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Today's Facts

U.S. HOUSEHOLDS CUT SPENDING IN DECEMBER

Key Points:

  • U.S. consumer spending fell by 0.2%, or $41.68 Billion, in December, after November was revised to a 0.1% decline.
  • Personal income increased by 0.2%, or $49.5 Billion, in December, down from 0.3% in November.
  • The overall personal consumption expenditures price index rose 0.1% in December and is up 5.0% from a year prior.
  • The core personal consumption expenditures price index, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.3% in December and is up 4.4% from a year prior.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor spending, prices, and income.

UNION MEMBERSHIP HITS RECORD LOW

Key Points:

  • The share of U.S. workers who are members of unions fell to a record low last year even though unions added more members than in any year since 2008.
  • Roughly 10.1% of wage and salary workers were union members last year, down from 10.3% in 2021.
  • Union membership grew by 273,000 last year to 14.3 million, a rise of 1.9%. But the overall labor force grew by 5.3 million, or 3.9%.
  • The economic rebound from the pandemic has resulted in a persistent labor shortage with job openings vastly outnumbering the number of unemployed workers. There were about 10.5 million job openings in November, according to the latest available data, compared with six million unemployed people looking for work during the same month.

EXISTING HOME SALES FELL 34% FROM ONE YEAR AGO

Key Points:

  • Existing-home sales fell for the eleventh straight month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.02 million.
  • Existing-home sales fell 1.5% in December from November and 34.0% from one year ago.
  • Consensus among economists was a 5.4% drop.
  • The median existing-home sales price climbed 2.3% from one year ago to $366,900.
  • Existing-home sales totaled 5.03 million in 2022, down 17.8% from 2021.
  • First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in December, up from 28% in November and 30% in December 2021.
  • NAR’s 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in November 2022 – found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 26%, the lowest since NAR began tracking the data.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor home sales.

U.S. RETAIL SALES FELL 1.1% IN DECEMBER, LARGEST DECLINE OF 2022

Key Points:

  • Retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, restaurants and online, fell 1.1% in December from November.
  • Consensus among economists was a 0.8% decline.
  • December’s 1.1% decline comes after a November was revised down to a 1.0% loss.
  • Retail sales fell three of the last four months, and December’s decline was the largest of 2022.
  • Excluding autos, retail sales also fell by 1.1% over the month.
  • Retail sales are up 6.0% from a year prior while consumer prices advanced 6.5% from a year earlier.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor retail sales.

INFLATION SLOWED IN DECEMBER, PRICES UP 6.5% IN LAST YEAR

Key Points:

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.1% in December.
  • CPI increased 6.5% from a year ago, down from 7.1% in November, and the lowest reading since October 2021.
  • The rate of price increases remained above 5% for the nineteenth straight month.
  • The index for energy decreased 4.5% over the month while shelter increased by 0.8% over the month.
  • The core CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.3% in December and is up 5.7% from the previous year.
  • The energy index is up 7.3% and the food index is up 10.4% from the previous year.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor CPI.

DECEMBER HAD LOWEST JOB GAINS IN TWO YEARS

Key Points:

  • After two straight years of record-setting payroll growth following the pandemic-related disruptions, the labor market is starting to show signs of stress.
  • Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 223,000 in December, the smallest gain in two years.
  • Average hourly earnings were up 4.6% in December from the previous year, the narrowest increase since mid-2021, and down from a March peak of 5.6%.

U.S. ADDS 223K JOBS IN DECEMBER

Key Points:

  • Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 223,000 in December as the unemployment rate edged down to 3.5%.
  • Consensus among economists was a gain of 200,000 jobs.
  • In December, the unemployed population fell to 5.7 million but there were 10.5 million job openings in November.
  • Leisure and hospitality added 67,000 jobs in December, employment in health care rose by 55,000, construction added 20,000 jobs, and manufacturing added 8,000 jobs.
  • In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by $0.09 to $32.82.
  • The average workweek for all private employees fell by 0.1 hours to 34.3.
  • The labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.3% and is 1.0% below its February 2020 level.

CONSUMER SPENDING ROSE MODESTLY IN NOVEMBER

Key Points:

  • U.S. consumer spending rose by 0.1%, or $19.8 Billion, in November, down from 0.9% in October.
  • Personal income increased by 0.4%, or $80.1 Billion, in November, down from 0.7% in October.
  • The overall personal consumption expenditures price index rose 0.1% in November and is up 5.5% from a year prior.
  • The core personal consumption expenditures price index, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.2% in November and is up 4.7% from a year prior.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor spending and income.

BUILDER CONFIDENCE DECLINED EVERY MONTH IN 2022

Key Points

  • U.S. builder confidence fell again in December as the combination of high mortgage rates, elevated construction costs, and diminishing consumer demand due to the elevated home prices have dragged builder sentiment down for the entirety of 2022.
  • The NAHB Housing Market index declined to a reading of 31 this month from 33 in November.
  • This is the twelfth consecutive month that builder sentiment has declined and the lowest reading since mid-2012 with the exception of the spring of 2020.
  • The HMI index gauging current sales conditions fell from 39 to 36, the index measuring traffic of perspective buyers held steady at 20, and the index for sales expectations in the next 6 months increased 4 points to 35.
  • “In this high inflation, high mortgage rate environment, builders are struggling to keep housing affordable for home buyers,” said NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor the housing market.

RETAIL SALES FELL SHARPLY IN NOVEMBER

Key Points:

  • Retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, restaurants and online, fell 0.6% in November from October.
  • Consensus among economists was a 0.1% decline.
  • November’s 0.6% decline comes after a 1.3% gain in October.
  • Excluding autos, retail sales fell by 0.2% over the month.
  • Retail sales are up 7.7% from a year prior while consumer prices advanced 7.1% from a year earlier.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor retail sales.