Key Economic Indicators – October 26, 2015

  • Housing starts in September were up 6.5% from the previous month, and were up 17.5% from a year ago.  Building permits for September were down 5.0% from the previous month, but were up 4.7% from September 2014.
  • September existing home sales were up 4.7% from the previous month, and were up 8.8% from September 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors. The median sales price of existing houses sold was $221.9 thousand, 6.1% above September 2014. There were 2,210 thousand homes for sale at the end of the month. This represents a supply of 4.8 months at the current sales rate, compared to 5.4 in September of 2014.
  • The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo increased 3 points to 64 in October. The index was 57 in January and 54 in October of 2014.
  • U.S. House prices rose 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis from July to August, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) monthly House Price Index. For the 12 months ending in August, house prices rose 5.5%. The index is 0.9% below its March 2007 peak and is roughly the same as the December 2006 index level.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of October 22nd showed average fixed mortgage rates declining. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.79% for the week ending October 22nd, down from last week when it averaged 3.82%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.92%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 11.8% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending October 16th.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 3 thousand to 259 thousand in the week ending October 17th, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The 4-week moving average was 263.25 thousand, a decrease of 2 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. This was the lowest level for this average since December 15, 1973 when it was 256.75 thousand.
  • Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from August, six states had increases, and seven states had no change. In September, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 27 states, increased in 20 states and the District of Columbia, and remained unchanged in 3 states.
  • Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 110.4 million full-time wage and salary workers were $803 in the third quarter of 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, up 1.6% from a year earlier.
  • The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators, which held steady in July and August, decreased 0.2% in September.  The coincident index increased 0.2%, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month..
  • Chicago FED National Activity Index was negative 0.37 in September, compared with negative 0.39 in August and positive 0.49 in July. The index was 0.19 in September of 2014.
  • Kansas City FED Manufacturing Index revealed that economic activity in the Tenth District was weak and was expected to remain largely unchanged heading forward. The index was negative 1 in October, up from negative 8 in September, and negative 9 in August. The index was 3 in January 2015, and 4 in October of 2014.

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