3/16/21: EconUpdate by P. Duffy

EconUpdate by P. Duffy


Inflation tracker PPI leaps 0.5 percent in February and 2.8 percent year-on-year

What does this mean?  While the increase in inflation may be temporary, if it rises higher over time that may result in the Federal Reserve hiking its benchmark interest rate.

The Producer Price Index (PPI) was up another 0.5% in February (driven almost entirely by the 1.4% rise in the index for goods), and has risen 2.8% year-on-year, for the highest annual increase since October 2018.


Early March Consumer Sentiment Index rises to highest level in a year

What does this mean?  The vaccine roll-out and job market gains have consumers feeling increasingly optimistic, with more room to run.

The Index of Consumer Sentiment rose 8.1% in early March to the highest level in a year, although it’s still down 6.8% year-on-year. Although the gains were widespread, the largest monthly gains were concentrated among households in the bottom third of the income distribution as well as those aged 55 or older.


Home prices increased a record 17%, pending sales up 19% year-on-year

What does this mean?  The housing market boom continues, with record sales prices recorded as active listings fall to a new low.

For the 4-week period ending March 7, the median home-sale price tracked by Redfin increased 17% year over year to $328,350, an all-time high. Pending home sales were up 19% year over year and up 3% from the four-week period ending February 7. Active listings fell 41% from 2020 to a new all-time low.