Consumer confidence, Triangle unemployment drop
Posted May 29, 2012
Mixed news as we begin this holiday shortened trading week. Some positive signs for jobs here in the Triangle in that the Triangle unemployment rate has dropped again, this time to 7.5 percent in April. That figure is down from 7.9 percent in March, and jobs will continue to be in the headlines as we’ll be paying very close attention to the ADP and national employment reports later this week.
A huge disappointment in Consumer Confidence for May as the index dropped from a reading of 68.7 in April to 64.9 in May. This was the largest drop in four months, and has renewed concerns that consumers are still very worried about jobs.
We’ll want to watch this gauge closely over the next few months as lower confidence levels over time will translate into slower economic growth, which eventually would trickle back into the still healing housing market.
The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index indicated a drop in home prices nationally for year over year data – but for Charlotte, which is the closest city to the Triangle in the 20-city index, the data delivered an increase of 1.2 percent from February to March. This is good news for a couple of reasons – one is that the Triangle has similar strength to Charlotte in housing and economic fundamentals, which should mirror improvements for us as well. In addition, the index is a lagging indicator, so it looks like things will continue to improve for us as we head into the summer selling season.
The 10-Year Yield dropped to 1.71 by mid-day Tuesday but pulled back to 1.75 by the close of trading Tuesday afternoon. This benchmark metric will be watched very closely through Friday, and could be poised to make some big movements later in the week depending on the direction of the jobs data. Mortgage rates continue to trade in a very narrow range.