10/20: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

Leading Economic Index dipped slightly in September, partly due to hurricanes

The US LEI declined slightly in September for the first time in the last twelve months, partly a result of the temporary impact of the recent hurricanes. The source of weakness was concentrated in labor markets and residential construction, while the majority of the LEI components continued to contribute positively.

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Fed’s September Beige Book: Continued overall growth even with hurricane impacts

Reports from all 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity increased in September through early October, with the pace of growth split between modest and moderate. Residential construction continued to increase, and growth in commercial construction was up slightly on balance. Low home inventory levels continued to constrain residential sales in many areas, while nonresidential real estate activity increased slightly overall.

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October Empire State Manufacturing Survey index rises to highest level in three years

The headline general business conditions index climbed six points to 30.2, its highest level in three years.  Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms remained optimistic about future conditions.

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October Philadephia Fed’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey rises to highest level since May

The index for current manufacturing activity in the region increased 4 points to a reading of 27.9 and is now at its highest reading since May. The indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggest that firms remained optimistic about future growth.

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Mortgage applications rise 3.6 percent in latest survey

The Market Composite Index increased 3.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans up 4 percent and refinances up 3 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.14 percent.

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Initial unemployment claims fall to lowest level since March 1973 in most recent report

In the week ending October 14, initial unemployment claims were 222,000, a decrease of 22,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 31, 1973 when it was 222,000. The 4-week moving average was 248,250, a decrease of 9,500 from the previous week’s revised average.

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