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:
New Home Sales
On Monday, the Commerce Department announced that new home sales slipped 7.6% to 609,000 units in August. Economists were expecting new home sales to decline to 600,000 units. New home sales for July were revised higher by 5,000 units, up to 659,000. That’s the highest level of annualized sales in nine years. The less-than-expected decline in new home sales last month is being attributed to an increase in inventories in August.
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence reading jumped to 104 in September, which is the highest level since August 2007. So despite all of the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming Presidential election, Americans were more confident in September, thanks in part to an improving jobs market.
Durable Goods Orders
U.S. manufacturing continues to struggle, as the Commerce Department reported that durable goods orders were flat in August. Economists were expecting durable goods orders to decline 1.5%. For the first eight months of the year, durable goods orders have declined 0.6%. Excluding aircraft and defense, core capital goods increase 0.6% in August.
Second-Quarter GDP (Third Estimate)
Yesterday morning, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy grew at a 1.4% annual rate in the second quarter, which is up from previous estimates of 1.1%. The new estimate was also above economists’ expectations for a 1.3% pace. The boost was thanks in part to an improvement in business investment and a 4.3% increase in consumer spending. While this was a positive report, U.S. GDP growth still remains below the 2% annual rate averaged since 2009. And weak economic growth will likely continue to weigh on any Fed interest rate decision.
Initial Claims for Unemployment
For the week ending September 24, initial claims for unemployment increased by 3,000 to 254,000. That was a smaller increase than expected, as economists were looking for 260,000 jobless claims in the most-recent week. The four-week moving average dropped by 2,250 to 256,000.
That’s all I have for you this week; I’ll be back online on Monday morning with your weekly ratings changes.
Have a great weekend,