MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
July builder confidence jumps 14 points to 72, matching pre-pandemic levels
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes jumped 14 points to 72 in July, and now stands at the solid pre-pandemic reading in March before the outbreak affected much of the nation. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions jumped 16 points to 79, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months rose seven points to 75 and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers posted a 15-point gain to 58.
Another 1.3 million unemployment claims filed, continued claims dip to 17.3 million
In the week ending July 11, seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims were 1.3 million, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised level (although the seasonally unadjusted number rose 7.8 percent to 1.5 million). The level of continued unemployment claims for the week ending July 4 was 17.3 million, a decrease of 422,000 from the previous week’s revised level (although the unadjusted number rose 5.1 percent to 17.4 million).
June retail sales rise 7.5 percent from May, also up 1.1 percent year-on-year
June retail sales were $524.3 billion, an increase of 7.5 percent from the previous month, and up 1.1 percent year-on-year. Total sales for the April 2020 through June 2020 period were down 8.1 percent from the same period a year ago.
Federal Reserve Beige Book: Continued uncertainty as economy reopens
Economic activity increased in almost all Districts from mid-May through the first week of July, but remained well below where it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumer spending picked up as many nonessential businesses were allowed to reopen. The PPP and loan deferrals by private lenders reportedly provided many firms with sufficient liquidity for the near term. Outlooks remained highly uncertain, as contacts grappled with how long the COVID-19 pandemic would continue and the magnitude of its economic implications.
June industrial production rebounds 5.4%, down 10.8% year-on-year
Total industrial production rose 5.4 percent in June after increasing 1.4 percent in May; even so, it remained 10.9 percent below its pre-pandemic February level and 10.8 percent lower year-on-year. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 3.5 percentage points to 68.6 percent in June, a rate that is 11.2 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2019) average but 1.9 percentage points above its trough during the Great Recession.