New residential construction ground to a halt in December, as the nation’s homebuilders were hit by weak demand, an oversupply of homes, and a dehabilitating credit crunch, all in one. Housing starts for the month of December plunged another 15.5%, to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 550,000, the lowest level on record (records have been kept since 1959). The number was completely off the .. read more
The Federal Reserve Beige Book is a commentary on current economic conditions. Each Federal Reserve Bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its District through reports from Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources. The Beige Book summarizes this information by District and sector. .. read more
According to the monthly Commerce Department report, retail sales, which account for about one-third of US gross domestic product, fell another 2.7% in December, after a downwardly-revised record 3.4% decline in October and a 2.1% drop in November. In the last quarter of the year, retail sales are down 7.7% from the same period a year ago, a staggering .. read more
Nonfarm payrolls in the US fell for the 12th straight month, as a whopping 524,000 jobs were lost in December. The job losses, the greatest in 24 years, signal an ongoing weakening labor market, as 2.6 million jobs were lost in all of 2008. That’s the most since 1945, when the US economy was demobilizing following the end of WWII. On top of .. read more
The number of people filing for first time unemployment benefits is trending lower, following drastic declines during the holiday-shortened weeks, according to the US Department of Labor. For the week ending January 2nd, initial jobless claims were 467,000, a decrease of 24,000 from the previous reading of 491,000. This was a surprise, as economists were expecting 540,000 new claims for the week. Initial claims running consistently .. read more
US employment in the private sector fell by 693,000 in December, according to the ADP employment report released Wednesday. This follows a downwardly-revised November in which payrolls were lower by 476,000, not the initially reported 250,000. For December, the number was below estimations, as economists were looking for job losses in the range of 500,000.
New orders for manufactured goods in the US plunged 4.6% in the month of November, the 4th straight monthly decline. The contraction follows a downwardly-revised record 6.0% drop in orders in October and a 3.1% drop in September. The data, first reported by the Commerce Department, is worse than expected, as economists were expecting a number closer to 2.3%. Excluding transportation .. read more
The pending home sales index, an index tracking the level of sales contracts on previously owned homes, dropped another 4.0% in November, after a downwardly-revised 4.3% decline in October. The index came in at 82.3, down from 85.7 the previous month. Economists were expecting a less drastic 1.0% decline, though, as things weren’t expected to be very ugly. It .. read more