Friday, October 21, 2011

Slow uptrend looks intact

- by New Deal democrat

In the last week we got three important points of data for September, each consistent with the continuation of a slow uptrend.

First, we got the long leading indicator of housing permits:

Only once between May 2010 and April 2011 were there more than 575,000 permits issued on an annualized basis. Since then, every single month has been above 575,000. While September's reading of 594,000 is at the low end of the trend and is also consistent with the series rolling over, I will not be concerned unless we break back below the 575,000 level.

Second, we got the short leading indicator (especially for jobs) of real retail sales:

Due especially but not exclusively to vehicle sales, this was the best reading in months. In real terms, retail sales have made up 75% of their decline in the last recession.

Finally, we got the coincident indicator of industrial production:

This also recorded a slight gain (although since August was reduced from positive to flat, the net result is a sideways movement m/m). Industrial production has now recovered 60% of its decline during the last recession.

Manufacturing remains an important point of concern, but for September the slow uptrend stayed intact.