MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Retail sales down 0.7 percent in December, but up 2.9 percent year-on-year
Retail and food service sales fell for the third straight month in December, down 0.7% from November, but still up 2.9% year-on-year. For all of 2020, overall sales squeaked up 0.6%.
Inflation tracker Producer Price Index rose 0.8 percent in 2020 versus 1.4 percent in 2019
The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.3 percent in December, seasonally adjusted. On an unadjusted basis, the final demand index moved up 0.8 percent in 2020, after increasing 1.4 percent in 2019. Prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services rose 0.4 percent in December, the eighth consecutive advance. In 2020, the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services moved up 1.1 percent, following a 1.5-percent increase in 2019.
Consumer sentiment barely slips in early January, but partisan divide as large as ever
Consumer sentiment posted trivial declines in early January — falling 1.9% from December to 79.2 — despite the horrendous rise in covid-19 deaths, the insurrection, and the impeachment of Trump. Two offsetting shifts helped narrow the January loss in sentiment: the covid-19 vaccines and a partisan shift in expectations due to the anticipated impact of Biden’s economic policies. Importantly, covid’s threats to physical and mental health were seen in January as more important than its financial repercussions.
Active listings hit new low as pending home sales up 35 percent year-on-year
During the 4-week period ending January 10, the median home sale price increased 14% year over year to $320,025, while pending home sales were up 35% year over year. New listings of homes for sale were down 3% from a year earlier—the first decline since July. Active listings fell 33% from 2020 to a new all-time low.