Last week was pretty light on economic news. However, we did get some numbers.
Consumer spending: there was no news in this area of the economy.
Manufacturing: The Philly Fed manufacturing index increased from -7.7 to 3.2 -- a reading of barely positive. The new orders and activity component were also reported at around a reading of "0" indicating a weak overall picture.
Housing: Housing starts jumped 14.6%, but the general trend of the housing market is still sideways. We need at least a few more months of data to confirm this is a new trend and not an overreaction from a depressed reading the previous month. Existing home sales decreased .8%, largely because of an unexpected spike in contract cancellations. My reading of this data point is that consumers are becoming increasingly skittish about the economic outlook and are therefore looking to avoid any long-term financial commitment.
Finally, the leading economic indicator increased .3. However, the internals were less than inspiring. Save for a big bump in M2 and a wide interest rate spread, the rest of the internal numbers showed a very weak underlying economy.
Overall, there was little last week to indicate the economy is coming out of its current soft patch.