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October 29 COVID-19 Test Results

3 hours ago

The US is now averaging close to 1 million tests per day. Based on the experience of other countries, the percent positive needs to be well under 5% to really push down new infections (probably close to 1%), so the US still needs to increase the number of tests per day significantly (or take actions to push down the number of new infections).There were 1,096,494 test results reported over the last 24 hours.There were 88,452 positive tests. This is a new record.Almost 21,500 Americans deaths from COVID have been reported in October. See the graph on US Daily Deaths here. Click on graph for larger image.This data is from the COVID Tracking Project.The percent positive over the last 24 hours was 8.1% (red line is 7 day average).For the status of contact tracing by state, check out

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Q3 GDP: Investment

9 hours ago

Investment has been weak for some time, and slumped in Q1, and fell off a cliff in Q2 along with the overall economy.  Investment bounced back in Q3, especially for residential investment and investment in equipment – but not for non-residential structures.The first graph below shows the contribution to GDP from residential investment, equipment and software, and nonresidential structures (3 quarter trailing average). This is important to follow because residential investment tends to lead the economy, equipment and software is generally coincident, and nonresidential structure investment trails the economy.In the graph, red is residential, green is equipment and software, and blue is investment in non-residential structures. So the usual pattern – both into and out of recessions is – red,

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Hotels: Occupancy Rate Declined 31.7% Year-over-year

11 hours ago

From HotelNewsNow.com: STR: US hotel results for week ending 24 OctoberU.S. weekly hotel occupancy fell back below the 50% mark, according to the latest data from STR through 24 October.18-24 October 2020 (percentage change from comparable week in 2019):• Occupancy: 48.0% (-31.7%)• Average daily rate (ADR): US$95.49 (-29.4%)• Revenue per available room (RevPAR): US$45.83 (-51.8%)emphasis addedSince there is a seasonal pattern to the occupancy rate, we can track the year-over-year change in occupancy to look for any improvement. This table shows the year-over-year change since the week ending Sept 19, 2020:Week EndingYoY Change, Occupancy Rate 9/19-31.9% 9/26-31.5% 10/3-29.6% 10/10-29.2% 10/17-30.7% 10/24-31.7%This suggests no improvement over the last 6 weeks.The following graph shows the

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NAR: Pending Home Sales Decrease 2.2% in September

12 hours ago

From the NAR: Pending Home Sales Falter 2.2% in SeptemberThe Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings, fell 2.2% to 130.0 in September. Year-over-year, contract signings rose 20.5%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001….The Northeast PHSI grew 2.0% to 119.4 in September, a 27.7% increase from a year ago. In the Midwest, the index slid 3.2% to 120.5 last month, up 18.5% from September 2019. Pending home sales in the South decreased 3.0% to an index of 150.1 in September, up 19.6% from September 2019. The index in the West fell 2.6% in September to 116.8, up 19.3% from a year ago.emphasis addedThis was below expectations for this index. Note: Contract signings usually lead sales by about 45 to 60

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Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims decrease to 751,000

13 hours ago

The DOL reported:In the week ending October 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 751,000, a decrease of 40,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 4,000 from 787,000 to 791,000. The 4-week moving average was 787,750, a decrease of 24,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,000 from 811,250 to 812,250. emphasis addedThis does not include the 359,667 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that was up from 344,905 the previous week. (There are some questions on PUA numbers).The following graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since 1971.Click on graph for larger image.The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average.

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BEA: Real GDP Increased at 33.1% Annualized Rate in Q3

13 hours ago

From the BEA: Gross Domestic Product, Third Quarter 2020 (Advance Estimate) Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 33.1 percent in the third quarter of 2020, according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP decreased 31.4 percent.The GDP estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency. The "second" estimate for the third quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on November 25, 2020….The increase in real GDP reflected increases in personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by decreases in

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Thursday: Q3 GDP, Unemployment Claims, Pending Home Sales

1 day ago

Thursday:• At 8:30 AM ET, Gross Domestic Product, 3rd quarter 2020 (advance estimate). The consensus is that real GDP increased 31.9% annualized in Q3, up from negative 31.4% in Q2.• At 8:30 AM, The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released. The consensus is initial claims increased to 800 thousand from 787 thousand last week.• At 10:00 AM, Pending Home Sales Index for September. The consensus is 4.5% increase in the index.

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October 28 COVID-19 Test Results

1 day ago

The US is now averaging close to 1 million tests per day. Based on the experience of other countries, the percent positive needs to be well under 5% to really push down new infections (probably close to 1%), so the US still needs to increase the number of tests per day significantly (or take actions to push down the number of new infections).There were 875,738 test results reported over the last 24 hours.There were 78,661 positive tests.Almost 20,500 Americans deaths from COVID have been reported in October. See the graph on US Daily Deaths here. Click on graph for larger image.This data is from the COVID Tracking Project.The percent positive over the last 24 hours was 9.0% (red line is 7 day average).For the status of contact tracing by state, check out testandtrace.com.And check out

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Freddie Mac: Mortgage Serious Delinquency Rate decreased in September

1 day ago

Freddie Mac reported that the Single-Family serious delinquency rate in September was 3.04%, down from 3.17% in August. Freddie’s rate is up from 0.61% in August 2019.Freddie’s serious delinquency rate peaked in February 2010 at 4.20%.These are mortgage loans that are "three monthly payments or more past due or in foreclosure".Click on graph for larger imageMortgages in forbearance are being counted as delinquent in this monthly report, but they will not be reported to the credit bureaus.This is very different from the increase in delinquencies following the housing bubble.   Lending standards have been fairly solid over the last decade, and most of these homeowners have equity in their homes – and they will be able to restructure their loans once (if) they are employed.Note: Fannie Mae

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October Vehicle Sales Forecast: Unchanged Year-over-year

1 day ago

From Wards: U.S. Light Vehicle Sales & Inventory Forecast, October 2020 (pay content)Click on graph for larger image.This graph shows actual sales from the BEA (Blue), and Wards forecast for October (Red).Sales have bounced back from the April low, and will likely be unchanged year-over-year in October.The Wards forecast of 16.8 million SAAR, would be up about 3% from September.This would put sales in 2020, through October, down about 17% compared to the same period in 2019.

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Zillow Case-Shiller House Price Forecast: "Annual growth in September as reported by Case-Shiller is expected to accelerate"

2 days ago

The Case-Shiller house price indexes for August were released yesterday. Zillow forecasts Case-Shiller a month early, and I like to check the Zillow forecasts since they have been pretty close.From Matthew Speakman at Zillow: August Case-Shiller Results and September Forecast: No Signs of CoolingThe remarkable surge in home prices continued into August as prices showed no signs of cooling down heading into the fall….By some measures, home prices are rising at a faster pace than they ever have – an incredible feat considering the market is rising from an already elevated level. The supply of for-sale homes, already extremely tight, has only become more constrained in recent months, and historically low mortgage rates continue to encourage many buyers to enter the market. This heightened

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MBA: Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest Weekly Survey

2 days ago

From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey Mortgage applications increased 1.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 23, 2020…. The Refinance Index increased 3 percent from the previous week and was 80 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 0.2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 0.3 percent compared with the previous week and was 24 percent higher than the same week one year ago.“Mortgage applications to buy a home were flat compared to the prior week, but overall activity remains strong this fall. Applications jumped 24 percent compared to last

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October 27 COVID-19 Test Results

2 days ago

The US is now averaging close to 1 million tests per day. Based on the experience of other countries, the percent positive needs to be well under 5% to really push down new infections (probably close to 1%), so the US still needs to increase the number of tests per day significantly (or take actions to push down the number of new infections).There were 892,015 test results reported over the last 24 hours.There were 73,096 positive tests.Almost 19,500 Americans deaths from COVID have been reported in October. See the graph on US Daily Deaths here. Click on graph for larger image.This data is from the COVID Tracking Project.The percent positive over the last 24 hours was 8.2% (red line is 7 day average).For the status of contact tracing by state, check out testandtrace.com.And check out

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Richmond Fed: "Fifth District manufacturing activity strengthened in October"

2 days ago

Earlier from the Richmond Fed: Fifth District manufacturing activity strengthened in OctoberFifth District manufacturing activity strengthened in October, according to the most recent survey from the Richmond Fed. The composite index rose from 21 in September to 29 in October, its highest reading on record, buoyed by increases in the shipments and new orders indexes, while the third component—the employment index—was unchanged. Firms reported improving business conditions and growing backlogs of orders, overall. Manufacturers were optimistic that conditions would continue to improve in the coming months. Survey results indicated that many manufacturers continued to increase employment and wages in October. emphasis addedThis was the last of the regional Fed surveys for October.Here is a

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Note: October Employment Report Will Show a Decrease of 147,000 Temporary Census Workers

2 days ago

The Census Bureau released an update today on 2020 Census Paid Temporary WorkersAs of the September reference week, there were 246,801 decennial Census temporary workers. As of the October reference week, October 11th – 17th, there were 99,490 temp workers.That is a decrease of 147,311 temporary jobs.In August, the employment report showed a gain of 238,000 temporary 2020 Census workers, boosting the headline number.In September, the employment report showed a decrease of 41,000 temporary 2020 Census workers, reducing the headline number.The October employment report will show a 147,311 decrease in temporary Census employment.

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HVS: Q3 2020 Homeownership and Vacancy Rates

2 days ago

The Census Bureau released the Residential Vacancies and Homeownership report for Q3 2020.It is likely the results of this survey were significantly distorted by the pandemic.  See note from Census below.This report is frequently mentioned by analysts and the media to track household formation, the homeownership rate, and the homeowner and rental vacancy rates.  However, there are serious questions about the accuracy of this survey.This survey might show the trend, but I wouldn’t rely on the absolute numbers. The Census Bureau is investigating the differences between the HVS, ACS and decennial Census, and analysts probably shouldn’t use the HVS to estimate the excess vacant supply or household formation, or rely on the homeownership rate, except as a guide to the trend.National vacancy

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Case-Shiller: National House Price Index increased 5.7% year-over-year in August

3 days ago

S&P/Case-Shiller released the monthly Home Price Indices for August ("August" is a 3 month average of June, July and August prices).This release includes prices for 20 individual cities, two composite indices (for 10 cities and 20 cities) and the monthly National index.From S&P: S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index Shows Annual Home Price Gains Increased to 5.7% in AugustThe S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.7% annual gain in August, up from 4.8% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 4.7%, up from 3.5% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 5.2% year-over-year gain, up from 4.1% in the previous month.Phoenix, Seattle and San Diego reported the highest

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Tuesday: Durable Goods, Case-Shiller House Prices

3 days ago

Tuesday:• At 8:30 AM ET, Durable Goods Orders for September from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for a 0.5% increase in durable goods orders.• At 9:00 AM, S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index for August.  The consensus is for the Composite 20 index to be up 4.2% year-over-year.• Also at 9:00 AM, FHFA House Price Index for August. This was originally a GSE only repeat sales, however there is also an expanded index.• At 10:00 AM, Richmond Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for October. This is the last of the regional surveys for October.

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October 26 COVID-19 Test Results; New US Record 7-Day Average Cases

3 days ago

The US is now mostly reporting 700 thousand to 1 million tests per day. Based on the experience of other countries, the percent positive needs to be well under 5% to really push down new infections (probably close to 1%), so the US still needs to increase the number of tests per day significantly (or take actions to push down the number of new infections).There were 1,043,423 test results reported over the last 24 hours.There were 62,315 positive tests.Almost 18,500 Americans deaths from COVID have been reported in October. See the graph on US Daily Deaths here. Click on graph for larger image.This data is from the COVID Tracking Project.The percent positive over the last 24 hours was 6.0% (red line is 7 day average).For the status of contact tracing by state, check out

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MBA Survey: "Share of Mortgage Loans in Forbearance Decreases Slightly to 5.90%"

3 days ago

Note: This is as of October 18th.From the MBA: Share of Mortgage Loans in Forbearance Decreases Slightly to 5.90%The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance decreased by 2 basis points from 5.92% of servicers’ portfolio volume in the prior week to 5.90% as of October 18, 2020. According to MBA’s estimate, 3.0 million homeowners are in forbearance plans….“The share of loans in forbearance declined only slightly in the prior week, after two weeks of a flurry of borrowers exiting as they reached the six-month mark,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “There continues to be a steady improvement for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans, but the forbearance share

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Dallas Fed: "Texas Manufacturing Expands for Fifth Straight Month" in October

3 days ago

From the Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Expands for Fifth Straight MonthTexas factory activity expanded in October for the fifth month in a row following a record contraction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose three points to 25.5, indicating a slight acceleration in output growth. Other measures of manufacturing activity also point to stronger growth this month. The new orders index advanced five points to 19.9, and the growth rate of orders index inched up to 14.3. The capacity utilization index rose from 17.5 to 23.0, while the shipments index was largely unchanged at 21.9. Perceptions of broader business conditions continued to

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A few Comments on September New Home Sales

3 days ago

New home sales for September were reported at 959,000 on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR). Sales for the previous three months were revised down, combined.This was below consensus expectations, but was still the third highest sales rate since 2006 (behind July and August). Clearly low mortgages rates, low existing home supply, and low sales in March and April (due to the pandemic) have led to a strong increase in sales.  Favorable demographics (something I wrote about many times over the last decade) and a surging stock market have probably helped new home sales too.Earlier: New Home Sales decreased to 959,000 Annual Rate in September.Click on graph for larger image.This graph shows new home sales for 2019 and 2020 by month (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate).New home sales

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New Home Sales decreased to 959,000 Annual Rate in September

3 days ago

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 959 thousand.The previous three months were revised down, combined. Sales of new single-family houses in September 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 959,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 3.5 percent below the revised August rate of 994,000, but is 32.1 percent above the September 2019 estimate of 726,000. emphasis addedClick on graph for larger image.The first graph shows New Home Sales vs. recessions since 1963. The dashed line is the current sales rate.This is the third highest sales rate since 2006 (just below the last two months).The second graph shows New Home

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Eight High Frequency Indicators for the Economy

4 days ago

NOTE: I’ve added another indicator – the occupancy rate for office buildings with security from Kastle Systems (ht Burt). This is near the bottom.These indicators are mostly for travel and entertainment – some of the sectors that will recover very slowly.—– Airlines: Transportation Security Administration —–The TSA is providing daily travel numbers. Click on graph for larger image.This data shows the seven day average of daily total traveler throughput from the TSA for 2019 (Blue) and 2020 (Red).The dashed line is the percent of last year for the seven day average.This data is as of Oct 25th.The seven day average is down 64% from last year (36% of last year).There has been a slow increase from the bottom.—– Restaurants: OpenTable —–The second graph shows the 7 day average of

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Monday: New Home Sales

4 days ago

Weekend:• Schedule for Week of October 25, 2020Monday:• At 8:30 AM ET, Chicago Fed National Activity Index for September. This is a composite index of other data.• At 10:00 AM, New Home Sales for September from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for 1,025 thousand SAAR, up from 1,011 thousand in August.• At 10:30 AM, Dallas Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for October.From CNBC: Pre-Market Data and Bloomberg futures S&P 500 are down 18 and DOW futures are down 135 (fair value).Oil prices were down over the last week with WTI futures at $39.23 per barrel and Brent at $41.20 barrel. A year ago, WTI was at $57, and Brent was at $62 – so WTI oil prices are down about 30% year-over-year. Here is a graph from Gasbuddy.com for nationwide gasoline prices. Nationally prices are at $2.14

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October 25 COVID-19 Test Results; New US Record 7-Day Average Cases

4 days ago

The US is now mostly reporting 700 thousand to 1 million tests per day. Based on the experience of other countries, the percent positive needs to be well under 5% to really push down new infections (probably close to 1%), so the US still needs to increase the number of tests per day significantly (or take actions to push down the number of new infections).There were 964,672 test results reported over the last 24 hours.There were 65,413 positive tests.Over 18,000 Americans deaths from COVID have been reported in October. See the graph on US Daily Deaths here. Click on graph for larger image.This data is from the COVID Tracking Project.The percent positive over the last 24 hours was 6.8% (red line is 7 day average).For the status of contact tracing by state, check out testandtrace.com.And

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Hotels: Occupancy Rate Declined 30.7% Year-over-year

5 days ago

From HotelNewsNow.com: STR: US hotel results for week ending 17 OctoberU.S. hotel occupancy was virtually flat from the previous week at 50.1%, according to the latest data from STR through 17 October.11-17 October 2020 (percentage change from comparable week in 2019):• Occupancy: 50.1% (-30.7%)• Average daily rate (ADR): US$97.69 (-28.3%)• Revenue per available room (RevPAR): US$48.91 (-50.3%)emphasis addedThe following graph shows the seasonal pattern for the hotel occupancy rate using the four week average.Click on graph for larger image.The red line is for 2020, dash light blue is 2019, blue is the median, and black is for 2009 (the worst year since the Great Depression for hotels – before 2020).So far there has been little business travel pickup that usually happens in the Fall.Note:

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October 24 COVID-19 Test Results

5 days ago

The US is now mostly reporting 700 thousand to 1 million tests per day. Based on the experience of other countries, the percent positive needs to be well under 5% to really push down new infections (probably close to 1%), so the US still needs to increase the number of tests per day significantly (or take actions to push down the number of new infections).There were 1,044,804 test results reported over the last 24 hours.There were 82,668 positive tests.Over 17,700 Americans deaths from COVID have been reported in October. See the graph on US Daily Deaths here. Click on graph for larger image.This data is from the COVID Tracking Project.The percent positive over the last 24 hours was 7.9% (red line is 7 day average).For the status of contact tracing by state, check out

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Schedule for Week of October 25, 2020

6 days ago

The key reports this week are the advance estimate of Q3 GDP and September New Home sales.Other key indicators include Personal Income and Outlays for September and Case-Shiller house prices for August.For manufacturing, the Dallas and Richmond Fed manufacturing surveys will be released this week.—– Monday, October 26th —–8:30 AM ET: Chicago Fed National Activity Index for September. This is a composite index of other data.10:00 AM: New Home Sales for September from the Census Bureau. This graph shows New Home Sales since 1963. The dashed line is the sales rate for last month.The consensus is for 1,025 thousand SAAR, up from 1,011 thousand in August.10:30 AM: Dallas Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for October.—– Tuesday, October 27th —–8:30 AM ET: Durable Goods Orders for

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October 23 COVID-19 Test Results

6 days ago

The US is now mostly reporting 700 thousand to 1 million tests per day. Based on the experience of other countries, the percent positive needs to be well under 5% to really push down new infections (probably close to 1%), so the US still needs to increase the number of tests per day significantly (or take actions to push down the number of new infections).There were 1,123,341 test results reported over the last 24 hours.There were 83,010 positive tests (new record).Over 16,800 Americans deaths from COVID have been reported in October. See the graph on US Daily Deaths here. Click on graph for larger image.This data is from the COVID Tracking Project.The percent positive over the last 24 hours was 7.4% (red line is 7 day average).For the status of contact tracing by state, check out

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