MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
August Leading Economic Index rises another 1.2 percent to 106.5
The U.S. Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased 1.2 percent in August to 106.5 (2016 = 100), following a 2.0 percent increase in July and a 3.1 percent increase in June. Despite the improvement, the LEI remains in recession territory, still 4.7 percent below its February level. The slowing pace of improvement also suggests that this summer’s economic rebound may be losing steam heading into the final stretch of 2020.
September consumer sentiment index rises to highest level in six months
Consumer sentiment improved in early September, rising 6.5 percent to 78.9 and reaching the top of the range it has traveled since April. However, it has fallen 15.3 percent year-on-year. Over the next several months, there are two factors that could cause volatile shifts and steep losses in consumer confidence: how the election is decided and the delays in obtaining vaccinations.
Median home values rise 0.7 percent in August and 5.1 percent year-on-year
A months-long inventory shortage helped push the typical U.S. home value to $256,663 in August, up 0.7 percent from July — the biggest month-over-month increase in nearly seven years. Home values were also up 5.1 percent in August compared to a year ago, the largest annual rise since March 2019.
Online job postings 18.7 percent lower year-on-year
The trend in job postings — a real-time measure of labor market activity — is 18.7 percent lower than in 2019, as of September 11. This is the third straight week of slight improvement but still about a half-point worse than the beginning of August. There was gradual improvement in May, June, and July. But since the end of July, job postings have stagnated at about 20 percent below last year’s trend.