Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index; July 2022

New York, July 26, 2022The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® decreased in July, following a larger decline in June. The Index now stands at 95.7 (1985=100), down 2.7 points from 98.4 in June. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—fell to 141.3 from 147.2 last month. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—ticked down to 65.3 from 65.8. 

Consumer confidence fell for a third consecutive month in July,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The decrease was driven primarily by a decline in the Present Situation Index—a sign growth has slowed at the start of Q3. The Expectations Index held relatively steady, but remained well below a reading of 80, suggesting recession risks persist. Concerns about inflation—rising gas and food prices, in particular—continued to weigh on consumers.”

“As the Fed raises interest rates to rein in inflation, purchasing intentions for cars, homes, and major appliances all pulled back further in July. Looking ahead, inflation and additional rate hikes are likely to continue posing strong headwinds for consumer spending and economic growth over the next six months.”

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National new home sales metrics; June 2022

New Home Sales
Sales of new single‐family houses in June 2022 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.


This is 8.1 percent (±15.0 percent)* below the revised May rate of 642,000 and is 17.4 percent (±11.6 percent) below the June 2021 estimate of 714,000.

Sales Price
The median sales price of new houses sold in June 2022 was $402,400. The average sales price was $456,800.

For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply
The seasonally‐adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of June was 457,000. This represents a supply of 9.3 months at the current sales rate.

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Market update with Marti Hampton

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Conference Board Leading Economic Index; June 2022

New York, July 21, 2022 The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI)for theU.S. decreased by 0.8 percent in June 2022 to 117.1 (2016=100), after declining by 0.6 percent in May. The LEI was down by 1.8 percent over the first half of 2022, a reversal from its 3.3 percent growth over the second half of 2021.

“The US LEI declined for a fourth consecutive month suggesting economic growth is likely to slow further in the near-term as recession risks grow,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. “Consumer pessimism about future business conditions, moderating labor market conditions, falling stock prices, and weaker manufacturing new orders drove the LEI’s decline in June. The coincident economic index which rose in June suggests the economy grew through the second quarter. However, the forward-looking LEI points to a US economic downturn ahead.”

“Amid high inflation and rapidly tightening monetary policy, The Conference Board expects economic growth will continue to cool throughout 2022. A US recession around the end of this year and early next is now likely. Accordingly, we’ve downgraded our forecast of 2022 annual Real GDP growth to 1.7 percent year-over-year (from 2.3 percent), while 2023 growth was downgraded to 0.5 percent YOY (from 1.8 percent).”

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Bureau of Labor Statistics weekly earnings metrics; 2Q, 2022

Median weekly earnings of the nation's 118.9 million full-time wage and salary workers were $1,041 in the second quarter of 2022 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

This was 5.2 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with
a gain of 8.6 percent in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period. 
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National new home construction metrics; June, 2022

July 19, 2022 ‐ The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for June 2022:

Building Permits
Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,685,000. This is 0.6 percent below the revised May rate of 1,695,000, but is 1.4 percent above the June 2021 rate of 1,661,000. Single‐family authorizations in June were at a rate of 967,000; this is 8.0 percent below the revised May figure of 1,051,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 666,000 in June.

Housing Starts
Privately‐owned housing starts in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,559,000. This is 2.0 percent (±9.0 percent)* below the revised May estimate of 1,591,000 and is 6.3 percent (±10.2 percent)* below the June 2021 rate of 1,664,000. Single‐family housing starts in June were at a rate of 982,000; this is 8.1 percent (±12.2 percent)* below the revised May figure of 1,068,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 568,000.

Housing Completions
Privately‐owned housing completions in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,365,000. This is 4.6 percent (±11.7 percent)* below the revised May estimate of 1,431,000, but is 4.6 percent (±13.4 percent)* above the June 2021 rate of 1,305,000. Single‐family housing completions in June were at a rate of 996,000; this is 4.1 percent (±11.1 percent)* below the revised May rate of 1,039,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 366,000.

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Conference Board commentary on June jobs report

Solid Job Growth Continues Amid a Slowing Economy

Commentary on today’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report

By Frank Steemers, Senior Economist, The Conference Board

The labor market continues to be strong, with 372,000 jobs added in June 2022, after a downwardly revised increase of 384,000 jobs in May. Despite gathering economic headwinds, there is still no clear indication that the labor market is cooling. However, this could change in the months ahead as other economic indicators have already signaled that economic activity is slowing amid rising inflation and Fed interest rate hikes. As a result, hiring may decelerate during the remainder of the year.

The unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent for the fourth consecutive month. The labor force participation rate fell slightly to 62.2 percent, down from to 62.3 percent in May. Overall, employment is near its pre-pandemic level, down only 0.3 percent compared to February 2020, representing about 500,000 jobs. Job recovery has been slower for women, with employment still 0.5 percent below pre-pandemic levels, compared to 0.2 percent for men.

Job growth remains strong in leisure and hospitality, which added 67,000 jobs in June. After losing jobs in May, retail trade gained 15,400 jobs. Jobs were also added in transportation and warehousing (35,500), professional and business services (74,000), and health care and social assistance (77,800). Hiring also continued in temporary help services (5,400)—one of the better leading indicators of future employment changes in other industries.

Wage growth is still elevated, although it seems to have plateaued. Average hourly earnings grew 5.1 percent over the last 12 months and have remained between 5 and 6 percent (annual growth) since Q4 2021. The labor market is still very tight and continued hiring and retention pressures will keep wage growth elevated. Faster wage growth, in turn, will make it harder for price inflation to decelerate as companies will increase product and service prices to cover for increasing labor costs.

Today’s jobs report does not support the argument that we are in recession presently and shows the labor market is strong enough to weather additional interest rate hikes. However, with the Fed planning to rapidly raise interest rates over the coming months to fight high inflation, the risk of a short and mild recession in the near future is high. Currently, The Conference Board projects economic output to contract slightly in Q4 2022 and Q1 2023.

If there is a short and mild recession, companies would likely start to reduce hiring in reaction to slowing economic activity. The chances of layoffs would also increase and primarily impact lower-skilled workers. With hiring usually adjusting to economic activity a few months later, there could be small monthly job losses by early 2023. As a result, the unemployment rate—in June remaining at 3.6 percent—would tick up.

Still, the unemployment rate may well stay below 4 percent following a short and mild recession. This would mean labor shortages will continue to be a challenge for employers in 2023 and beyond.

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Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index; June 2022

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® decreased in June, following a decline in May. The Index fell to 98.7 (1985=100)—down 4.5 points from 103.2 in May—and now stands at its lowest level since February 2021 (Index, 95.2). The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—declined marginally to 147.1 from 147.4 last month. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—decreased sharply to 66.4 from 73.7 and is at its lowest level since March 2013 (Index, 63.7). 

Consumer confidence fell for a second consecutive month in June,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “While the Present Situation Index was relatively unchanged, the Expectations Index continued its recent downward trajectory—falling to its lowest point in nearly a decade. Consumers’ grimmer outlook was driven by increasing concerns about inflation, in particular rising gas and food prices. Expectations have now fallen well below a reading of 80, suggesting weaker growth in the second half of 2022 as well as growing risk of recession by yearend.”

Purchasing intentions for cars, homes, and major appliances held relatively steady—but intentions have cooled since the start of the year and this trend is likely to continue as the Fed aggressively raises interest rates to tame inflation. Meanwhile, vacation plans softened further as rising prices took their toll. Looking ahead over the next six months, consumer spending and economic growth are likely to continue facing strong headwinds from further inflation and rate hikes.

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National new home sales metrics; May 2022

New Home Sales
Sales of new single‐family houses in May 2022 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 696,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.


This is 10.7 percent (±18.9 percent)* above the revised April rate of 629,000, but is 5.9 percent (±22.0 percent)* below the May 2021 estimate of 740,000.

Sales Price
The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2022 was $449,000. The average sales price was $511,400.

For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply
The seasonally‐adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 444,000. This represents a supply of 7.7 months at the current sales rate.

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National new home construction metrics; 5/22

Building Permits
Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,695,000. This is 7.0 percent below the revised April rate of 1,823,000, but is 0.2 percent above the May 2021 rate of 1,691,000. Single‐family authorizations in May were at a rate of 1,048,000; this is 5.5 percent below the revised April figure of 1,109,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 592,000 in May.

Housing Starts
Privately‐owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,549,000. This is 14.4 percent (±8.9 percent) below the revised April estimate of 1,810,000 and is 3.5 percent (±10.7 percent)* below the May 2021 rate of 1,605,000. Single‐family housing starts in May were at a rate of 1,051,000; this is 9.2 percent (±11.0 percent)* below the revised April figure of 1,157,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 469,000.

Housing Completions
Privately‐owned housing completions in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,465,000. This is 9.1 percent (±22.6 percent)* above the revised April estimate of 1,343,000 and is 9.3 percent (±19.0 percent)* above the May 2021 rate of 1,340,000. Single‐family housing completions in May were at a rate of 1,043,000; this is 2.8 percent (±13.6 percent)* above the revised April rate of 1,015,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 417,00

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