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The preliminary estimate for April housing starts showed a -2.5% M/M decline following March’s -6.6% decline, bringing housing starts to their lowest level since November 2016. Single family home construction was up slightly +0.4%, but multifamily unit construction dropped -9.2%. Construction activity dropped in the South (-9.1%), and sharply in the Northeast (-37.3%), but rose in the Midwest (+41.1%) and West (+5.4%).
April’s +1.0% increase for industrial production was the largest increase of the year to date and brought the Y/Y increase to +2.2%. The manufacturing sector showed a strong +1.0% increase after March’s -0.4% decline, with Y/Y growth at +1.7%. Mining also showed strength with +1.2% growth reversing March’s -0.4% decline, and Y/Y growth rising to +7.3%.
The May 2017 Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed a much stronger than expected business index of 38.8 in its tenth consecutive month of positive readings. General activity and shipments improved, and while new orders and employment components dropped slightly they still remained high. Surveyed firms expected prices for their products to increase by 2.0%, in line with 2.0% inflation predictions, and while fewer firms planned to hire, wages were forecast to increase by 3.0%.
Thursday May 25 – International Trade in Goods
Friday May 26 – GDP