims have been below 300,000, which suggests the job market is steadily improving.
Index of Leading Economic Indicators
The Conference Board’s leading economic index increased 0.6% in November, in line with expectations. October’s figure was revised lower to 0.6%, down from 0.9%. Eight of the 10 indicators increased and added positively to the index last month. This was a good report and shows that we should see moderate growth this winter.
That’s all I have for you this week. I’ll be in touch with the latest Portfolio Grader changes and Stock of the Day on Monday.
Have a great weekend,