Disinflation, Record Travel, & More
Week in Review: Nov. 27-Dec. 1
This week brought us updates on inflation, construction spending, household savings, and the second part of our series on 30-year construction trends (The Fall and Rise of American Manufacturing), among other notable data releases.
New Home Sales
Sales of new homes fell about 6% in October but were still about 18% above October 2022 levels. About 65% of those sales occurred in the South, while another 21% occurred in the West. Sales activity remained particularly weak in the Midwest and Northeast (you can see states are in each region here).
The supply of new homes for sale increased to the highest level since January, so at least the housing market has that going for it.
Gas prices declined for a tenth straight week and are down to $3.36/gallon, the lowest price since January 2nd.
Diesel prices also continued to free fall and, at $4.15/gallon, are exactly $0.99/gallon cheaper than during the same week last year.
TSA Checkpoint Travel Numbers
TSA screened more than 2.9 million passengers on Sunday, the highest single-day total in history (the chart below shows a moving weekly average, so it doesn’t look like a record…). Remarkably, fewer than 0.5% of flights were cancelled that day. Big picture, American consumers keep showing a willingness to spend, and especially on travel.
Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index
This measure of sentiment improved in November after falling in each of the previous three months, but consumers are still gloomy. About 67% of consumers think a recession is “somewhat likely” or “very likely” over the next 12 months. For context, respondents to the WSJ forecasting survey put the odds of recession over the next year at 48%.
Home prices increased 0.7% in October and are up 6.2% year over year, according to Redfin. This Redfin index also includes data for the 50 most populous metro areas, so check it out if you’re interested in home prices in your area.