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Today's Facts

HOME PRICES BREAK NEW RECORD

Key Points:

  • Existing-home sales fell 0.7% in May from April, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.11 million.
  • Existing-home sales fell 2.8% from one year ago.
  • The median existing-home sales price for May rose 5.8% from one year ago to $419,300 for the eleventh consecutive month of year-over-year price increases and the highest price ever recorded.
  • First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in May, down from 33% in April but up from 28% in May 2023.
  • “Home prices reaching new highs are creating a wider divide between those owning properties and those who wish to be first-time buyers,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor home sales.

RETAIL SALES STAGNANT IN SIGN OF CONSUMER STRAIN

Key Points:

  • Retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, restaurants and online, rose just 0.1% in May, below consensus of 0.2%.
  • March was revised down from 0.0% to -0.2%.
  • Excluding autos, retail sales fell by 0.1% over the month, the same reading as the April revisions.
  • Retail sales were 2.3% above May 2023 but CPI data released earlier this month showed prices have increased 3.3% in the last year.
  • Retail sales are not adjusted for inflation and reflect price differences as well as purchase amounts.
  • Total sales for the March 2024 through May 2024 period were up 2.9 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor retail sales.

REAL WAGES DOWN 2.2% UNDER BIDEN

Key Points:

  • Real average hourly earnings are hourly earnings adjusted for inflation. They are one measure of real wages, which represent the economic return to work.
  • Despite average hourly earnings trending up, wages are still down after adjusting for inflation.
  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was unchanged in May from April and is up 3.3% in the last year.
  • Real average hourly earnings have fallen from $35.71 in January 2021 to $34.91 in May 2024, a 2.2% decline.
  • Overall, prices have increased 19.3% since Biden took office in January 2021.

INFLATION EASED SLIGHTLY IN MAY

Key Points:

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was unchanged in May, after rising 0.3% in April.
  • CPI increased 3.3% from a year ago, down from 3.4% in April and consensus of 3.4%.
  • CPI has remained above 3% for 38 consecutive months dating back to April 2021.
  • The index for shelter rose 0.4% and the energy index fell 2.0% over the month.
  • The index for food at home was unchanged over the month while the index for food away from home rose 0.4%.
  • The core CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.2% in May and is up 3.4% from the previous year.
  • The energy index is up 3.7%, the food index is up 2.1%, and shelter is up 5.4% from the previous year.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor CPI.

HIRING REBOUNDED IN MAY, UNEMPLOYMENT RATE ROSE TO 4%

Key Points:

  • Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 272,000 in May and the unemployment rate rose 0.1% to 4.0%.
  • Consensus among economists was a gain of 185,000 jobs.
  • The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised down by 5,000, from +315,000 to +310,000, and the change for April was revised down by 10,000, from +175,000 to +165,000. With these revisions, employment in March and April combined is 15,000 lower than previously reported.
  • Health care added 68,000 jobs in May, government employment increased by 43,000, leisure and hospitality added 42,000 jobs, Professional, scientific, and technical services added 32,000, and social assistance employment rose by 15,000.
  • In May, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by $0.14 to $34.91.
  • The average workweek for all private employees remained at 34.3 hours in May.
  • The labor force participation rate fell to 62.5% and is 0.9% below its February 2020 level.
  • In May, the unemployed population was rose to 6.649 million but job openings fell to 8.1 million in April.

JOB OPENINGS FALL TO THREE-YEAR LOW

Key Points:

  • The number of available jobs since May 2021 continues to outnumber Americans looking for work.
  • Job openings fell from 8.4 million in March to 8.1 million in April, below consensus of 8.3 million and the lowest level in three years.
  • There are 1.8 million fewer job openings than April 2023.
  • In April, job openings decreased in health care and social assistance (-204,000) and in state and local government education (-59,000) but increased in private educational services (+50,000).
  • The U.S. added just 175,000 jobs in April and there were 6.5 million people unemployed.
  • The number of job openings for March was revised down by 133,000 to 8.4 million, the number of hires was revised up by 117,000 to 5.6 million, and the number of total separations was revised up by 130,000 to 5.3 million. Within separations, the number of quits was revised up by 80,000 to 3.4 million and the number of layoffs and discharges was revised up by 75,000 to 1.6 million.
  • In April, the number of hires was little changed at 5.6 million. The rate held at 3.6 percent. Hires increased in durable goods manufacturing (+52,000), but decreased in arts, entertainment, and recreation (-45,000) and in federal government (-8,000).
  • The number of total separations in April changed little at 5.4 million, and the rate was unchanged at 3.4%.
  • Over the month, the number of total separations increased in durable goods manufacturing (+49,000).
  • Within separations, quits (3.5 million) and layoffs and discharges (1.5 million) changed little.
  • In April, the number of quits was little changed at 3.5 million, and the rate was 2.2% for the sixth month in a row.
  • In April, the number of layoffs and discharges changed little at 1.5 million, and the rate held at 1.0%. The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in arts, entertainment, and recreation (-37,000).
  • The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.7% and is 0.7% below its February 2020 level.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor unemployment and job openings.

PRICES HELD STEADY IN APRIL, CONSUMERS SLOWED SPENDING

Key Points:

  • U.S. consumer spending rose by 0.2%, or $39.1 billion, in April, down from 0.7% in March.
  • Personal income increased by 0.3%, or $65.3 billion, in April, after rising 0.5% in March.
  • The overall personal consumption expenditures price index rose 0.3% in April and is up 2.7% from a year prior, the same readings as March.
  • The core personal consumption expenditures price index, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.2% in March and is up 2.8% from a year prior.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor spending, prices, and income.

HOUSING PRICES HIT NEW ALL-TIME HIGH IN MARCH

Key Points:

  • The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which measures average home prices in major metropolitan areas across the nation, rose 6.5% in the year that ended in March, the same reading as February.
  • The 20-City Composite posted a year-over-year increase of 7.4%, up from a 7.3% increase in the previous month.
  • The 10-City Composite showed an increase of 8.2%, up from a 8.1% increase in the previous month.
  • San Diego continued to report the highest year-over-year gain among the 20 cities this month with an 11.1% increase in March, followed by New York and Cleveland, with increases of 9.2% and 8.8%, respectively.
  • Denver, which still holds the lowest rank after reporting three consecutive months of the smallest year-over-year growth, posted the same 2.1% annual increase in March as the previous month.
  • “This month’s report boasts another all-time high,” says Brian D. Luke, Head of Commodities, Real & Digital Assets at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “We’ve witnessed records repeatedly break in both stock and housing markets over the past year.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor home prices.

HOME SALES FALL AGAIN IN APRIL

Key Points:

  • Existing-home sales fell 1.9% in April from March, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.14 million.
  • Existing-home sales fell 1.9% from one year ago.
  • The median existing-home sales price for April rose 5.7% from one year ago to $407,600 for the tenth consecutive month of year-over-year price increases and the highest price ever for the month of April.
  • First-time buyers were responsible for 33% of sales in April, up from 32% in March and 29% in April 2023.
  • “Home sales changed little overall, but the upper-end market is experiencing a sizable gain due to more supply coming onto the market,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor home sales.

APRIL UNEMPLOYMENT RATES DOWN IN FIVE STATES, UP IN TWO

Key Points:

  • Unemployment rates rose in two states, fell in five, and remained stable in 43 states and the District of Columbia in April.
  • The U.S. unemployment rate rose 0.1% to 3.9% in April but is 0.5% higher than last year.
  • In total, 24 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 3.9%, 5 states and the District had higher rates, and 21 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.
  • Thirty states had unemployment rate increases from April 2023, the largest of which was in Rhode Island (+1.4%).
  • North Dakota and South Dakota had the lowest jobless rates in April, 2.0% each.
  • The rate in Mississippi, 2.8%, set a new series low.
  • California had the highest unemployment rate at 5.3%, closely followed by the District of Columbia at 5.2%, and Nevada at 5.1%.
  • Five states had unemployment rate decreases in April: Arizona, Maine, Mississippi, and Montana (-0.2%) and Virginia (-0.1%).
  • Florida and Maryland had the only rate increases (+0.1%).