Morning Business Data

Here’s a quick recap of the business data this morning.

Jobless Claims

Initial jobless claims for last week fell by 53,000 to 610,000. As I’ve said before, the weekly data is too volatile so concentrate on the four week moving average. That number was 651,000 an 8,500 decrease. Somewhat positive but too small a change to get real excited about. Link here.

Philly Fed Report

Manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region got worse at a slower rate, if that makes any sense. The index increased from -35 in March to -24.4 in April. New orders were -24.3 from -40.7, shipments were -35.7 from -26.5 and inventory went from -55.6 to -40.2. Basically reaffirming the notion that the rate of decline in the economy is slowing, not that it’s growing. Hey, you have to start somewhere. Link here.

Housing Starts

Housing starts fell 10.8% in March to a seasonally adjusted rate of 510,000 from 572,000 in February. Building permits fell 9% to a 513,000. The bottom line is that it makes no sense to build in most areas of the country right now. New homes can’t compete on a price basis with foreclosures and we are not anywhere near the end of that episode. Hopefully, the government has learned its lesson with regard to foreclosure moratoria plans and will just let the process play out. When you see that happen then you will start seeing new homes being built. Link here.

Funny how you start to get used to news like this, isn’t it. A couple years ago these numbers would have been unimaginable. Makes you wonder what it might be like two years from now.

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