MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Initial unemployment claims dip again to lowest level since mid-March 2020
In the week ending October 16, initial unemployment claims were 290,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. Continued claims during the week ending October 9 were 2,481,000, a decrease of 122,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending October 2 was 3,279,036, a decrease of 369,992 from the previous week.
Existing home sales rise 7.0 percent in September but down 2.3 percent year-on-year
Existing-home sales on a seasonally adjusted annual rate rose 7% in September from August, with all regions showing an increase. From one year ago, sales fell 2.3 percent, the inventory of unsold homes decreased 13% to 1.27 million – equivalent to 2.4 months of the monthly sales pace. From the prior month, inventory dipped 0.8%. The median existing-home sales price climbed 13.3% year-over-year to $352,800.
Leading Economic Index edges up 0.2 percent in September as growth rate slows
The U.S. LEI rose again in September, though at a slower rate of 0.2 percent, suggesting the economy remains on a more moderate growth trajectory compared to the first half of the year. The Delta variant, rising inflation fears, and supply chain disruptions are all creating headwinds for the US economy. Despite the LEI’s slower growth in recent months, the strengths among the components remain widespread. Indeed, The Conference Board continues to forecast strong growth ahead: 5.7 percent year-over-year for 2021 and 3.8 percent for 2022.