This week the data was mostly ignored with all of the "Palace Drama" at the White House. A good existing homes sales report, a good new home sales report, historically low first-time claims data for the fourth week of July, and a solid GDP report, especially when you consider all of the revisions to the GDP data from 2014, 2015, and 2016.
(July 24) Sometimes this column writes articles to explain the economic data and sometimes it publishes columns to forecast economic data. Next week this column will publish a forecast article regarding this July Jobs Report. This past week it published an article regarding the expectations for the June New Home Sales Report and the June Existing Home Sales Report."June Real Estate Sales Forecast" projected continuing improvement in both the new and existing home sales.
(July 24) The peak year for existing home sales was 2005 for units and 2006 for average sales price. The protracted housing recession was created, in part, because of the protracted full-time jobs recession and recovery.People who "bought high" and lost jobs did not want to sell low.The June Existing Homes report revealed a record high average sales price for the month of June and sales levels comparable to June 2003. This was good news that mostly was ignored.
(July 27) Thursday was a big day for economic data with the release of the weekly unemployment claims data and the monthly new home sales data. We saw "Seriously Low First-time Unemployment Claims" data released this Thursday. We had the lowest ever first-time claims level for the fourth week of July. The lowest level of first-time claims since 1969. Now back to the gossip and palace intrigue.
(July 27) New Home construction begets new home sales. Last week's new home construction data was solid. This week's new home sales data was also solid. If this data had been released during the prior administration the headlines would have been "Best June New Home Sales Since 2007." We saw more June units sold than during June 2008-June 2016. Some other salacious detail regarding Debbie Wasserman Schultz's IT team got some attention. A shake-up and some infighting at the White House received more attention. A vote on the "ACHA" turned into the big "ACHE." Nothing in the media regarding how "New Home Sales are Strengthening."
(July 28) The Gross Domestic Product Report is the Ultimate Trailing Economic Indicator. The data released Friday was for the Advance Second Quarter GDP. Next month we will receive the Preliminary Second Quarter GDP and the next month the Final Second Quarter GDP. The Final GDP number isn't really the Final GDP number for that quarter because every year here is a revision to the revised data with the release of the Second Quarter Advance GDP report. Confused? When data from a prior quarter is revised lower that give a subsequent quarter a boost. When a prior year is revised higher that lowers the "pop" for subsequent quarters. "Second Quarter GDP: Revisions Abound" details how the data for 2014 and 2015 were revised higher, making the growth that barely happened during 2016 even less than originally reported.After two upward revisions to the 2017Q1 data the "final" Q1 data was revised downward. The 2.6% Annualized rate of growth was pessimistically written off as "not being 3.0%" The Real GDP Annual Growth rate of 2.1%, the best since the 4th quarter of 2015, was ignored. Growths in imports and exports - not only ignored - missing in action.
The economic data was solid this week. The Jobs Report could be a "barn-burner" this month. Either July or August may be our peak Jobs Month of the year, until the Fall hiring starts for Christmas and the lay-offs begin at the end of the year, only to begin the cyclical rehiring again next February. If you want more economics and less politics in your news - DEMAND IT.
It's the economy.
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