Economic data a little weaker this morning

Mark DiMercurio | August 20th, 2015

Economic data was plentiful this morning, but tilted towards the weaker side as the reports streamed in, while inflation at the consumer level declined.  The weaker than expected data gave a boost to the Bond markets as investors shifted over to more safer assets.

The Commerce Department gave a mixed reading on the housing market as the sector continues to recover.  Building permits, a sign of future construction, surged by 14.3% in April, but housing starts declined by 16.5%.  It was a minor setback on the road to recovery and one report doesn't constitute a trend.  The breakdown showed that single-family starts fell 2.1% while multi-family dwellings plunged by 37% from March to April.  From April of 2012 to April 2013, housing starts were up 13%...the long-term upward trend continues, but there will be bumps in the road along the way.

The labor markets also received a bit of bad news this morning as Weekly Initial Jobless Claims rose by 32,000 in the latest week to 360,000, the highest level since late March.  A spokesman from the Labor Department said there was no unusual activity for the survey and that the sequester had no effect on the numbers.

The Last economic data point today was a report from the Philadelphia Fed showing that manufacturing in the region weakened in May and all of the components were also negative.  The Philly Fed Index decreased from 1.3 in April to -5.2 this month.  The employment component fell 2 points to -8.7, its second consecutive negative reading.  The weak report comes after yesterday's worse than expected manufacturing data from New York.