Consumer confidence continues decline
Following a sharp decrease in October, consumer confidence continued trending downward in November to its current resting place of 70.4.
“Consumer confidence declined moderately in November after sharply declining in October," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "Sentiment regarding current conditions was mixed, with consumers saying the job market had strengthened, while economic conditions had slowed. However, these sentiments did not carry over into the short-term outlook. When looking ahead six months, consumers expressed greater concern about future job and earning prospects, but remain neutral about economic conditions. All in all, with such uncertainly prevailing, this could be a challenging holiday season for retailers."
Both the Present Situation Index (down to 72.0 from 72.6) and the Expectations Index (69.3, down from 72.2) decreased as well.
The number of those claiming business conditions are "good," as well as those assessing them as "bad," increased in November. Overall, faith in the job market improved slightly.
Consumers were also slightly more optimistic about the short-term outlook for business conditions, but those anticipating more jobs fell all the way from 16.0% to 12.7%. Additionally, fewer consumers expected their incomes to increase.
November’s index was down two entire points from October’s upwardly revised figure of 72.4. Early estimates last month pinned the index at 71.2.
Permits hit the million mark, starts data delayed
After a delay of several weeks in the aftermath of the government shutdown, the U.S. Census Bureau has finally released building permits data for September and October — both show strong growth.
However, an accurate count of housing starts will be further delayed until Dec 18.
"The lapse in federal funding affected the data collection schedule for the Survey of Construction, the source of data on new housing units started and completed," read the Census Bureau release. "Accurate data collection for September and October could not be completed in time for this release."
Of the data that was reported, the upward trend in authorized building permits suggests a healthy season for new residential construction. Privately owned housing units authorized by permits in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.03 million, up 6.2% from September’s rate of 974,000, which is also well above August’s official housing starts figure of 891,000. October’s estimate also showed strong year-over-year growth of 13.9%.
Meanwhile, single-family authorizations in October came in at 620,000, 0.8% higher than that of September.
Housing starts data released in December will account for September, October and November.