4/24: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

April U.S. Composite Output Index falls 33 percent from March and 45 percent from February

The IHS Markit Flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index declined to 27.4 in April, down from 40.9 in March and 49.6 in February, to signal the fastest reduction in private sector output since the series began in late-2009. The Services PMI™ Business Activity Index registered 27.0 at the start of the second quarter, down from 39.8 in March and 49.4 in February.  The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index™ fell to 36.9, down from 48.5 in March and 50.7 in February.



Initial unemployment claims flattening at 4.4 million in weekly report

In the week ending April 18, initial claims were 4,427,000, a slight decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 5,786,500, an increase of 280,000 from the previous week’s revised average. Over the past five weeks, 26 million claims have been filed, suggesting an overall official unemployment rate of over 19 percent, up from 3.5 percent in February.



March new home sales fell 15.4 percent from February and 9.5 percent year-on-year

Sales of new single‐family houses in March 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 627,000, down 15.4 percent from February and 9.5 percent year-on-year. At current sales rates, the supply timeline rose to 6.4 months, versus 5.2 months in February and 5.8 months the same period of 2019.



FHFA House Price Index up 0.7 percent in February and 5.7 percent year-on-year

U.S. house prices rose in February, up 0.7 percent from the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI), and were also up 5.7 percent year-on-year.  The previously reported 0.3 percent increase for January 2020 was revised upward to 0.5 percent.



Weekly Index of Consumer Sentiment rebounds due to more positive expectations of the future

After a strong and persistent rebound in confidence in the seven days following the all-time low of 81.23 on April 7, Morning Consult’s Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) rebounded to 83.57 on April 15, and has remained in that range ever since. The recent rebound in consumer confidence has been driven by improvements in consumers’ expectations of the future and not by their assessment of current economic conditions.