Conference Board Employment Trends Index; December 2020

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) Remained Unchanged in December

The spread of COVID-19 and resulting policy restrictions halt labor market recovery

NEW YORK, January 11, 2021…The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) was virtually unchanged in December, after seven consecutive monthly increases that started in May. The index now stands at 99.01, down from 99.05 (an upward revision) in November. The index is currently down 9.2 percent from a year ago.

“The latest Employment Trends Index numbers signal that the labor market recovery has paused, and in the coming months employment will likely remain stagnant or even dip,” said Gad Levanon, Head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute. “As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise and downside risks grow, it appears unlikely that the labor market will resume its recovery over the next few months. We expect in-person services such as restaurants, hotels, entertainment, passenger transportation, and personal and childcare services to take the biggest employment hit. The number of jobs in most other industries should continue to grow.”

December’s slight decrease was driven by negative contributions from three of the eight components. From the largest negative contributor to the smallest, the components were: Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance; Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; and Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now.

The Employment Trends Index is a leading composite index for employment. Turning points in the index indicate that a turning point in employment is about to occur. The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight leading indicators of employment, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

The eight leading indicators of employment aggregated into the Employment Trends Index include:

*Statistical imputation for the recent month

**Statistical imputation for two most recent months

The Conference Board publishes the Employment Trends Index monthly, at 10 a.m. ET, on the Monday that follows each Friday release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report. The technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: http://www.conference-board.org/data/eti.cfm.

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National new home sales for November; 2020

New Home Sales


Sales of new single-family houses in November 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 841,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This is 11.0 percent (±9.5 percent) below the revised October rate of 945,000, but is 20.8 percent (±19.5 percent) above the November 2019 estimate of 696,000.

Sales Price

The median sales price of new houses sold in November 2020 was $335,300. The average sales price was $390,100.

For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply
The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of November was 286,000.

This represents a supply of 4.1 months at the current sales rate.

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Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index; 12/20

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® Declined in December

New York, December 22, 2020…The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® declined in December, after decreasing in November. The Index now stands at 88.6 (1985=100), down from 92.9 in November. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – decreased sharply from 105.9 to 90.3. However, the Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions – increased from 84.3 in November to 87.5 this month.  

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was December 14.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions deteriorated sharply in December, as the resurgence of COVID-19 remains a drag on confidence,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “As a result, consumers’ vacation intentions, which had notably improved in October, have retreated. On the flip side, as consumers continue to hunker down at home, intentions to purchase appliances have risen. Overall, it appears that growth has weakened further in Q4, and consumers do not foresee the economy gaining any significant momentum in early 2021.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions declined in December. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” decreased from 18.8 percent to 16.0 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” increased from 34.9 percent to 39.5 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also less favorable. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” declined from 26.3 percent to 21.8 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose from 19.4 percent to 22.0 percent.

Consumers, however, were moderately more optimistic about the short-term outlook. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 26.5 percent to 29.0 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen decreased from 22.5 percent to 21.9 percent. Consumers’ outlook regarding the job market also improved. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 25.0 percent to 27.5 percent, however those anticipating fewer jobs increased marginally from 21.6 percent to 22.2 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an increase rose marginally from 16.0 percent to 16.8 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined marginally from 14.5 percent to 14.3 percent.

Source: December 2020 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board / Release #8001

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National new home starts and completions; December 2021

FOR RELEASE AT 8:30 AM EST, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2020
MONTHLY NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION, NOVEMBER 2020
Release Number: CB20-194
December 17, 2020 – The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly
announced the following new residential construction statistics for November 2020:
NEW RESIDENTIAL
CONSTRUCTION
NOVEMBER 2020
Building Permits: 1,639,000
Housing Starts: 1,547,000
Housing Completions: 1,163,000
Next Release: January 21, 2021
Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, HUD, December 17, 2020
Building Permits
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual
rate of 1,639,000. This is 6.2 percent (±1.5 percent) above the revised October rate of 1,544,000 and is 8.5 percent
(±1.8 percent) above the November 2019 rate of 1,510,000. Single-family authorizations in November were at a rate
of 1,143,000; this is 1.3 percent (±0.8 percent) above the revised October figure of 1,128,000. Authorizations of
units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 441,000 in November.
Housing Starts
Privately-owned housing starts in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,547,000. This is 1.2
percent (±8.6 percent)* above the revised October estimate of 1,528,000 and is 12.8 percent (±11.3 percent) above
the November 2019 rate of 1,371,000. Single-family housing starts in November were at a rate of 1,186,000; this is
0.4 percent (±7.9 percent)* above the revised October figure of 1,181,000. The November rate for units in buildings
with five units or more was 352,000.
Housing Completions
Privately-owned housing completions in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,163,000. This is
12.1 percent (±5.6 percent) below the revised October estimate of 1,323,000 and is 4.8 percent (±10.6 percent)*
below the November 2019 rate of 1,222,000. Single-family housing completions in November were at a rate of
874,000; this is 0.6 percent (±7.5 percent)* below the revised October rate of 879,000. The November rate for units
in buildings with five units or more was 280,000.

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National residential new home sales; October 2020

FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 AM EST, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2020
MONTHLY NEW RESIDENTIAL SALES, OCTOBER 2020
Release Number: CB20-177
November 25, 2020 – The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly
announced the following new residential sales statistics for October 2020:
NEW RESIDENTIAL
SALES
OCTOBER 2020
New Houses Sold1: 999,000
New Houses For Sale2: 278,000
Median Sales Price: $330,600
Next Release: December 23, 2020
1Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rates
2Seasonally Adjusted
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, HUD, November 25, 2020
New Home Sales
Sales of new single-family houses in October 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 999,000, according
to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban
Development. This is 0.3 percent (±13.6 percent)* below the revised September rate of 1,002,000, but is 41.5
percent (±22.6 percent) above the October 2019 estimate of 706,000.
Sales Price
The median sales price of new houses sold in October 2020 was $330,600. The average sales price was $386,200.
For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply
The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of October was 278,000. This represents a
supply of 3.3 months at the current sales rate.
The November report is scheduled for release on December 23, 2020. View the full schedule in the Economic
Briefing Room: www.census.gov/economic-indicators/. The full text and tables for this release can be found at
www.census.gov/construction/nrs/.

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Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index; November, 2020

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® Decreased in November

Note: The upcoming December Consumer Confidence Index® release date has been changed, moving from December 29th at 10 AM ET to December 22nd at 10 AM ET.

New York, November 24, 2020…The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® declined in November, after remaining relatively flat in October. The Index now stands at 96.1 (1985=100), down from 101.4 (an upward revision) in October. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – decreased slightly from 106.2 to 105.9. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions – declined from 98.2 in October to 89.5 this month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was November 13.

“Consumer confidence declined in November, after remaining virtually flat in October,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions held steady, though consumers noted a moderation in business conditions, suggesting growth has slowed in Q4. Heading into 2021, consumers do not foresee the economy, nor the labor market, gaining strength. In addition, the resurgence of COVID-19 is further increasing uncertainty and exacerbating concerns about the outlook.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions was relatively unchanged in November. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” declined from 18.6 percent to 17.6 percent, but those claiming business conditions are “bad” also decreased, from 34.4 percent to 33.5 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was unchanged. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” held steady at 26.7 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” was virtually unchanged at 19.5 percent.

Consumers, however, have grown less optimistic about the short-term outlook. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months decreased from 36.0 percent to 27.4 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen increased from 15.9 percent to 19.8 percent. Consumers’ optimism regarding the job market also weakened. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined from 32.0 percent to 25.9 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased moderately from 19.8 percent to 20.5 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an increase was virtually unchanged at 17.6 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 14.2 percent to 13.3 percent.

Source: November 2020 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board / Release #7072

The Conference Board publishes the Consumer Confidence Index® at 10 a.m. ET on the last Tuesday of every month. Subscription information and the technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerdata.cfm.

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org.

About NIELSEN

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.  

Further information:                                                                                                                                                                   

Joseph DiBlasi

joseph.diblasi@tcb.org

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Conference Board Employment Trends Index; September 2020

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) Increased in September

Job Growth to Continue, But at a Slower Pace

NEW YORK, October 5, 2020…The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) increased in September, following increases in May, June, July, and August. The index now stands at 54.80, up from 53.30 (an upward revision) in August.

“The Employment Trends Index increased again in September, but over the last two months its gains have been more modest, indicating that job growth may be slowing down,” said Gad Levanon, Head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute. “The labor market has rebounded better than expected, but with the virus still proliferating, it will not be able to return to its full capacity any time soon. Many companies are restructuring their organizations and layoff rates are high. Despite the US economy growing more slowly, it may still be able to generate a million new jobs by year’s end.”

September’s increase was fueled by positive contributions from all eight components. From the largest positive contributor to the smallest, the components were: the Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers; Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance; the Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales; the Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now; Job Openings; the Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry; and Industrial Production.

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

The eight labor market indicators aggregated into the Employment Trends Index include:

*Statistical imputation for the recent month

**Statistical imputation for two most recent months

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Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index; September 2020

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index Increased in September

New York, September 29, 2020…The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® increased in September, after declining in August. The Index now stands at 101.8 (1985=100), up from 86.3 in August. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – increased from 85.8 to 98.5. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions – increased from 86.6 in August to 104.0 this month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was September 18.

“Consumer Confidence increased sharply in September, after back-to-back monthly declines, but remains below pre-pandemic levels,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “A more favorable view of current business and labor market conditions, coupled with renewed optimism about the short-term outlook, helped spur this month’s rebound in confidence. Consumers also expressed greater optimism about their short-term financial prospects, which may help keep spending from slowing further in the months ahead.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions rebounded in September. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 16.0 percent to 18.3 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased from 43.3 percent to 37.4 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market also improved. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” increased from 21.4 percent to 22.9 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 23.6 percent to 20.0 percent.

Consumers were also more optimistic about the short-term outlook. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 29.8 percent to 37.1 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen decreased from 20.7 percent to 15.8 percent. Consumers were more positive about the outlook for the labor market. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 29.9 percent to 33.1 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased from 21.2 percent to 15.6 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an increase improved from 13.0 percent to 17.5 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 16.0 percent to 12.6 percent.

Source: September 2020 Consumer Confidence Survey®
The Conference Board / Release #7046

The Conference Board publishes the Consumer Confidence Index® at 10 a.m. ET on the last Tuesday of every month. Subscription information and the technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerdata.cfm.

About The Conference Board
The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. http://www.conference-board.org.

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National residential sales for August, 2020

Click to access newressales.pdf

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Conference Board Leading Economic Index; August 2020

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. Increased in August

Slowing pace of improvement points to weakening growth in final months of 2020

NEW YORK, September 18, 2020…The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 1.2 percent in August to 106.5 (2016 = 100), following a 2.0 percent increase in July and a 3.1 percent increase in June.

“While the US LEI increased again in August, the slowing pace of improvement suggests that this summer’s economic rebound may be losing steam heading into the final stretch of 2020,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. “Despite the improvement, the LEI remains in recession territory, still 4.7 percent below its February level. Weakening in new orders for capital goods, residential construction, consumers’ outlook, and financial conditions point to increasing downside risks to the economic recovery. Looking ahead to 2021, the LEI suggests that the US economy will start the new year under substantially weakened economic conditions.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.6 percent in August to 100.8 (2016 = 100), following a 1.2 percent increase in July and a 3.9 percent increase in June.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) for the U.S. decreased 0.6 percent in August to 107.6 (2016 = 100), following a 0.6 percent decrease in July and a 3.5 percent decrease in June.

About The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S.
The composite economic indexes are the key elements in an analytic system designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle. The leading, coincident, and lagging economic indexes are essentially composite averages of several individual leading, coincident, or lagging indicators. They are constructed to summarize and reveal common turning point patterns in economic data in a clearer and more convincing manner than any individual component – primarily because they smooth out some of the volatility of individual components.

The ten components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® for the U.S. include:

Average weekly hours, manufacturing
Average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance
Manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods and materials
ISM® Index of New Orders
Manufacturers’ new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders
Building permits, new private housing units
Stock prices, 500 common stocks
Leading Credit Index™
Interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds
Average consumer expectations for business conditions

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