Mixed Bag Of US Economic Data Out TodayMay 22, 2014
It has been a very quiet week on the US economic report front but today we finally have a string of high profile releases. We will take them in order of release times…
Jobless Claims snapped back a sharp 28K jobs to 326k during the week of May 17th. However, the widely watched 4-week moving average decreased slightly.
The Chicago Fed National Activity Index fell precipitously in April from 0.34 (i.e. well above trend growth) to -0.32 (i.e. well below trend growth). This indicates a significant slowdown in April occured. Once again, the silver lining is in the moving average. The 3-month moving average actually improved to 0.19 which is the highest level since November 2013. The other piece of good news from this report is the employment series moved up slightly and remains above trend growth.
The Markit Flash PMI Manufacturing series is showing improvement from 55.4 to 56.2 in May. New orders and backlog of orders were both strong, however, export orders were just barely above the accelerating/decelerating line of 50 at 51.5.
Existing home sales had their first monthly improvement in 4 months in April, however, it is still down nearly 7% year-over-year. Prices have started to slow as the median home prices and the mean home price now stand at about 5.2% and 3.7%, respectively compared to double-digit growth rates in the middle of 2013. Number of months supply shot up to 5.9 months, the highest since August 2012. The Pending Home Sales index (with a two-month forward lag) has been a reliable leading indicator for existing home sales and it is suggesting the existing home sales could increase again in May
Last but not least, index of leading indicators rose 0.4%, in line with consensus, in April. Leading indicators are now about 5.9% higher than they were a year ago. March’s increase was revised higher from 0.8% to 1%.