ELLIOTT D. POLLACK
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22nd, 2018
The Monday Morning Quarterback
A quick analysis of important economic data released over the last week
The data released this week points to continued strength in the U.S. business cycle through the end of this year. Capacity constraints and tighter labor market dynamics may make it hard for 2019 to repeat the success of 2018. Time will tell whether housing, manufacturers’ orders, and stock prices can pick back up to push this business cycle to a historic duration.
Locally, employment growth continues to be a positive in the state and especially Greater Phoenix. The Phoenix metro is now the 5th fastest growing employment market in the country. The only bit of bad news was that housing permits did not keep pace with previous months.
Leading indicators continue to grow. The index increased 0.5% in September and is now 7.0% over last year. The index continues to point to positive economic growth in the second half of 2018 and growth, albeit slower, in 2019.
The budget deficit increased 17.0% to $779 billion from 2017’s $665.8 billion. This is the largest deficit since 2012.
Retail and food service sales increased 0.1% in September and 4.7% over a year ago. This is below August’s year-over-growth of 6.5%.
Total manufacturing sales increased 7.8% and inventories were up 4.2% over the past year. The inventories to sales ratio remained at 1.34 in August.
Industrial production increased in September despite the effects of Hurricane Florence. The index grew 0.3% over August and it is 5.1% higher than last year.
Builder confidence rose to 68 in October. The index is up from 67 September and is the same as a year ago.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate for total permits dropped 0.6% from August and 1.0% from a year ago. Single-family permits were up 2.4% from a year ago.
Existing home sales slowed in September. Existing home sales were down 4.1% compared to last year and single family sales were down 4.0% for the same period.
Employment in Arizona grew 35,400 jobs (1.2%) in September and 84,800 jobs (3.0%) over a year ago. Year-over-year growth has been concentrated in construction, professional and business services, and education and health services. Year-to-date, Arizona’s growth rate is 2.6% and it ranks as the 7th highest among U.S. states.
Greater Phoenix continues to grow at a slightly faster rate than Arizona. In September, the monthly growth rate was 1.2% and 3.8% over a year ago. Year-to-date, the growth rate accelerated to 3.2% pushing Greater Phoenix to the 5th fastest growing large metro in the country.
Greater Tucson grew at 2.4% over August and over the previous year. According to seasonally adjusted data, Greater Tucson recovered all of the jobs lost from the recession. It is currently 600 jobs higher than the previous peak in March 2007.
Permits were disappointing in September for Greater Phoenix and Greater Tucson. Greater Phoenix saw an increase of 1,486 permits, far below the more 2,000 permits we have observed in the previous months. Year-to-date Greater Phoenix permitting activity is up 14.6% from the prior year. Greater Tucson’s permitting declined 9.1% from August. Year-to-date, Greater Tucson is 16.2% above last year for the similar period last year.
Elliott D. Pollack & Company (EDPCo) offers a broad range of economic and real estate consulting services backed by one of the most comprehensive databases found in the nation. This information makes it possible for the firm to conduct economic forecasting, develop economic impact studies and prepare demographic analyses and forecasts. Econometric modeling and economic development analysis and planning are also part of our capabilities. EDPCo staff includes professionals with backgrounds in economics, urban planning, financial analysis, real estate development and government. These professionals serve a broad client base of both public and private sector entities that range from school districts and utility companies to law firms and real estate developers.
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Scottsdale, Arizona 85251