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 & Building Permits
The Commerce Department reported that housing starts increased 4.8% in June to a rate of 1.189 million, topping estimates for a 0.9% increase. The release also showed that 1.015 million homes were under construction last month, which is the highest level in more than eight years. Building permits also increased in June, rising 1.5% to 1.153 million. Low interest rates and an improving job market continue to support the U.S. housing recovery.
Initial Claims for Unemployment
For the week ending July 16, initial claims for unemployment slipped to 253,000, which is the lowest level since mid-April. Economists were expecting jobless claims to rise to 256,000. The four-week moving average also dropped, falling to 257,750. Jobless claims have now remained below 300,000 threshold for 72-straight weeks.
Existing Home Sales
The National Association of Realtors announced on Thursday that existing home sales increase 1.1% to a 5.57 million annual rate in June. That pace is 3% higher than June 2015, and the highest rate in more than nine years. Economists were expecting a 5.47 million pace. Existing home inventory, though, continues to fall, dropping 5.8% last month. At the current sales pace, it would take 4.6 months to deplete inventories. Overall, the housing market is continuing to recover.
Index of Leading Economic Indicators
According to the Conference Board, the leading economic index increased 0.3% in June. The current conditions index also rose 0.3% last month. An improvement in building permits and jobless claims helped the LEI improve last month.
That’s all I have for you this week; I’ll be back online on Monday with your weekly ratings changes.
Have a great weekend,