12/17: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

December builder confidence soars to 76, highest level since mid-1999

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes increased five points to 76 in December, for the highest reading since June of 1999.  The HMI index gauging current sales conditions rose seven points to 84, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months edged up one point to 79, and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers increased four points to 58.



Earliest monthly survey on U.S. economy rises in December on strength of service sector

The Markit U.S. Composite PMI Output Index rose to 52.2 in December (up from 52.0 in November), to indicate the quickest rise in output since July.  The Manufacturing PMI slipped to 52.5 (52.6 in November), while the Services Business Activity Index rose to 52.2 (51.6 in November), a 5-month high.



November retail sales up 0.2 percent from October and 3.3 percent year-on-year

Although November’s retail sales were up 0.2 percent from October (and flat when subtracting out sales for gas and cars), the increase was still far below consensus forecasts of closer to 0.5 percent. Still, overall retail sales were still up 3.3 percent year-on-year.