November Publication Schedule

The Lehmann Letter (SM) October concluded with a rosy glow: Most indicators were up. We’ll track November as follows.  ECONOMIC INDICATOR PUBLICATION SCHEDULE  November 2014  Source (* below)……Series Description……Day & Date  Quarterly Data  BLS……….Productivity………….Thu, 6th BEA……….GDP & Profits…..……Tue, 25th Monthly Data ISM..Purchasing managers’ index…Mon, 3rd BEA.New-vehicle sales.(Approximate).Wed, 5th BLS………….Employment…………   Fri, 7th Fed. Consumer credit..(Approximate).Fri, 7th Census………….Inventories………. Fri, 14th BLS…………Producer prices……. Tue, 18th Fed……….Capacity utilization……Mon, 17th BLS……….Consumer prices.….. Thu, 20th Census………Housing starts…….Wed, 19th NAR………Existing-home sales….Thu, 20th Census……….Capital goods…….. Wed, 26th Conf Bd….Consumer confidence.. Tue, 25th Census……..New-home sales…… Wed, 26th *BEA = Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce Continue reading

GDP’s Strong Performance

The Lehmann Letter (SM) This morning the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported GDP rose by 3.5% in the third quarter: http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm That’s solid. And it follows an even stronger 4.6% gain in the second quarter. Very nice. (To be fully informed visit http://www.beyourowneconomist.com/) © 2014 Michael B. Lehmann      

Latest on Fed

The Lehmann Letter (SM) Here’s today’s Federal Reserve announcement on its policy going forward: http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20141029a.htm The key passages are: “….The Committee judges that there has been a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market since the inception of its current asset purchase program. Moreover, the Committee continues to see sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing progress toward maximum employment in a context of price stability. ….. “….To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal Continue reading

Consumer Confidence Pops Back

The Lehmann Letter (SM) Consumer Confidence popped back in October after a disappointing September. This morning The Conference Board reported Consumer Confidence rose to 94.5, its highest level since the Great Recession: https://www.conference-board.org/press/pressdetail.cfm?pressid=5311 That leads to the all-important question: Will the upward climb continue and break 100.0? It must before we can declare Consumer Confidence back to pre-recession levels. Consumer Confidence Recessions shaded Here’s the record since the beginning of 2013 (1985 = 100.0): 2013 January        58.4 February       68.0 March           61.9 April              69.0 May              74.3 June             82.1 July              81.0 August          81.8 September    80.2 October        72.4 November     72.0 December     77.5 2014 Continue reading

New-Home Sales: Another Reason Not To Buy

The Lehmann Letter (SM) The last edition of this letter featured a New York Times article that observed young adults increasingly choosing the amenities of urban apartments over new-home purchases. Is this phenomenon temporary or the start of a long-run trend? On October 24 The Wall Street Journal posted an article by Kris Hudson that appeared in the next day’s print edition: “New Homes’ Problem: Price” http://online.wsj.com/articles/new-homes-problem-price-1414188277 It provides another reason that new-home sales and the home-building industry are not recovering: “….The gap between the more expensive median price of newly built homes and that of resales has exceeded $70,000 Continue reading

Ominous Trend: Young Abstain From Home Purchases

The Lehmann Letter (SM) Take a look at these New York Times articles, posted on October 22 and 23 by Dionne Searcey: “No Picket Fence: Younger Adults Opting to Rent” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/23/business/no-picket-fence-younger-adults-opting-to-rent.html “Assisted-Living Complexes for Young People: Reporter’s Notebook” http://www.nytimes.com/times-insider/2014/10/23/assisted-living-complexes-for-young-people-reporters-notebook/ Young adults increasingly choose the amenities of urban apartments. That can’t be good for homebuilding. We’ll take a closer look on Monday. Meanwhile this morning the Census Bureau reported 467,000 new homes sold in September: http://www.census.gov/economic-indicators/#home_sales August and September were slightly higher than the year’s earlier months despite a downward revision of previous reports. Is that uptick a trend? We’ll see. Continue reading

Homebuilding Hopes

The Lehmann Letter (SM) Tomorrow the Census Bureau releases its September new-home sales data. Today The New York Times published two articles, posted yesterday, that should please builders. Tara Siegel Bernard’s article discusses the return to the market of buyers hurt by the Great Recession: “Years After the Market Collapse, Sidelined Borrowers Return” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/23/your-money/a-second-try-at-home-buying-after-the-market-collapse.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0 Peter Eavis’s story describes mortgage bankers’ efforts to ease lending restraints: “U.S. Loosens Reins, but Mortgage Lenders Want More Slack” http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/10/22/u-s-loosens-reins-but-mortgage-lenders-want-more-slack/?ref=todayspaper Tomorrow’s data will put these reports in perspective. (To be fully informed visit http://www.beyourowneconomist.com/) © 2014 Michael B. Lehmann      

Turning Points Are Tough Calls

The Lehmann Letter (SM) Stock markets rallied recently following last week’s sell-off. But forecasts remain difficult. See this morning’s article, posted yesterday, by Josh Zumbrun and Nick Timiraos in The Wall Street Journal: “Global Growth Woes Threaten to Beset U.S. Economy” http://online.wsj.com/articles/global-growth-woes-threaten-to-beset-u-s-economy-1413924119 It warns us that the slowing world economy remains a threat. An article by Neil Gough in yesterday’s New York Times, posted the day before, focuses on China: “Mixed Economic Signals From China” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/21/business/international/mixed-economic-signals-from-china.html?_r=0 It cautions us on forecasting’s difficulty: “….It is hard to be certain just exactly how the Chinese economy is faring, given mixed signals in Continue reading

Existing-Home Sales Remain Flat

The Lehmann Letter (SM) This morning the National Association of Realtors reported 5.17 million existing-home sales at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate: http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2014/10/existing-home-sales-rebound-in-september Although the Realtors reported sales were at their highest level for the year, the chart’s and table’s longer perspective reveals they are flat. Existing Home Sales (Recessions shaded) Existing home sales in millions: 2013 March           4.96 April              4.99 May              5.15 June             5.16 July              5.38 August          5.33 September    5.26 October        5.13 November     4.83 December     4.87 2014 January        4.62 February       4.60 March           4.59 April              4.66 May              4.89 June             5.03 July              5.14 August          5.05 September    5.17 (To be fully informed visit Continue reading