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The U.S. Census Bureau reported the sixth straight month of positive retail sales with overall retail sales in October edging up to a seasonally adjusted 0.3%. The figure is short of the 0.5% forecast and well below a revised 1.6% for September and is the smallest increase since the recovery from the pandemic started in May. Sales rose for autos, home and garden stores, electronics and appliance stores, and online retailers. The increases are likely fueled by low-interest rates for autos, ongoing home renovations, and more computer purchases by people working from home as well as families with children studying online. Online shopping was especially strong increasing by 3.1% in October. Conversely, sales declined at furniture stores, restaurants, health and personal care, clothing, sporting goods, and general merchandise stores.
The Commerce Department reported that new home construction rose faster than expected in October. Home construction rose 4.9% to an annualized rate of 1.530 million in October, after rising 6.3% in September. September was revised up to 1.459 million from the previously reported 1.415 million units. Housing starts were up a healthy 14.2% over the same period last year. Single-family homebuilding which represents the largest share of the housing market increased 6.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.179 million units, while starts for the multi-family segment were unchanged. Permits for future homebuilding were unchanged at a rate of 1.545 million units.
The Labor Department reported that applications for jobless aid rose from a revised 711,000 in the previous week to 742,000 for the week ending November 14th, this is the first increase in 5 weeks. The number of people who are continuing to receive traditional unemployment benefits fell to 6.37 million from 6.8 million, some of that decline is attributable to jobless people having used up their state unemployment aid and transitioning to the federal extended benefits program that lasts an additional 13 weeks. Claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program increased by 23,863 to 320,237. At the State level – Louisiana (+32,679), Massachusetts (+9,303), and Texas (+4,393) saw the highest increases in claims, while Illinois (-20,632) Florida (-9,865), and Washington (-8,516) showed the most declines.
Tuesday November 24 – Consumer Confidence
Thursday November 25 – New Home Sales