Weekly economic review & outlook
Softer end to 2019 for consumer data
January 21, 2020
You Need to Know
Week in review
Retail sales up modestly, but still not much inflation
Retail sales rose by 0.3 percent in December to wrap a softer fourth quarter for spending. CPI inflation remained tepid through year-end.
Outsized gain in housing starts
Home construction surged to an expansion high in December, although difficult seasonal adjustment in the winter months may have played a role.
Existing home sales should climb
Strong underlying demand factors should lead arise in December existing home sales – with pending sales already reported higher.
Weekly jobless claims likely up a tad after recent fall
Weekly jobless claims have plummeted in recent weeks, in response to a brief period of higher claims due to the late Thanksgiving holiday; we expect them to edge higher to the average level of the past several months.
Retail sales rose by a modest 0.3 percent for December as spending was held down by a decline in auto sales. Excluding autos, total retail expenditures increased by a hefty 0.7 percent from November, the strongest monthly gain for this measure since July. There were also signs of solid consumer activity across most spending categories as core retail sales (excluding autos, building supplies and gasoline) increased by 0.4 percent for the month.