12/28: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

Consumer Sentiment Index improves 4.7 percent in December but still down 12.5 percent year-on-year

The Consumer Sentiment Index improved in December, rising 4.7 percent from November but still down 12.5 percent year-on-year. The uptick was primarily due to significant gains among households with incomes in the bottom third of the distribution. Indeed, the bottom third expected their incomes to rise during the year ahead by 2.8%, up from 1.8% last December, and the highest level since 2.9% was recorded in 1999. Confidence and spending are likely to be depressed in January, but it is too early to know the eventual impact of Omicron on the economy.


Initial unemployment claims unchanged from previous week at just 205,000

In the week ending December 18, initial unemployment claims were 205,000, unchanged from the previous week’s revised level. Continued claims during the week ending December 11 was 1,859,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending December 4 was 2,137,980, a decrease of 320,452 from the previous week.


Home Building Shows Ongoing Growth in Second Home Counties

Per the latest results of NAHB’s Home Building Geography Index, in the third quarter of 2021, both single-family and multifamily home building showed gains in second home counties. This marked a reversal for multifamily after weakness last year. Second home counties are defined by NAHB as those having a high proportion of housing units that are not their owners’ primary residence, such as vacation homes. Between the third quarter of 2020 and 2021, the growth rate for single-family home building in second home markets was 36.1%, compared to an average of 23.2% for non-second home markets.