THE BASIS POINT

Jobless Claims down. New Home Sales & Prices up.

Jobless Claims (week ended 5/18/2013)

– New Claims (seasonally adjusted) 340,000. Previous was 360,000

– New Claims (not seasonally adjusted) 301,056 a decrease of 19,767 from the previous week.

– 4-week Moving Average  339,500. Previous was 340,000.

Initial Jobless Claims have been trending downward since their peak at 586,000 in December 2008.  I would regard 350,000 as a neutral level.  The neutral level is a bit difficult to determine because the population has increased since the recession but the number of people working has actually dropped.  The Labor Participation Rate was 66.0 in October 2008 and 63.3% last month.

New Home Sales (April 2013)

– Sales level (seasonally adjusted, annualized) 454,000. Previous was revised from 417,000 to 444,000.

FHFA House Price Index (March 2013)

– Month/Month change +1.3%. Previous was revised to +0.9%

– Year/Year change  7.2%.

Lack of supply has been a big factor pushing prices upward but supply has increased recently which should slow price growth.

PMI Manufacturing Index Flash (May 2013)

– Index level was 51.9. Previous was 52.9.  This still indicates growth and is out of whack with most of the regional Fed reports.