December 3, 2020

Challenger Job-Cut Report  (November 2020)

- Announced layoffs         64,797. Previous was  80,666 

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas


Initial Jobless Claims (week ended 11/28/2020)

- Initial Claims seasonally adjusted        712,000. Previous was 7487,000

- Initial Claims  not  seasonally adjusted unadjusted, totaled 713,824 in the week ending November 28, a decrease of 122,453 (or -14.6 percent) from the previous week

- 4-Week Moving Average seasonally adjusted    739,500. Previous was 750,750

Total receiving regular state UI decreased by 147,538 

Total receiving Pandemic UI decreased by 339,068 

Total receiving Emergency Pandemic UI increased by 79,698

Total receiving any UI decreased by 349,633 

The implicit unadjusted Unemployment rate was 3.8%.  While this is what is used as the official unemployment rate it is a rather meaningless statistic because it does not include the 13.4 million receiving Pandemic UI.

Source:  Labor Department   Details: https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf


PMI Manufacturing Final  (November 2020)

- Index 56.8. Previous was 56.9

A survey index from the supply side.

Source:  Markit Economics


ISM Manufacturing Index  (November  2020)

- Index 55.9. Previous was 56.6

Source:  Institute for Supply Management


December 2, 2020

MBA Mortgage Applications (week ended 11/27/2020)

- Purchase Index week/week 9.9%.  Previous weeks were +4.0%, +4.0%, 3.0%, -1.0%, +0.2%, -2.0%, -2.0%, -2.0%, -2.0%, +3.0%-1.0%, +3.0%,  -0.2%, and +0.4%

- Refinance Index week/week  -5.0%. Previous weeks were +3.8%, -2.0%, +1.0%, +6.0%, +3.0%, +0.2%, -0.3%, +8.0%, -7.0%, +9.0%, -4.0%, +3.0%,  -3.0%, -10.0%, and -5.0% 

- Composite Index week/week -0.6. Previous weeks were +5.0%, -0.3%,  -0.5%, +3.8%, +1.7%, -0.6%, -0.7%, +4.8%, -4.8%, +6.8%, 2.5%, +2.9%, -2.0%, -6.5%, -3.3%, and +6.8%.

Refis are 102% year/year.  Purchase applications are +28% year/year,

Source:  MBA  Details: https://www.mba.org/2020-press-releases/december/mortgage-applications-decrease-in-latest-mba-weekly-survey


ADP Private Jobs  (November 2020)

- Private Jobs +307,000. Previous was +404,000

Still growing but at a slower pace.

Source: ADP   Details:  https://adpemploymentreport.com/2020/November/NER/docs/ADP-NATIONAL-EMPLOYMENT-REPORT-November2020-Final-Press-Release.pdf


December 1, 2020

Redbook Chain Store Sales (week ended 11/28 /2020)

- Store Sales year/year +9.2%.  Previous was +2.8%

Source: Redbook Research Inc.


PMI Manufacturing Final  (November 2020)

- Index 56.7. Previous was 53.4

A survey index from the supply side.

Source:  Institute For Supply Management


ISM Manufacturing Index  (November 2020)

- Index 57.5 Previous was 59.3

Source:  Institute for Supply Management


Construction Spending  (October 2020)

- Month over Month    +1.3%. Previous was -0.5%

- Year over Year 3.7%. Previous was 1.9%

Source:  Census  Details: https://www.census.gov/construction/c30/pdf/release.pdf


November 30, 2020

Chicago PMI   (November 2020)

- Index 58.2.   Previous was  61.1

Source: Institute For Supply Management - Chicago


Pending Home Sales Index  (November 2020)

- Month over Month  -1.2%. Previous was -2.2%.

Source: National Association of Realtors


November 25, 2020

MBA Mortgage Applications (week ended 11/20/2020)

- Purchase Index week/week +4.0%. Previous weeks were +4.0%, 3.0%, -1.0%, +0.2%, -2.0%, -2.0%, -2.0%, -2.0%, +3.0%-1.0%, +3.0%,  -0.2%, +0.4%, and +1.0%

- Refinance Index week/week +3.8% . Previous weeks were -2.0%, +1.0%, +6.0%, +3.0%, +0.2%, -0.3%, +8.0%, -7.0%, +9.0%, -4.0%, +3.0%,  -3.0%, -10.0%, -5.0%, and +9.1%

- Composite Index week/week +5.0%. Previous weeks were -0.3%,  -0.5%, +3.8%, +1.7%, -0.6%, -0.7%, +4.8%, -4.8%, +6.8%, 2.5%, +2.9%, -2.0%, -6.5%, -3.3%, +6.8%, and -5.1%

Refis are 79% year/year.  Purchase applications are +19% year/year,


Source:   Mortgage Bankers Association  Details: https://www.mba.org/2020-press-releases/november/mortgage-applications-increase-in-latest-mba-weekly-survey-x274199


Durable Goods Orders (October 2020)

- New Orders month/month   +1.3%. Previous was  2.1%

- Ex-Transportation month/month  1.3%. Previous was 1,5%

- Core Capital Goods month/month +0.7% . Previous was 1.9%

Source:  Census  Details:  https://www.census.gov/manufacturing/m3/adv/pdf/durgd.pdf


GDP  (3rdQ 2020)

- Quarter over Quarter - annualized    33.1%. Previous estimate was 33.1%. Previous Q was -31.4%

- Personal Consumption Expenditures - annualized    40.6%. Previous was -40.7%

Source: BEA  Details:  https://www.bea.gov/news/2020/gross-domestic-product-3rd-quarter-2020-second-estimate-corporate-profits-3rd-quarter


Good Trade Deficit (October 2020)

- Trade Deficit   $80.3 B . Previous was  $79.4  B

This is a component of 4thQ GDP. The Trade Deficit reduces GDP.


Source:  Census   Details:  https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/highlights/PressHighlights.pdf


Initial Jobless Claims (week ended 11/21/2020)


- Initial Claims seasonally adjusted        718,000. Previous was 748,000

- Initial Claims  not  seasonally adjusted totaled 827,710 a increase of 78,372  from previous 

- 4-Week Moving Average seasonally adjusted    748,500. Previous was 755,750

Total receiving regular state UI decreased by 414,312 

Total receiving Pandemic UI decreased by 466,106    

Total receiving Emergency Pandemic UI increased by 132,437 

Total receiving any UI increased by 135,297 

The implicit unadjusted Unemployment rate was 4.0%.  While this is what is used as the official unemployment rate it is a rather meaningless statistic because it does not include the 13.6 million receiving Pandemic UI.

Source:  Labor Department   Details: https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf


Retail Inventories (October 2020)

- Month over Month +0.8% . Previous was +1.6%

This is a component of 4thQ GDP.

Source:  Census  Details: https://www.census.gov/retail/index.html


Wholesale Inventories (October 2020)

- Month over Month  +0.9%. Previous was -0.1%

This is a component of 4thQ GDP.

Source:  Census  Details: https://www.census.gov/wholesale/pdf/mwts/currentwhl.pdf


New Home Sales  (October 2020)

- Annual Rate 999,000.  Previous was 1,002,000

Source:  Census   Details: https://www.census.gov/construction/nrs/pdf/newressales.pdf


Consumer Sentiment

- Index 76.9. Previous was 77.

This is supposed to measure consumers stated views as to spending in the next 3 months.  

Source: University of Michigan's Consumer Survey Center     Details:  http://www.sca.isr.umich.edu/


Personal Income and Outlays  (October 2020)

- Personal Income month/month   -0.7%. Previous was +0.7%

- Personal Consumption Expenditures month/month  +0.5%.Previous was +0.7%

- PCE Price Index month/month    0.0%    %. Previous was 0.2%    

- PCE Price Index year/year    1.2%. Previous was 1.4%

- Core PCE Price Index month/month    0.0%. Previous was  0.2%

- Core PCE Price Index year/year  1.4%. Previous was 1.6%

PCE is an inflation metric and remains well-contained.


Source:  BEA  



November 24, 2020

Redbook Chain Store Sales (week ended 11/21 /2020)

- Store Sales year/year +2.8%.  Previous was +1.7%

- Store Sales month/month  -0.5%.  Previous was -1.0%.

Source: Redbook Research Inc.


Case-Shiller House Price Index (September 2020)

- 20-City Adjusted month/month    1.3%. Previous was 0.5%

- 20-City Unadjusted month/month    1.2%. Previous was 1.1%

- 20-City Unadjusted year/year        6.6%. Previous was 5.4%

Flat supply + increased demand = higher prices.

Source: Core Logic


FHFA House Price Index  (September  2020)

- Month over Month    1.7%. Previous was 1.5%

- Year over Year    9.1%. Previous was 8.0%

Source:  FHFA  Details: https://www.fhfa.gov/Media/PublicAffairs/Pages/US-House-Prices-Rise-3pt1-Pct-in-3Q-Up-7pt8-Pct-over-the-Last-Year.aspx


Consumer Confidence  (November 2020)

- Index 96.1.. Previous was 101.4.

This is the metric from the Conference Board.  This is supposed to indicate Consumer Spending in the next 6 months.


November 23, 2020

Chicago Fed National Activity Index  (October 2020)

- Index            0.83. Previous was 0.32 

- 3-Month Moving Average    0.75. Previous was 1.37 

This index measures economic activity and related inflationary pressure. The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 existing monthly indicators of national economic activity.

Source:  Chicago Federal Reserve  Details:  https://www.chicagofed.org/publications/cfnai/index


PMI Composite Flash  (November2020)

- Composite Index  57.9.      Previous was 56.3.

- Manufacturing Index 56.7. Previous was 53.4     

- Services Index     57.7. Previous was 56.0   

This is a survey index assessing the supply side. Source:  Markit Economics 


November 19, 2020

Initial Jobless Claims (week ended 11/14/2020)

- Initial Claims seasonally adjusted        742,000. Previous was 711,000

- Initial Claims  not  seasonally adjusted totaled 743,460 a increase of 13,302  from the previous week

- 4-Week Moving Average seasonally adjusted    742,000. Previous was 755,750

Total receiving regular state UI decreased by 383,282 

Total receiving Pandemic UI decreased by 751,480    

Total receiving Emergency Pandemic UI increased by 233,458 

Total receiving any UI decreased by 841,245

The implicit unadjusted Unemployment rate was 4.3%.  While this is what is used as the official unemployment rate it is a rather meaningless statistic because it does not include the 8,681,647 receiving Pandemic UI.

Source:  Labor Department   Details: https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf


Existing Home Sales (October 2020)

- Annual Rate  6,850,000. Previous was 6,540,000

- Month over Month  +4.3%. Year over Year 26.6%

To those of us who live by doing mortgages for folks buying home this comes as no surprise. The demand for home has spiked and weighed down by regulations the supply of new home  in inelastic.

Local governments are sadly unresponsive to reality and will what they do best which is to blame someone else.

Source:   National Association of Realtors®.  Details:  https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/existing-home-sales-jump-4-3-to-6-85-million-in-october


Leading Economic Indicators  (October 2020)

- Month over Month  +0.7%. Previous was +0.7%

This is based on 10 forward looking indicators.

Source:  Conference Board  Details:  https://conference-board.org/data/bcicountry.cfm?cid=1



November 18, 2020

MBA Mortgage Applications (week ended 11/13/2020)

- Purchase Index week/week +4.0%. Previous weeks were 3.0%, -1.0%, +0.2%, -2.0%, -2.0%, -2.0%, -2.0%, +3.0%-1.0%, +3.0%,  -0.2%, +0.4%, +1.0%, and +2.0%

- Refinance Index week/week  --2.0%. Previous weeks were +1.0%, +6.0%, +3.0%, +0.2%, -0.3%, +8.0%, -7.0%, +9.0%, -4.0%, +3.0%,  -3.0%, -10.0%, -5.0%, +9.1%,  and -6.8%

- Composite Index week/week -0.3%. Previous weeks were  -0.5%, +3.8%, +1.7%, -0.6%, -0.7%, +4.8%, -4.8%, +6.8%, 2.5%, +2.9%, -2.0%, -6.5%, -3.3%, +6.8%, -5.1%, and -0.8%

Refis are +98% year/year.  Purchase applications are +26% year/year,

Source:   Mortgage Bankers Association  Details: https://www.mba.org/2020-press-releases/november/mortgage-applications-decrease-in-latest-mba-weekly-survey-x274076


Housing Starts and Permits  (October 2020)

- Starts - Annual Rate    1,530,000. Previous was 1.459,000

- Permits - Annual Rate    1.545,000. Previous was 1.545,000


A goal must be to keep starts above the 1.500,000 annual needed to accommodate expanded population and units lost. We were below that from Jan. 2007 to Dec. 2019, went above that for 2 months and then had a COVID crash. 

SRR Starts was +20.6% year/year.

Source:  Census  Details:  https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/pdf/newresconst.pdf



November 17, 2020

Retail Sales  (October 2020)

- Retail Sales month/month  +0.3%. Previous was 1.6%

- Ex-Vehicles month/month  +0.2%. Previous was 1.5%

- Ex-Vehicles & Gas month/month  +0.2%   Previous was 1.2%

Retail Sales have gotten past the COVID dip. The rate of growth is down because stimulus and unemployment income is down. 

Retail Sales is the largest component of 4th 2020 GDP.  This data is seasonally adjusted but not inflation adjusted.

Source:  Census  Details:  https://www.census.gov/retail/marts/www/marts_current.pdf


Import and Export Prices  (October 2020)

- Import Prices month/month     -0.1%. Previous was 0.2%

- Import Prices year/year    -1.0%. Previous was -1.4%

- Export Prices month/month   +0.2%. Previous was +0.6%

- Export Prices year/year    -1.6%. Previous was -1.8%

Inflation remains tame as the pandemic has slowed the world economy.

Source: BLS  Details: https://www.bls.gov/mxp/


Redbook Chain Store Sales (week ended 11/ /2020)

- Store Sales year/year +1.7%.  Previous was +1.1%

- Store Sales month/month  -1.0%.  Previous was +-1.2%.

Source: Redbook Research Inc.


Industrial Production  (October 2020)

- Industrial Production month/month +1.2%.    Previous was -0.4%.

- Manufacturing Output month/month  +1.0% . Previous was  +0.1%

- Capacity Utilization Rate        72.8%. Previous was 72.6%

- Industrial Production year/year -5.3%

As pandemic concern lessens it will be necessary for the supply side to keep up with the demand side if inflation is to be contained.

Source:  Federal Reserve  Details: https://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g17/current/g17.pdf


Business Inventories (September 2020)

- Inventories month/month  +0.7%. Previous was +0.3%.

This is a component of 3rdQ 2020 GDP.

Source:  Census   Details: https://www.census.gov/mtis/www/data/pdf/mtis_current.pdf


Housing Market Index ( November 2020)

- Index  90.  Previous was   85

This is based on a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders.  The survey asks 1) how's business and 2) how do you think the economy in general is doing.




November 13, 2020

PPI  (October 2020)

- PPI-FD month/month    0.3%. Previous was 0.4%

- PPI-FD year/year        0.5%. Previous was 0.4%

- Ex-Food & Energy month/month    0.1%. Previous was 0.4%

- Ex-Food & Energy ear/year        1.1%. Previous was +1.2%

- Ex-Food, Energy & Trade Services month/month    0.2%. Previous was 0.4%

- Ex-Food, Energy & Trade Services year/year    0.8%. Previous was +07%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)   Details:  https://www.bls.gov/ppi/


Consumer Sentiment  (November 2020)

- index  77.0 . Previous was 81.8

This is a survey index from University of Michigan's Consumer Survey Center.


November 12, 2020

CPI  (October 2020)

- CPI month/month        0.0%. Previous was +0.2%

- CPI year/year        1.2%. Previous was 1.4%

- CPI core (Ex-Food & Energy) month/month  0.0%. Previous was 0.2%

- CPI core (Ex-Food & Energy) year/year            1.6%. Previous was 1.7%

inflation remains tame.  The generally accepted belief that massive deficits will increase inflation may be inaccurate.

Read this: https://hoisingtonmgt.com/pdf/HIM2020Q3NP.pdf

Source:  BLS  Details: https://www.bls.gov/cpi/


Initial Jobless Claims (week ended 11/7/2020)

- Initial Claims seasonally adjusted        709000. Previous was 757,000

- Initial Claims  not  seasonally adjusted totaled  723,105 a decrease of 20,799  from the previous week

- 4-Week Moving Average seasonally adjusted    755,250. Previous was 788,500

Total receiving regular state UI decreased by 598,445

Total receiving Pandemic UI increased by 100,517  

The implicit unadjusted Unemployment rate was 4.6%.  This is not an official statistic because it is not seasonally adjusted but it is in the report.

Source:  Labor Department   Details: https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf




November 11, 2020

MBA Mortgage Applications (week ended 11/6/2020)

- Purchase Index week/week -3.0%. Previous weeks were -1.0%, +0.2%, -2.0%, -2.0%, -2.0%, -2.0%, +3.0%-1.0%, +3.0%,  -0.2%, +0.4%, +1.0%, +2.0%, and -1.8%

- Refinance Index week/week  +1.0%. Previous weeks were +6.0%, +3.0%, +0.2%, -0.3%, +8.0%, -7.0%, +9.0%, -4.0%, +3.0%,  -3.0%, -10.0%, -5.0%, +9.1%,  -6.8%, and -0.4%, and +5.0

- Composite Index week/week -0.5%. Previous weeks were  +3.8%, +1.7%, -0.6%, -0.7%, +4.8%, -4.8%, +6.8%, 2.5%, +2.9%, -2.0%, -6.5%, -3.3%, +6.8%, -5.1%, -0.8%, and 4.1%

Source:   Mortgage Bankers Association  Details: https://www.mba.org/2020-press-releases/november/mortgage-applications-decrease-in-latest-mba-weekly-survey


November 10, 2020

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index (October 2020)

- Index    104.0     104.8     101.0  to 106.5     104.0. Previous was 104.0. 

This is a survey index from National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) of its members. This is important because it is small businesses which create most jobs.

Details:  https://www.nfib.com/content/press-release/economy/small-business-optimism-remains-steady-in-october-but-owners-uncertainty-increased/


Redbook Chain Store Sales (week ended 11/7/2020)

- Chain Store Sales year/year 1.5%.  Previous was 3.2%

- Chain Store Sales month/month -1.2%. Previous was +1.2%

Source: Redbook Research Inc.


JOLTS (September 2020)

- Job Openings 6,436,000. Previous was 6,493,000.

This is important because what the economy needs is recovery of jobs

Source:  BLS   Details: https://www.bls.gov/jlt/



November 6, 2020

BLS Employment Situation Report  (October 2020)

- Nonfarm Payrolls month/month    638,000. Previous was  672,000

- Unemployment Rate        6.9%. Previous was  7.7%

- Private Payrolls - month/month     906,000. Previous was   892,000 

- Manufacturing Payrolls month/month    38,000. Previous was   60,000

- Labor Participation Rate        61.7 %. Previous was  61.4%

- Average Hourly Earnings month/month    0.1%. Previous was  0.0%

- Average Hourly Earnings year/year    4.5%. Previous was  4.6%

- Average Workweek        34.8 hrs. Previous was  34.8 hrs    


This is slightly better than expectation. The Jobs market continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic with the Unemployment rate falling 1%.  This peaked at 14.7% in April.  Look for this to stay above 6% for the next few months.  

The longer term effects of the pandemic on the economy are unknown.

Source:  BLS  Details: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.toc.htm


Wholesale Inventories (September 2020)

- Wholesale Inventories  month/month  +0.1%. Previous was -0.4%

This is the wholesale component of inventories and a component of 3rdQ GDP. This is wholesalers trying to guess what retailers will order as retailers guess what consumers are going to buy.

Source:  Census  Details: https://www.census.gov/wholesale/pdf/mwts/currentwhl.pdf


November 5, 2020

Challenger Job-Cut Report  (October 2020)

- Announced Layoffs Level    80,666. Previous was118,804 

Source: Challenger Gray & Christmas, Details: https://www.challengergray.com/


Initial Jobless Claims (week ended 10/31/2020)

- Initial Claims seasonally adjusted        751,000. Previous was 758,000

- Initial Claims  not  seasonally adjusted totaled 738,166 a decrease of 543 from  previous 

- 4-Week Moving Average seasonally adjusted    787,000. Previous was 791,000

Total receiving regular state UI decreased by 601,929.

Total receiving Pandemic UI decreased by 992,169 

The implicit unadjusted Unemployment rate was 4.7%.

Source:  Labor Department   Details: https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf


Productivity and Costs (3rdQ2020)


- Nonfarm Productivity - Annual Rate    4.9%. Previous was 10.6%

- Unit Labor Costs - Annual Rate    -8.9%. Previous was 8.5%

Productivity is total Labor Cost/GDP.  The odd number are due to asymmetry. More lower cost  workers have been laid off.

Source:  BLS   Details: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/prod2.nr0.htm




November 4, 2020

MBA Mortgage Applications (week ended 10/30/2020)

- Purchase Index week/week -1.0% . Previous weeks were +0.2%, -2.0%, -2.0%, -2.0%, -2.0%, +3.0%-1.0%, +3.0%,  -0.2%, +0.4%, +1.0%, +2.0%, -1.8%, and  -2.0%

- Refinance Index week/week +6.0% . Previous weeks were +3.0%, +0.2%, -0.3%, +8.0%, -7.0%, +9.0%, -4.0%, +3.0%,  -3.0%, -10.0%, -5.0%, +9.1%,  -6.8%, -0.4%, and +5.0

- Composite Index week/week +3.8%. Previous weeks were  +1.7%, -0.6%, -0.7%, +4.8%, -4.8%, +6.8%, 2.5%, +2.9%, -2.0%, -6.5%, -3.3%, +6.8%, -5.1%, -0.8%, 4.1%, and +5.1%.

Purchase applications were +25%  year/year. Refi applications were +88%  year/year.  

Source:   Mortgage Bankers Association  Details: https://www.mba.org/2020-press-releases/october/mortgage-applications-increase-in-latest-mba-weekly-survey-x273545


ADP Private Jobs (October 2020)

- Private Jobs +365,000. 

Increases in Leisure & Hospitality, Education, Health Care

Details:  https://adpemploymentreport.com/2020/October/NER/docs/ADP-NATIONAL-EMPLOYMENT-REPORT-October2020-Final-Press-Release.pdf


Trade Deficit  (September 2020)

- Deficit $63.9 billion.  Previous was $67.0 billion.

This is a component of 3rdQ GDP

Source:  BEA  Details:  https://www.bea.gov/data/intl-trade-investment/international-trade-goods-and-services


November 3, 2020

Redbook Chain Store Sales (week ended 10/31/2020)

- Chain Store Sales year/year +3.2%. Previous was 1.2%

- Chain Store Sales month/month +1.2%. Previous was +0.8%.

Source: Redbook Research Inc.


Factory Orders  (September 2020)

- Month over Month +1.1% . Previous was +0.6%.    

Source:  Census  Details:  https://www.census.gov/manufacturing/m3/prel/pdf/s-i-o.pdf


November 2, 2020

PMI Manufacturing Final  (October 2020)

- Index 53.4. Previous was 53.3

A survey index from the supply side.

Source:  Institute For Supply Management


ISM Manufacturing Index  (October 2020)

- Index 59.3 Previous was 55.4

Source:  Institute for Supply Management


Construction Spending  (September 2020)

- Month over Month    +0.3%. Previous was +0.8%

- Year over Year 1.5%. Previous was 2.3%

Source:  Census  Details: https://www.census.gov/construction/c30/pdf/release.pdf


Archive of commentary from previous months is here.