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:
Housing Starts and Building Permits
In March, housing starts came in below estimates, as the U.S. Census bureau reported 1.089 million units, instead of the 1.155 million economists predicted. February numbers were revised upward to 1.194 million from the previously reported 1.178 million. In March, building permits also fell to a 1.086 million-unit pace, which came in below estimates for a 1.192 million-unit pace. However, February permits were revised to 1.117 million, up from the previously reported 1.167 million. Though both reports showed a decline, the 2016 numbers are above the 2015 levels for the same time period.
Existing Home Sales
The National Association of Realtors reported that the pace of existing home sales shot 5.1% higher to an annual rate of 5.33 million units in March. This was in line with economists’ expectations. The sales pace for February was revised slightly lower to 5.07 million units, opposed to the previously reported 5.08 million units.
Initial Claims for Unemployment
For the week ending April 16, initial claims for unemployment decreased by 6,000 to 247,000. The prior week’s claims were unrevised. The four-week moving average also dropped 4,500 lower to 260,500. Jobless claims are now at their lowest level in more than 40 years.
Index of Leading Economic Indicators
The Conference Board announced that its index of leading economic indicators increased 0.2% to 123.4 in March. February’s numbers were revised downward to a 0.1% decrease from the previously reported 0.1% increase. This gain points to growth in the U.S., even though it is slow growth.
Have a great weekend,