Early February survey from purchasing managers shows first economic contraction since October 2013
The IHS Markit Flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index fell to 49.6 in February, down from 53.3 in January. This marks the first overall contraction in the economy since October 2013. Most of this decline was noted in the service sector, with the U.S. Services Business Activity Index falling to 49.4 from 53.4, the lowest level in over six years. In the manufacturing sector, the U.S. Manufacturing Output Index fell from 52.4 to 50.6, or a 7-month low.
January existing home sales dip 1.3 percent from December, but still up 9.6 percent year-on-year
Total existing-home sales decreased 1.3% from December to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in January. However, for the second straight month, overall sales substantially increased year-over-year, up 9.6% from a year ago.
Gallup: 61 percent of Americans better off today versus three years ago
Sixty-one percent of Americans say they are better off than they were three years ago, a higher percentage than in prior election years when an incumbent president was running. In the 1992, 1996 and 2004 election cycles, exactly half said they were better off. In three separate measures during the 2012 election cycle, an average of 45% said they were better off.