Home sales have rebound in recent months. However, there is little evidence to support an expectation for a significant acceleration in housing activity in the coming months and quarters.
Retail-sales and initial-claims data show the economy may be gaining some momentum after a patch of weakness. However, continued uncertainty around U.S. economic policies and ongoing risks in the global economy remain significant concerns.
Consumer sentiment fell slightly in early April but remains at broadly favorable levels. Caution regarding the outlook is still warranted but the trends for the most recent data appear marginally more favorable.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to the lowest level since 1969, providing compelling evidence that the recent period of weakness may be passing.
Amid several months of mixed results in economic data, rebounding job creation in March helps tip the scales in favor of cautious optimism for continued economic expansion.
Nonmanufacturing activity expanded at a slower pace in March. The results are consistent with a range of economic data that point to uneven growth, but they do not suggest a recession is imminent.
The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index paints a modestly positive picture of the manufacturing sector in March, offsetting the weak report on February retail sales. The outlook is for ongoing economic expansion, but heightened caution is warranted.
Retail sales fell again in February, the second decline in the last three months. A string of mixed economic reports suggests caution is warranted.
Real gross domestic product grew at a 2.2 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter, with real private domestic demand rising 2.6 percent. High levels of uncertainty surrounding economic policy and global economic conditions combined with mixed economic data raise doubts about the current expansion.
The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index posted its third negative result in a row, but the index remains above levels historically associated with either recession or significant price increases.
The Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing survey was generally favorable in March with respondents were more upbeat about current conditions but somewhat less optimistic about the future.
Consumer sentiment improved in early March, maintaining a generally high level by historical comparison. The tight labor market remains one of the key supports for consumer sentiment.
New single-family home sales fell 6.9 percent in January. Slowing sales and rising inventory are weighing on new construction, suggesting new-home construction is unlikely to contribute significantly to economic growth in coming quarters.
Retail sales growth bounced back in January, but economic data continue to be mixed, suggesting a heightened degree of caution for the economic outlook.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls added just 20,000 jobs in February, the smallest monthly gain since September 2017. Combined with other recent disappointing economic data, the report raises concerns about the durability of the economic expansion.
The ISM’s nonmanufacturing index rose to 59.7 in February. The increase was led by strong performances by the activity index and the new orders index. The report suggests continued expansion for the economy last month.
The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index from the Institute for Supply Management registered a 54.2 percent reading in February. Despite a small decline, the index remains above neutral—a positive sign for the manufacturing sector.
Real gross domestic product rose at a 2.6 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter, putting the calendar year growth at 2.9 percent, the fastest pace since 2015. Consumer prices rose 1.5 percent in the quarter, putting the calendar year increase at 2.0 percent, the fastest since 2011, and the seventh year in a row with a pace of two percent or less.