Economic Update Provided by Marie Richarz, Prospect Mortgage
Week Ending December 5, 2011
New home sales rose 1.3% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000 units from a revised rate of 303,000 units in September. Compared to a year ago, new home sales were up 8.9%.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index — on a non-seasonally adjusted basis — fell 0.6% in September after a 0.1% increase in August. On a year-over-year basis, prices fell 3.6% compared with September 2010.
The consumer confidence index rose to 56 in November from 40.9 in October, the largest gain since April 2003. The index was benchmarked at 100 in 1985, a year chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough in consumer confidence.
Pending home sales, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, rose 10.4% in October after a 4.6% decrease in September. On a year-over-year basis, pending home sales are up 9.2%.
The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly composite index of manufacturing activity rose to 52.7 in November after a reading of 50.8 in October. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 28th straight month of expansion.
Total construction spending rose 0.8% to $798.5 billion in October, following a 0.2% increase in September. Economists had anticipated an increase of 0.3% in October.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 6,000 to 402,000 for the week ending November 26. Continuing claims for the week ending November 19 rose by 35,000 to 3.7 million. The monthly unemployment rate fell to 8.6% in November from 9% in October.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on factory orders on December 5 and wholesale trade on December 8.