Last Week in the News
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index on a non-seasonally adjusted basis rose 2.2% in May, following a 1.3% increase in April. On a year-over-year basis, prices fell 0.7% compared with May 2011.
The Bay Area MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) fared even better as is often the case. For the last four consecutive reporting periods the index as been up. The index lags real time by three months so May’s number have just been released and they show more than a 10% increase since February 2012.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that personal income increased $61.8 billion or 0.5% in June. Consumer spending was flat in June, following a 0.1% decrease in May.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending July 27 rose 0.2%. Refinancing applications increased 0.8%. Purchase volume fell 2%.
Manufacturing activity rose to 49.8 in July after a reading of 49.7 in June. A reading below 50 signals contraction. This was the second consecutive contraction since July 2009.
Total construction spending rose 0.4% to $842.1 billion in June from an upwardly revised 1.6% increase in May. Compared to June 2011, construction spending is up 7%.
Factory orders fell 0.5% in June to a seasonally adjusted $465.8 billion, following a revised 0.5% increase in May. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders decreased 1.8% in June.
Non-manufacturing activity rose to 52.6 in July from 52.1 in June. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 31st straight month of expansion in the services sector.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending July 28 rose by 8,000 to 365,000 from an upwardly revised 357,000 the prior week. Continuing claims for the week ending July 21 fell 19,000 to 3.272 million. The unemployment rate rose to 8.3% in July from 8.2% in June. Employers added 163,000 jobs in July.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on consumer credit on August 7 and wholesale trade on August 9.