U.S. initial weekly unemployment insurance claims continued to decline. BlueChip consensus forecast indicates growth in 2013 with a modest acceleration in 2014. Credit grew but mostly for non-revolving credit. Total wholesale trade numbers slowed in March but only modestly up from year earlier levels.
The trends of the last year continued in Greater Phoenix housing over the last month. Single family listings declined modestly as did the total sold. Normal sales continue to play a larger role in the mix as foreclosures continue to decline. Resale prices continue to increase and now stand almost 25% over a year ago. Days on market continue to decline. This is all good news.
Arizona weekly unemployment total claims have actually increased over the past month. They are, however, still almost 40% below year earlier levels. The Department of Economic Security modestly reduced its forecast for 2013 employment due to issues related to sequestration. The forecast still calls for growth in 2013 and more rapidly so in 2014, yet still slow by historic standards in Greater Phoenix.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance have been in a significant downtrend over the last month (this is a positive because there are fewer people filing). Initial weekly claims are down to 323,000 compared to 348,000 a month ago. The Blue Chip national consensus forecast suggests that real GDP will be up a modest 2.0% this year. This is because of the sequestration effect on the second and third quarters of this year. For 2014, a more respectable but still modest 2.7% growth is expected.
Credit outstanding continues to grow (up 3.4% at an annual rate in March). But, the real story is that there has been very little growth in revolving credit (credit card debt). Non-revolving credit (used for items such as cars and light trucks), continues to grow rapidly in response to continued car and truck sales.
Wholesale trade numbers in the U.S.showed modest growth in March compared to February, but are still up 4.7% from year earlier levels. While inventories were up in March, the inventory to sales ratio was up only modestly for the month and now stands at about 1.21 compared to 1.17 a year ago.