November Pending Home Sales/Weekly Unemployment Claims

NAROFF ECONOMIC ADVISORS, Inc.
Joel L. Naroff
President and Chief Economist

INDICATOR: November Pending Home Sales/Weekly Unemployment Claims
KEY DATA: Pending Sales: +7.3%/Weekly Claims: 381,000 (up 15,000)
IN A NUTSHELL: “Most housing reports are looking up but prices are still in the dumps.”

WHAT IT MEANS: It is hard to get really strong growth if home construction remains weak, so any good news about that sector should be trumpeted. So here is today’s blast: Housing sales are beginning to climb. The National Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales, which are contract signings, jumped in November to the highest level since April 2010. Since that was when the government’s “first time, long time” buyers’ incentives were in place, it looks like we are now in the midst of a real, not policy-hyped recovery. Improvement was seen in all regions with the West and Northeast leading the way.
In a separate report, unemployment claims jumped last week. That was expected though the rise was somewhat more that predicted. Still, the trend is down as the four week moving average fell fairly sharply. It is now at a level that tends to signal declining unemployment rates.

MARKETS AND FED POLICY IMPLICATIONS: Most housing data have been coming in better than expected and that is an indication that the log jam is beginning to break. The jump in pending home sales should lead to a further rise in sales over the next few months. With affordability at a record high, if we can only make it a little easier to get a mortgage we just might see the sector show some real strength. Unfortunately, the huge number of distressed houses overhanging the market will continue to put downward pressure on prices and limit the uptick in home construction. Still, this report adds to the belief that the weakest link in the economy, housing, is starting to come out of it.

Next week is a big one as we get the December jobs report on Friday. While the rise in the claims number is a warning that the labor market is still not strong, there are real hopes the payroll numbers will be quite solid. The bigger question is the unemployment rate, which gapped down in November. A modest rise, which is expected, would be a positive sign that conditions are firming and that seems to be the message coming from the claims numbers. So we are ending the year on an up note and I want to wish everyone a

HAPPY NEW YEAR
RE/MAX Connection Realtors disclaimer:
RE/MAX Connection Realtors are not licensed financial advisors, and are not providing any financial advice, you should consult with a licensed financial advisor prior to making any financial decisions. RE/MAX Connection Realtors are only providing this economic statement from Naroff Economic Advisors, Inc. for informational purposes.
Our company accepts no liability for the content of this email/blog, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. Any views or opinions presented in this email/blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Finally, the recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. The company accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.
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November Existing Home Sales

NAROFF ECONOMIC ADVISORS, Inc.
Joel L. Naroff
President and Chief Economist

INDICATOR: November Existing Home Sales
KEY DATA: Sales: +4.0%; Year-over-Year: 12.2%; Prices (Nov ’10-Nov ‘11): -3.5%;

IN A NUTSHELL: “It turns out the housing collapse was greater than thought but at least the process of digging out from the deep hole is beginning.”

WHAT IT MEANS: The housing market is healing, albeit slowly. Starts are improving and now we see that existing home sales are on the rise. Demand rose solidly in November led by a jump in single-family activity. Condo purchases were flat. The gains were across the nation though there was nearly a double-digit rise in the Northeast. So far in 2011, total sales are running almost two percent above the 2010 level. The increases were pretty evenly distributed between the single-family and condo markets. That said, the level of demand is unbelievably low. The National Association of Realtors revised the data for the period 2007 through 2010 and reduced total sales by over 14% or by about three million fewer sales. In other words, the meteor that cratered the housing market was a lot larger than initially estimated. And you thought the dinosaurs had problems. The reduction is in synch with the larger decline in GDP during the recession that was reported by the Bureau of Economic Affairs. As for prices, they are continuing to slide and for the first eleven months of the year, the median price has dropped nearly 5%, again with condos down a little more than single-family units.

MARKETS AND FED POLICY IMPLICATIONS: While some may concentrate on the huge downward revision to sales, the real story is the current trend in housing demand and that seems to be up a little. When you look at growth, it is the change in activity not the level of activity. Sales bottomed in July and have been moving up fairly steadily since. Unfortunately, the large number of distressed homes being purchased is reducing not only sales but supply as well. People with well-maintained homes know they cannot get their desired price, even if buyers are willing to pay it, as long as distressed homes are used as comps. It looks like these “normal” homeowners are simply keeping their houses off the market and that is reducing the number of homes for sale. That makes the supply of homes number somewhat useless as it implies that once conditions turn around, the ‘for sale’ signs will pop up like crazy. The latent supply is there, the actual supply is not. Regardless, this is another positive report that should make it clear that the economy is heading into 2012 with growing momentum. Unless Europe crashes and burns, and never underestimate the ability of politicians in any part of the world to do the wrong thing, growth in the U.S. next year could be decent. That is my forecast and I am sticking to it, at least for now.
RE/MAX Connection Realtors disclaimer:
RE/MAX Connection Realtors are not licensed financial advisors, and are not providing any financial advice, you should consult with a licensed financial advisor prior to making any financial decisions. RE/MAX Connection Realtors are only providing this economic statement from Naroff Economic Advisors, Inc. for informational purposes.
Our company accepts no liability for the content of this email/blog, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. Any views or opinions presented in this email/blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Finally, the recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. The company accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.
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November Housing Starts and Permits

NAROFF ECONOMIC ADVISORS, Inc.
Joel L. Naroff
President and Chief Economist

INDICATOR: November Housing Starts and Permits
KEY DATA: Starts: +9.3%; 1-Family: +2.3%; Multi-Family: +25.3; Permits: +5.7%; 1-Family: +1.6%; Multi-Family: +13.9%

IN A NUTSHELL: “The slow process of getting back to normal seems to be underway as home construction is picking up some steam.”

WHAT IT MEANS: A major constraint to better economic strength has been the weak housing market. With so many distress homes on the market it is difficult for builders to compete. That reality still exists and is likely to continue that way for quite some time which means the pathway from disaster to health will be slow. But finally, it appears that the process of healing is underway. Housing starts jumped in November led by a huge increase in multi-family activity. With so many people out of the market and mortgages hard to get, a growing number of households are looking to rent so this segment of the market should remain strong. But there is also a steady upward trend in single-family construction as well. Looking across the nation, there was a huge increase in the Northeast that looks to be a bit overestimated. That could mean some reduction in December. Starts in the West were robust as well, they were up moderately in the South but down sharply in the Midwest. Looking outward, permit requests continue to rise and that means better construction in the months ahead. Builders are not requesting permits unless they intend to use them and the number of units authorized but not started keeps going down. We have begun to see that as the number of units under construction has increased.

MARKETS AND FED POLICY IMPLICATIONS: This was a surprisingly strong report continuing the trend of better than expected numbers. Home construction needs to improve if job growth is to pick up and that seems to be the case. While it may take two more years to return to decent levels of construction, the improvement over the next few years will add moderately to growth. But more importantly, it is estimated that an additional 100,000 starts will add roughly 250,000 new jobs and we are likely to see that increase in 2012. That bodes well for employment growth. Since these tend to be well paid positions, income growth should be bolstered as well. Thus, investors should take heart that if Europe doesn’t melt down and Congress figures out how to extend the payroll tax, the economy can continue to gain momentum. Indeed, if Europe was not such an unknown, the markets would be looking toward next year with some optimism instead the uncertainty now being felt.

RE/MAX Connection Realtors disclaimer:
RE/MAX Connection Realtors are not licensed financial advisors, and are not providing any financial advice, you should consult with a licensed financial advisor prior to making any financial decisions. RE/MAX Connection Realtors are only providing this economic statement from Naroff Economic Advisors, Inc. for informational purposes.
Our company accepts no liability for the content of this email/blog, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. Any views or opinions presented in this email/blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Finally, the recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. The company accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.
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November Employment Situation

NAROFF ECONOMIC ADVISORS, Inc.
Joel L. Naroff
President and Chief Economist

INDICATOR: November Employment Situation
KEY DATA: Payrolls: 120,000; Private Sector: 140,000; Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (down 0.4 percentage point)

IN A NUTSHELL: “It was nice to see the unemployment rate come down but if we are to see it continue to fall, firms will have to hire a lot more people than they did in November.”

WHAT IT MEANS: The November employment report was another of those good news/bad news releases. On the positive side, the unemployment rate fell sharply to its lowest level since March 2009. That was the teeth of the recession and the rate was racing upwards. Unfortunately, some of the decline came from a large drop in the labor force and that is not a sign of growing confidence that jobs are available. That said, the labor force numbers are fairly volatile so I will withhold judgment. Regardless, this large a decline in the unemployment rate is usually not sustainable unless job gains are being added robustly and that just is not the case. Hiring remains less than hoped for and as usual it was restrained by continued cut backs in the public sector. The construction sector is still shrinking though there have been other indications that activity has improved. Weakness in nondurable goods manufacturing almost completely offset increases in durable goods hiring. We did see the retail, finance, insurance, temporary help, education, health care and restaurant sectors add workers. So far this year, the private sector has added about 1.7 million new positions while the public sector has cut about 260,000 jobs. Earnings were down a touch and that does not bode well for income growth.

MARKETS AND FED POLICY IMPLICATIONS: Private sector additions to payrolls were better than initial expectations but not nearly enough to keep the unemployment rate from continuously declining. Indeed, I would not be surprised if the rate ticks up next month. But I don’t want to be the Grinch that stole the employment report as there is little doubt that the sharp drop in the unemployment rate will be the biggest news in the media. That should lead to some firming in confidence. Also, the solid Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales numbers, combined with improving vehicle sales point to consumers slowly opening their wallets. That is the signal businesses need to start ramping up hiring. Actually, that could be happening already and the data are simply not keeping up. Both the August and September job gain numbers were revised upward by about 100,000 from the original estimates. Over the past three months, the private sector has added an average of about 160,000 workers and that is likely to be revised upward as well. While that pace is not great, it is much better than is commonly perceived. It is also in hailing distance of the rate needed to keep the unemployment rate coming down fairly consistently. But we are not there yet and it will require continued consumer spending and clearing the European financial and coming economic disaster hurdle before that does occur. All said, this is a good report that holds out hope for better things to come but not so great that anyone should think the labor market is healthy and all is well with the world.

RE/MAX Connection Realtors disclaimer:
RE/MAX Connection Realtors are not licensed financial advisors, and are not providing any financial advice, you should consult with a licensed financial advisor prior to making any financial decisions. RE/MAX Connection Realtors are only providing this economic statement from Naroff Economic Advisors, Inc. for informational purposes.
Our company accepts no liability for the content of this email/blog, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. Any views or opinions presented in this email/blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Finally, the recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. The company accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.
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September Employment Situation

NAROFF ECONOMIC ADVISORS, Inc.
Joel L. Naroff
President and Chief Economist

INDICATOR: September Employment Situation
KEY DATA: Payrolls: 103,000; Private Sector: 137,000; Government: -34,000; Unemployment Rate: 9.1% (unchanged)

IN A NUTSHELL: “Better than expected is nice but we need employment gains to grow a lot faster if the unemployment rate is to come down.”

WHAT IT MEANS: Well, the sky is not falling just yet. Businesses continue to add workers and it is hard to see how we could be in recession if payrolls are growing. Still, the job gains in September were not great. The private sector’s increase was bloated by a return of about 45,000 striking communications workers. They were considered off the rolls in August. A strong gain was posted in the construction sector as nonresidential activity picked up solidly. Let’s wait to see if this is a trend. Retail, telecommunications, health care and professional services all were up. On the other hand, manufacturers became more conservative and cut their workforces a touch. The uncertainty about the world economy seems to be trumping solid order growth. Finance, transportation and wholesaling were also off. But the big negative was government workers, especially local education. Meanwhile, state governments added workers. And I thought it was the state governments that were having fiscal problems. The number of people finding positions was not enough to lower the unemployment rate, which remained at a way too high 9.1%. A rise in the labor force, which I have noted in the past is a sign of growing confidence, offset a rise in employment. The trend in job growth may be changing. Both the July and August numbers were revised upward, by a total of almost 100,000, and that may indicate there is some acceleration in hiring going on. Also, hours worked and wages rose so income gains have improved.

MARKETS AND FED POLICY IMPLICATIONS: It’s incredible how low our sights have been set. The idea that 103,000 workers being added in one month is good and should buoy investors is depressing. We need to be seeing job gains in the 200,000 range. But to get there the public sector has play its part, or at least stop getting so much in the way. In past recoveries, we might have had 25,000 jobs added, a swing of about 60,000 in the September total. In addition, home construction, a huge driver of job gains, needs to improve. With construction weak and government negative, the chances of getting back to strong payroll growth in the near future are not great. I see that happening, but closer to next spring when government layoffs should ease and construction may be somewhat better. Still, the markets should like this number, if investors can see past Greece and the downgrades of European banks. This is not a report that will tell the Fed that Operation Twist (the Fed calls it a “maturity extension program”) is unnecessary. Indeed, it only reinforces the view that with government cutting back, monetary policy is the only tool left to bolster growth.
RE/MAX Connection Realtors disclaimer:
RE/MAX Connection Realtors are not licensed financial advisors, and are not providing any financial advice, you should consult with a licensed financial advisor prior to making any financial decisions. RE/MAX Connection Realtors are only providing this economic statement from Naroff Economic Advisors, Inc. for informational purposes.
Our company accepts no liability for the content of this email/blog, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. Any views or opinions presented in this email/blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Finally, the recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. The company accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.
RE/MAX Connection Realtors, 1000 East Lincoln Drive, Suite 2, Marlton, NJ 08053 www.goconnectionnj.com

July Housing Starts and Permits

NAROFF ECONOMIC ADVISORS, Inc.
Joel L. Naroff
President and Chief Economist

INDICATOR: July Housing Starts and Permits
KEY DATA: Starts: -1.5%; 5+ Units: +6.3%; Permits: -3.2%;

IN A NUTSHELL: “Home construction may not be the leader of the pack but it no longer looks like it will hold things back.”

WHAT IT MEANS: Housing activity is a key factor in the sluggish recovery and there are no great expectations that the sector will return to being robust for quite a while. Given that reality, what I have been looking for is the sector to move forward at a pace which will actually add to growth and that may be happening. After a solid rise in June, there was a modest decline in construction in July. To me, this represents not a backward movement but a solidification of the gains that were made. Housing starts are also up nearly 10% from July 2010, so maybe the improvement is really underway. The multifamily segment rose strongly and since rental housing looks to be the place to be given the inability to buy new homes, this is a good sign that the market is working. Improvement was seen in the East and West. However, a large decline in the Midwest largely created the drop in housing starts. Was weather a factor? That is not clear but a nearly 23% fall off seems to point to a special circumstance not a trend. There was a much more moderate decline in the South. Looking forward, permit requests also eased back but again they are up compared to last year. The number of homes under construction continues to drop, which is disturbing as it implies payrolls are not rising. This is due to the large number of houses that have been completed recently.

MARKETS AND FED POLICY IMPLICATIONS: Housing is coming back slowly but it is coming back. We too often forget that most of the problems arose in just a handful of major construction regions. A large part of the country did not participate in the housing bubble at nearly the same pace and are now beginning to come back. Don’t expect to see strong levels of construction anytime soon as the areas where so much of the construction used to take place are where the excess supply due to the distressed housing inventory exists. But if we see housing starts rise in other areas, which is most of the rest of the nation, then we know the sector is healing. I think that process has begun and I am buoyed by that. As for investors, the world is now the worry, especially Europe even as it appears the U.S. economy is beginning to show that it remains quite resilient. Watch August vehicle sales. With demand up in July, a good sales pace would signal the consumer is spending better than expected and with construction in the positive column, we could see third quarter growth better than the weak pace most economists now project.
RE/MAX Connection Realtors disclaimer:
RE/MAX Connection Realtors are not licensed financial advisors, and are not providing any financial advice, you should consult with a licensed financial advisor prior to making any financial decisions. RE/MAX Connection Realtors are only providing this economic statement from Naroff Economic Advisors, Inc. for informational purposes.
Our company accepts no liability for the content of this email/blog, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. Any views or opinions presented in this email/blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Finally, the recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. The company accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.
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June Housing Starts and Permits

NAROFF ECONOMIC ADVISORS, Inc.
Joel L. Naroff
President and Chief Economist

INDICATOR: June Housing Starts and Permits
KEY DATA: Starts: +14.6%; 1-Family: +9.4%; 5+ Units: +31.8%; Permits: +2.5%; 5+ units: 8.2%

IN A NUTSHELL: “Given how low home construction was, it wasn’t surprising to see and increase but the surge in starts is an eye-opener.”

WHAT IT MEANS: The housing sector has been the major drag on the recovery. Normally, a jump in construction comes with large increases in employment. That has not happened yet. However, there may be some indications the bottom in home construction is behind us. Housing starts surged well beyond expectations in June. When the May numbers came out, I wrote the following: “Looking forward, home building should pick up soon and possibly quite solidly.” I said that because permit requests were outstripping starts and builders were not spending money on permits for fun. However, I didn’t expect this kind of increase. The gains were distributed across the nation with double-digit increases posted in all areas except the West. The movement into rental housing has triggered a major revitalization of the multifamily sector. The market does work, if you let it. Permit requests continued to move upward so construction should continue to rise in the months to come especially since the number of homes permitted but not started was up. The supply of home being built is also rising. That matches well the rise in builders’ confidence reported by the National Association of Home Builders.

MARKETS AND FED POLICY IMPLICATIONS: We have been trying to call the bottom in the home construction sector for quite some time and I think we finally have one. Of course, given how low things have been, the level of activity is still well below what would signal a healthy market. In addition, starts and permits are more in line so don’t expect double-digit construction increases going forward. However, the leading light in this sector of the economy, apartment construction, should do well and with even a modest rise in the single-family segment, housing should start adding to growth during the second half of the year. More importantly, rising construction should bolster job gains and I expect the July employment numbers to be a lot better than the tepid June gains. Investors should like this report, if they are focusing on the fundamental U.S. economy rather than the theater of the absurd being performed in Washington or the continuing uncertainty about European sovereign debt. But this is earnings season, so what businesses report will likely trump some of the economic data. As for the Fed, the members would like to see more months of increases in housing before they start thinking the soft-spot has passed. I think the second half will still be strong, though maybe not quite as robust as I expected a few months ago. We still need lower gasoline prices and I am not sure that is coming.
RE/MAX Connection Realtors disclaimer:
RE/MAX Connection Realtors are not licensed financial advisors, and are not providing any financial advice, you should consult with a licensed financial advisor prior to making any financial decisions. RE/MAX Connection Realtors are only providing this economic statement from Naroff Economic Advisors, Inc. for informational purposes.
Our company accepts no liability for the content of this email/blog, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. Any views or opinions presented in this email/blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Finally, the recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. The company accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.
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May Housing Starts and Permits

NAROFF ECONOMIC ADVISORS, Inc.
Joel L. Naroff
President and Chief Economist

INDICATOR: May Housing Starts and Permits
KEY DATA: Starts: +3.5%; 1-Family: +3.7%; 5+ Units: +8.9%; Permits: +8.7%; 1-Family: +2.5%; 5+ Units: +29.3%

IN A NUTSHELL: “Builders may not be able to compete with distressed homes but that doesn’t mean they have closed up shop.”

WHAT IT MEANS: New construction is not going to be the driving force it once was in this economy, at least for quite a while. But there still are many people who prefer new homes and construction did improve in May. Maybe even more importantly, with so many households no longer able to get into the housing market, the demand for rental housing is rising. That has led to growing activity in the multi-family segment. The rise in construction was not evenly distributed across the nation as starts surged in the West, rose modestly in the South but eased back in the Northeast and Midwest. Looking forward, home building should pick up soon and possibly quite solidly. Permit requests were up strongly, especially for multi-family dwellings. The slowdown in construction in the Northeast may come to an end with gusto as permit requests rose by over 35% in that part of the country. They were also up solidly in the West and moderately in the South. However, there was a small drop in the Midwest.

MARKETS AND FED POLICY IMPLICATIONS: The importance of residential construction has dropped dramatically, which should surprise no one given how weak housing starts have been. However, GDP growth is all about changes in levels not the strength of those levels and it is very likely that housing will add to growth as we move through the second half of the year. Unfortunately, it looks like it has been a major drag during the spring quarter. The number of homes under construction has pretty much stabilized, which could also point to a bottom in activity. Thus, this report can be classified as a pretty good one despite the continued modest pace of construction. Regardless, I don’t think investors are hanging their hats on what happens in the housing market. We can have a recovery without the residential housing segment contributing greatly but it is just not going to be a robust one.

RE/MAX Connection Realtors disclaimer:
RE/MAX Connection Realtors are not licensed financial advisors, and are not providing any financial advice, you should consult with a licensed financial advisor prior to making any financial decisions. RE/MAX Connection Realtors are only providing this economic statement from Naroff Economic Advisors, Inc. for informational purposes.
Our company accepts no liability for the content of this email/blog, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. Any views or opinions presented in this email/blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Finally, the recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. The company accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.
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March Housing Starts and Permits

NAROFF ECONOMIC ADVISORS, Inc.
Joel L. Naroff
President and Chief Economist

INDICATOR: March Housing Starts and Permits
KEY DATA: Starts: +7.2%; Permits: +11.2%

IN A NUTSHELL: “When the weather outside wasn’t frightful, housing became a touch more delightful.”

WHAT IT MEANS: Now that the weather is warming up, we shouldn’t forget that there were a couple of months when conditions were truly brutal. It was not a major surprise that housing activity cratered in the first two months of the year so we should not be shocked that once it was actually possible to put the shovels into the ground, home construction improved. In March, housing starts rose solidly. There were huge increases in the Midwest and West and a solid improvement in the Northeast. The only region which posted a decline was the South. In addition, January and February’s start numbers were revised upward. It looks like housing will actually add to growth during the first quarter and that could ease the fears that growth could come in quite low. Looking forward, construction is likely to rise as we move through the spring given the strong rise in permit requests. Except for the Northeast, which was flat, builders took out a lot more permits in March and they are not doing that because of any regulatory change, as they did in December. Instead, the rise is likely the result of growing demand and expectations. Builders are doing a good job of keeping inventories under control as the number of houses under construction fell to another historic low.

MARKETS AND FED POLICY IMPLICATIONS: Home construction picked up solidly in March and activity should rise going forward. That is the good news. The bad news is that we are at record lows for homes under construction and completions while the number of housing starts remains not that far from the record low set in 2009 during the depths of the recession. But when it comes to GDP growth, it is all about changes not levels so housing should be a positive for growth this year. Of course, housing has become a much smaller part of the economy, constituting less than 2.5% of GDP at the end of last year. It was over 6% in 2005 and has average about 4.3% over the past thirty years. Thus, it takes a lot larger growth rate to have any major impact on the overall economy. Still, up is an awful lot better than down. That is good news for the markets which have been dealing with the reality that higher energy costs are not the tonic for a weak economy. But the Saudis announced they were cutting production because of the oversupply of oil, a point noted by OPEC. The members remember that when speculation gets carried away and prices surge above sustainable levels, the downside can be painful. It is impossible to forecast changes in speculative attitudes but I suspect that the upward momentum in oil is slowing and that could turn things around quite quickly. At least let’s hope so. As for S&P putting U.S. Treasuries on the watch list, remember, this is an organization that didn’t understand housing debt or European debt. It is incomprehensible that the debt limit will not be lifted so maybe we should just relax. The U.S. is not going to default.
RE/MAX Connection Realtors disclaimer:
RE/MAX Connection Realtors are not licensed financial advisors, and are not providing any financial advice, you should consult with a licensed financial advisor prior to making any financial decisions. RE/MAX Connection Realtors are only providing this economic statement from Naroff Economic Advisors, Inc. for informational purposes.
Our company accepts no liability for the content of this email/blog, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. Any views or opinions presented in this email/blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Finally, the recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. The company accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.
RE/MAX Connection Realtors, 1000 East Lincoln Drive, Suite 2, Marlton, NJ 08053 www.goconnectionnj.com

February Supply Managers’ Non-Manufacturing Survey

NAROFF ECONOMIC ADVISORS, Inc.
Joel L. Naroff
President and Chief Economist
INDICATOR: February Supply Managers’ Non-Manufacturing Survey
KEY DATA: ISM (Non-Manufacturing): 59.7 (up 0.3 pt.); Business Activity: 66.9 (up 2.3 points)
IN A NUTSHELL: “The economy is gaining speed and only an extended period of high energy costs can sidetrack the recovery.”
WHAT IT MEANS: At least through February, the economy was not only in good shape but was also starting to shift into higher gear. The Institute for Supply Management’s survey of service and construction firms showed that conditions are solid and are even getting better. Activity is robust (the index was the second highest on record), orders are growing, though a touch slower than they had been, hiring is picking up steam and order books are filling faster. This is very similar to Tuesday’s report on the manufacturing sector so it looks like the improvement in the recovery is spread across almost all segments of the economy.
MARKETS AND FED POLICY IMPLICATIONS: We are at the points where the economy is no longer recovering but has entered the expansion phase. That is clear from the latest economic data. Not only are the supply managers telling us conditions are good and getting better but even the labor market numbers are improving. Regardless of tomorrow’s employment report, the sharp decline in unemployment claims tells me that the labor market is firming. Layoffs are largely over and if the economy does keep improving, job growth is headed upward. Whether it will or not the coming months will see even stronger growth depends on factors beyond anyone’s control. Energy is that wild card due to the political unrest. The uprising in Libya continues and how it is resolved remains uncertain as to its impact on oil supplies. But Libya is just the latest but it may not be the last of the countries that gets wracked by the desire to overthrow undemocratic governments. Even if the Libyan situation gets resolved in the best way possible tomorrow, the political risk of future changes will not come out of the markets anytime soon. Thus, we should take this report and look forward with lots of hope and expectations but also remember that the 800 pound gorilla, energy, is still looking over our shoulders.

RE/MAX Connection Realtors disclaimer:
RE/MAX Connection Realtors are not licensed financial advisiors, and are not providing any financial advise, you should consult with a licensed financial advisior prior to making any financial decisions. RE/MAX Connection Realtors are only providing this economic statement from Naroff Economic Advisors, Inc. for informational purposes.
Our company accepts no liability for the content of this email/blog, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. Any views or opinions presented in this email/blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Finally, the recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. The company accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.
RE/MAX Connection Realtors, 1000 East Lincoln Drive, Suite 2, Marlton, NJ 08053 www.goconnectionnj.com