National residential new home metrics; June 2021

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 2021

NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION JUNE 2021   Building Permits: 1,598,000    Housing Starts: 1,643,000    Housing Completions: 1,324,000    Next Release:  August 18, 2021 Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, HUD,

July 20, 2021 Building Permits Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,598,000.  This is 5.1 percent (±1.1 percent) below the revised May rate of 1,683,000, but is 23.3 percent (±0.9 percent) above the June 2020 rate of 1,296,000.

  Single‐family authorizations in June were at a rate of 1,063,000; this is 6.3 percent (±1.4 percent) below the revised May figure of 1,134,000.  Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 483,000 in June.

Housing Starts Privately‐owned housing starts in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,643,000.  This is 6.3 percent (±11.5 percent)* above the revised May estimate of 1,546,000 and is 29.1 percent (±11.2 percent) above the June 2020 rate of 1,273,000.  Single‐family housing starts in June were at a rate of 1,160,000; this is 6.3 percent (±11.7 percent)* above the revised May figure of 1,091,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 474,000.

   Housing Completions Privately‐owned housing completions in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,324,000.  This is 1.4 percent (±10.5 percent)* below the revised May estimate of 1,343,000, but is 6.5 percent (±13.9 percent)* above the June 2020 rate of 1,243,000.  Single‐family housing completions in June were at a rate of 902,000; this is 6.1 percent (±10.2 percent)* below the revised May rate of 961,000.

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Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Index for 2Q/21

Despite Regional Challenges, Global Consumer Confidence Again Hits Record High

The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey Finds Elevated Global Optimism
but Mixed Prospects as Progress on Vaccinations and Reopenings Diverge Worldwide

New York, July 14, 2021…Global consumer confidence ticked up to another record high in the second quarter of 2021, according to The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey, as economic activity improved, mobility restrictions were loosened, vaccines were distributed, and COVID-19 cases declined in many regions. But concerns over health, economic recovery, and job prospects remained for many consumers worldwide amid an uneven reemergence from COVID-19.

The survey found that overall global consumer confidence rose slightly to 109 in Q2 2021 from 108 in Q1 (a figure above 100 is considered positive.) The global index now surpasses the 106 reading registered at the pandemic’s onset in Q1 2020 and is the highest recorded since the survey began in 2005. Confidence rose in 42 of 65 markets (65%) surveyed, with the strongest gains in regions like North America and Europe with relatively high vaccination rates. On the other hand, confidence declined in regions wrestling with new infections, low vaccine availability, and ongoing economic restrictions.

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“Consumer confidence continued to climb worldwide in Q2, albeit at a much slower rate than the 10-pt gain recorded in Q1,” said Dana Peterson, Chief Economist of The Conference Board. “This reflects a global economic recovery that remains highly uneven, with many economies still struggling to contain COVID-19 amid a shortage of vaccines, new variants, and supply-chain bottlenecks that are raising prices. Nonetheless, the elevated level of global consumer confidence bodes well for spending and, consequently, the global economic revival in the second half of this year and into 2022.”

Additional takeaways include:

The record-setting global economic confidence was driven by declining COVID-19 cases, reopening of economies, and loosening of restrictions, but major health and economic woes remain elsewhere:

  • Confidence continued to climb from a high base in North America and the Gulf region. North America, where confidence already stood at a strong 110 in Q1, surged further to 125 in Q2—reflecting continued fiscal and monetary support as well as ongoing vaccination campaigns and loosened mobility restrictions. Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—where confidence stands at 124 (+6 pts)—also benefited from fast vaccine rollouts that have enabled a return of tourism.
  • Confidence is also returning to Europe. Both the Euro Area 16 (+7 pts to 94) and Europe as a whole (+5 pts to 92) saw confidence climb, led by improving sentiment around financial conditions. Decreasing COVID-19 cases and accelerating vaccination rates across most of Europe contributed to the improved outlook from Q1’s low base.
  • Confidence in Asia-Pacific ticked down overall as countries faced diverging COVID situations across the region. While confidence in the Asia-Pacific remained relatively high in Q2 (−3 pts to 115), sharp declines were seen in countries—led by India—that faced unexpectedly severe second (or third) waves of COVID-19. Sentiment in China rose, but other data suggests the level of confidence among Chinese consumers might be overstated given less optimistic reports on employment, retail sales, and household saving.
  • Latin America took a step backwards. Confidence across Latin America fell 6 pts in Q2 to 93, with only Peru recording a positive gain. Amid a strong winter surge in COVID-19 cases, heightened political and economic uncertainty in countries like Colombia and Argentina weighed on consumer sentiment in the region.

Overall, the second quarter of 2021 saw the world’s consumers inch back toward more typical pre-pandemic spending patterns:

  • Spending intentions drove Q2’s confidence gains. Among the three drivers of overall consumer confidence, spending intensions were solely responsible for the uptick in global sentiment. The proportion of respondents reporting that now was a “good” or “excellent” time to buy needed or wanted goods and services edged up, with the improvement most notable in North America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. Meanwhile, perceptions of job prospects and personal finances remained relatively unchanged.
  • Consumers are planning to spend as economies reopen. A year and a half after the start of the pandemic, the majority (56%) of global consumers were still focused on using spare cash for saving. This was followed more distantly by desires to purchase new clothing (37%) and holidays and vacations (33%). The focus on savings indicates remaining caution among consumers. However, the desire to buy clothing and spend on travel also indicates that consumers are looking forward to reduced mobility and travel restrictions.
  • Signs of rising inflation are not hampering spending thus far. Despite rising prices for commodities, food, energy, and a host of goods and select services in reviving economies, only very small percentages of consumers cited inflation as a problem over the next 6 months in areas like food prices (5%), utility bills (2%), or fuel costs (1%). Altogether, just 8% of respondents stated that some form of price increase was their greatest worry—unchanged from Q1 and below the pre-pandemic share of 11%.

 
Fewer consumers believed their country is in a recession—but concerns over health, the economy, and job security remain elevated.

  • A majority (60%) of global consumers still believed their economy was in recession in Q2—down sharply from the peak of 86% reached a year ago. This suggests material improvement in the global economy, again led by rebounds in several major markets, including China, the US, and parts of Emerging Market Asia and Western Europe.
  • Health remained the greatest concern among global consumers—edging up to 23% in Q2 from 22% the previous quarter.
  • The economy (16%) and job security (12%) remain high-priority issues. But concerns in these areas have ticked down compared to Q1 and are down sharply from a year ago.

Despite Regional Challenges, Global Consumer Confidence Again Hits Record High

The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey Finds Elevated Global Optimism
but Mixed Prospects as Progress on Vaccinations and Reopenings Diverge Worldwide

New York, July 14, 2021…Global consumer confidence ticked up to another record high in the second quarter of 2021, according to The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey, as economic activity improved, mobility restrictions were loosened, vaccines were distributed, and COVID-19 cases declined in many regions. But concerns over health, economic recovery, and job prospects remained for many consumers worldwide amid an uneven reemergence from COVID-19.

The survey found that overall global consumer confidence rose slightly to 109 in Q2 2021 from 108 in Q1 (a figure above 100 is considered positive.) The global index now surpasses the 106 reading registered at the pandemic’s onset in Q1 2020 and is the highest recorded since the survey began in 2005. Confidence rose in 42 of 65 markets (65%) surveyed, with the strongest gains in regions like North America and Europe with relatively high vaccination rates. On the other hand, confidence declined in regions wrestling with new infections, low vaccine availability, and ongoing economic restrictions.

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“Consumer confidence continued to climb worldwide in Q2, albeit at a much slower rate than the 10-pt gain recorded in Q1,” said Dana Peterson, Chief Economist of The Conference Board. “This reflects a global economic recovery that remains highly uneven, with many economies still struggling to contain COVID-19 amid a shortage of vaccines, new variants, and supply-chain bottlenecks that are raising prices. Nonetheless, the elevated level of global consumer confidence bodes well for spending and, consequently, the global economic revival in the second half of this year and into 2022.”

Additional takeaways include:

The record-setting global economic confidence was driven by declining COVID-19 cases, reopening of economies, and loosening of restrictions, but major health and economic woes remain elsewhere:

  • Confidence continued to climb from a high base in North America and the Gulf region. North America, where confidence already stood at a strong 110 in Q1, surged further to 125 in Q2—reflecting continued fiscal and monetary support as well as ongoing vaccination campaigns and loosened mobility restrictions. Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—where confidence stands at 124 (+6 pts)—also benefited from fast vaccine rollouts that have enabled a return of tourism.
  • Confidence is also returning to Europe. Both the Euro Area 16 (+7 pts to 94) and Europe as a whole (+5 pts to 92) saw confidence climb, led by improving sentiment around financial conditions. Decreasing COVID-19 cases and accelerating vaccination rates across most of Europe contributed to the improved outlook from Q1’s low base.
  • Confidence in Asia-Pacific ticked down overall as countries faced diverging COVID situations across the region. While confidence in the Asia-Pacific remained relatively high in Q2 (−3 pts to 115), sharp declines were seen in countries—led by India—that faced unexpectedly severe second (or third) waves of COVID-19. Sentiment in China rose, but other data suggests the level of confidence among Chinese consumers might be overstated given less optimistic reports on employment, retail sales, and household saving.
  • Latin America took a step backwards. Confidence across Latin America fell 6 pts in Q2 to 93, with only Peru recording a positive gain. Amid a strong winter surge in COVID-19 cases, heightened political and economic uncertainty in countries like Colombia and Argentina weighed on consumer sentiment in the region.

Overall, the second quarter of 2021 saw the world’s consumers inch back toward more typical pre-pandemic spending patterns:

  • Spending intentions drove Q2’s confidence gains. Among the three drivers of overall consumer confidence, spending intensions were solely responsible for the uptick in global sentiment. The proportion of respondents reporting that now was a “good” or “excellent” time to buy needed or wanted goods and services edged up, with the improvement most notable in North America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. Meanwhile, perceptions of job prospects and personal finances remained relatively unchanged.
  • Consumers are planning to spend as economies reopen. A year and a half after the start of the pandemic, the majority (56%) of global consumers were still focused on using spare cash for saving. This was followed more distantly by desires to purchase new clothing (37%) and holidays and vacations (33%). The focus on savings indicates remaining caution among consumers. However, the desire to buy clothing and spend on travel also indicates that consumers are looking forward to reduced mobility and travel restrictions.
  • Signs of rising inflation are not hampering spending thus far. Despite rising prices for commodities, food, energy, and a host of goods and select services in reviving economies, only very small percentages of consumers cited inflation as a problem over the next 6 months in areas like food prices (5%), utility bills (2%), or fuel costs (1%). Altogether, just 8% of respondents stated that some form of price increase was their greatest worry—unchanged from Q1 and below the pre-pandemic share of 11%.

 
Fewer consumers believed their country is in a recession—but concerns over health, the economy, and job security remain elevated.

  • A majority (60%) of global consumers still believed their economy was in recession in Q2—down sharply from the peak of 86% reached a year ago. This suggests material improvement in the global economy, again led by rebounds in several major markets, including China, the US, and parts of Emerging Market Asia and Western Europe.
  • Health remained the greatest concern among global consumers—edging up to 23% in Q2 from 22% the previous quarter.
  • The economy (16%) and job security (12%) remain high-priority issues. But concerns in these areas have ticked down compared to Q1 and are down sharply from a year ago.
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Conference Board Employment Trends Index; June 2021

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

The Historically Rapid Job Growth to Continue

NEW YORK, July 6, 2021The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) increased in June, after an increase in May. The index now stands at 109.84, up from 107.70 (an upward revision) in the previous month. The index is now up 28.2 percent year-over-year (i.e., compared to June 2020).

“The very rapid improvement in the Employment Trends Index in June suggests that strong job growth will continue through the summer,” said Gad Levanon, Head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute. “In the coming months, the US labor market is likely to remain very tight. Recruiting and retention will remain extremely difficult, and wage growth will remain very high. Toward the end of 2021, labor shortages are likely to moderate as some of the labor supply constraints ease. But as the number of jobs in the US economy continues to grow at an historically high rate, unemployment may again dip below four percent within the next 12 months. A tight labor market is likely to be the new normal until the next recession.”

June’s increase was driven by positive contributions from seven of eight components. From the largest positive contributor to the smallest, the components were: Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers; Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance; Number of Temporary Employees; Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; Industrial Production; Job Openings; and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales. The only indicator with a negative contribution was 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 the number of jobs is about to occur in the coming months. 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:

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Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index; June 2021

New York, June 29, 2021…The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® improved further in June, following gains in each of the previous four months. The Index now stands at 127.3 (1985=100), up from 120.0 (an upward revision) in May. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—rose from 148.7 to 157.7. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—improved to 107.0, up from 100.9 last month.

“Consumer confidence increased in June and is currently at its highest level since the onset of the pandemic’s first surge in March 2020,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved again, suggesting economic growth has strengthened further in Q2. Consumers’ short-term optimism rebounded, buoyed by expectations that business conditions and their own financial prospects will continue improving in the months ahead. While short-term inflation expectations increased, this had little impact on consumers’ confidence or purchasing intentions. In fact, the proportion of consumers planning to purchase homes, automobiles, and major appliances all rose—a sign that consumer spending will continue to support economic growth in the short-term. Vacation intentions also rose, reflecting a continued increase in spending on services.”

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National new home sales for May; 2021

June 23, 2021 ‐ The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential sales statistics for May 2021:

NEW RESIDENTIAL SALES MAY 2021

New Houses Sold : 769,000 New Houses For Sale : 330,000 Median Sales Price: $374,400

New home Sales Sales of new single‐family houses in May 2021 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 769,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  

This is 5.9 percent (±18.6 percent)* below the revised April rate of 817,000, but is 9.2 percent (±28.7 percent)* above the May 2020 estimate of 704,000.

Sales Price The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2021 was $374,400.  The average sales price was $430,600.

For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply The seasonally‐adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 330,000.  This represents a supply of 5.1 months at the current sales rate.

The June report is scheduled for release on July 26, 2021. 

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Fannie Mae monthly survey of U.S. Housing market; May 2021

FILE PHOTO: Real estate signs advertise new homes for sale in multiple new developments in York County, South Carolina

By Evan Sully

(Reuters) – A record-low percentage of U.S. consumers believe now is a good time to buy a home, with worries about surging prices and a small supply of houses on the market outweighing improved sentiment about their jobs and income, a survey from home financing giant Fannie Mae showed on Monday.

The percentage of consumers who said it is a good time to buy a home declined in May to 35% from 47%, Fannie Mae said in its monthly survey of the U.S. housing market. This reading, the lowest since Fannie Mae began the survey about a decade ago, marked the second straight monthly decline and represented a drop of 18 percentage points since March.

In comparison, the percentage of consumers indicating that now is a bad time to purchase a home increased to 56% from 48% last month.

The data is part of Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), which increased by 1.0 point to 80.0 last month and is up 12.5 points from a year earlier. The index’s record high was 93.8 in August 2019.

“The ‘good time to buy’ component fell further – hitting another all-time survey low – as consumers appear to be acutely aware of higher home prices and the low supply of homes, the two reasons cited most frequently for that particular sentiment,” Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said in a statement.

The improvement of a U.S. economy that had been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic has left a challenging environment for home buyers.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported last Wednesday that its seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 4% from a week prior to the lowest in more than a year.

(Reporting by Evan Sully in Dallas; Editing by Will Dunham)https://s.yimg.com/rq/darla/4-6-0/html/r-sf.html

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Conference Board Employment Trends Index; May 2021

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

Historically rapid job growth expected in the coming months

NEW YORK, June 7, 2021…The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) significantly increased in May, after an increase in April. The index now stands at 107.35, up from 104.31 (a downward revision) in the previous month. The index is currently up 39.4 percent from a year ago.

“In the past three months, the Employment Trends Index grew much faster than any other three-month period in the history of the index prior to the pandemic. This marked acceleration suggests historically strong job growth in the coming months,” said Gad Levanon, Head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute. “Past index data had signaled growing labor shortages, but the most recent data strongly reinforces this trend. Indeed, forty-eight percent of firms reported an inability to fill positions in May’s NFIB survey—an all-time record. Job shortages are likely to be more acute in those states that opened first, less in those that still have restrictions. The labor shortages are causing wage growth to surge. Average hourly earnings in the past two months rose by 7.4 percent (annual rate), which is two to three times the typical growth rate in recent decades. If the current rate of wage growth continues for several more months, it could significantly impact inflation and monetary policy. Toward the end of 2021, labor shortages are likely to ease as some of the labor supply constraints moderate.”

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

The Employment Trends Index is a leading composite index for employment. Turning points in the index indicate that a turning point in the number of jobs is about to occur in the coming months. 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:

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Conference Board survey of employers; 5/21

Survey: US Businesses Face Historic Difficulty Finding Qualified Workers

New York, June 2, 2021…Amid a rapid reopening of the US economy and a huge increase in demand for workers, a new survey from The Conference Board found that businesses are having immense difficulty finding qualified workers. In fact, 80 percent of organizations hiring mostly industry and manual services workers report difficulty finding qualified workers, with 25 percent reporting it is very difficult. This compares to 74 percent before the pandemic, with 4 percent reporting it was very difficult.

The results of the survey suggest human resources departments will face four main challenges in the months ahead: recruiting qualified workers and retaining existing ones; adjusting to a world where a large share of employees work primarily remotely; addressing deteriorating employee well-being; and managing the return to the workplace.

Conducted by The Conference Board in April 2021, more than 230 HR executives, primarily from large US companies, weighed in about COVID-19’s ongoing impact on both the workforce and the workplace. This online survey is a follow up to similar surveys conducted in April and September 2020.

Key findings from the new survey include:

Both attracting and retaining qualified workers is a growing challenge, especially for organizations employing mostly industry and manual services workers.

  • Industry and manual services workers—a hot commodity: 80 percent of organizations hiring mostly industry and manual services workers report it is somewhat or very difficult to find qualified workers, up from 74 percent before the pandemic.Organizations report it is very difficult to find qualified workers at more than six times the rate (4 percent prepandemic vs. 25 percent now).
  • Retaining workers also a challenge: 49 percent of organizations with mostly industry and manual services workers report that it is also somewhat or very difficult to retain workers, up from 30 percent before the pandemic. Among those employing professional and office workers, 28 percent report difficulty retaining workers, up from 23 percent before the pandemic.

“Before the pandemic, industry and manual services workers were high in demand and short in supply. While this changed at the onset of the pandemic, as the economy reopens this trend is resurfacing—and fast,” said Frank Steemers, report co-author and Senior Economist at The Conference Board. “This poses a growing challenge to companies that are looking to attract and retain this cohort of the US workforce. On the flip side, it bodes well for the workers themselves, accelerating wage growth and offering more employment opportunities.”

Expect workplaces to be emptier and more diffused as remote work remains the norm postpandemic.

  • The remote work boom is here to stay: Nearly 40 percent of human capital executives said that they expect a significant number of their employees (40 percent or more) will still work primarily remotely one year after COVID-19 subsides. This figured has doubled since the April 2020 survey, when only 19 percent of respondents expected the same.
  • Prepandemic, most organizations (nearly 75 percent) had fewer than 10 percent of employees who primarily worked remotely.

Increased productivity appears to have come at a significant cost to employee well-being.

  • The tradeoff: Nearly 60 percent of companies reported that productivity increased in their organization over the past year. This is not unqualified good news, however. Higher productivity and increased working hours have taken a toll:
    • 76 percent of respondents said that they had seen an increase in employees identifying as burned out;
    • 72 percent said that more employees had sought mental health support;
    • 60 percent said the number of vacation days used decreased;
    • 55 percent reported a decrease in work-life balance.

“During the pandemic, employees were often working longer hours in crisis conditions. While that may have boosted productivity, that level of performance is most likely unsustainable. Deteriorated levels of employee well-being are also likely related to increased anxiety and stress resulting from multiple factors, such as the global health crisis, the economic crisis, and the lack of childcare,” said Robin Erickson, PhD, report co-author and Principal Researcher at The Conference Board. “As some of these situations are resolved or stabilized and organizations make long-term decisions about a future with more remote work, they will need to continuously monitor their employee experience and holistic well-being.”

As workplaces widely reopen, a “hybrid model”—part in office, part remote—will gain steam.

  • More than 70 percent of surveyed organizations plan to reopen their workplaces in the next six months (May through October). Most of that will take place in the fall, with 50 percent saying that they plan to open back up between August and October.
  • More than 40 percent of respondents expect their organization to sponsor a hybrid workforce where returning will be required for some and voluntary for others.

Media Contact

Joseph.Diblasi@tcb.org

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

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Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index; May 2021

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® Virtually Unchanged as Expectations Soften

NOTE: The May 25, 2021 release of The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®is the first based on survey data collected online. Data has been restated back to January 2021, the effective changeover month; no other data revision was necessary. Click here for a Technical Note with complete details.

New York, May 25, 2021…The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® held steady in May, following a gain in April. The Index now stands at 117.2 (1985=100), down marginally from 117.5 in April. The Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—increased from 131.9 to 144.3. However, the Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—fell to 99.1 in May, down from 107.9 last month. 

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on an online sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Toluna, a technology company that delivers real-time consumer insights and market research through its innovative technology, expertise, and panel of over 36 million consumers. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was May 19.

“After rebounding sharply in recent months, U.S. consumer confidence was essentially unchanged in May,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions improved, suggesting economic growth remains robust in Q2. However, consumers’ short-term optimism retreated, prompted by expectations of decelerating growth and softening labor market conditions in the months ahead. Consumers were also less upbeat this month about their income prospects—a reflection, perhaps, of both rising inflation expectations and a waning of further government support until expanded Child Tax Credit payments begin reaching parents in July. Overall, consumers remain optimistic, and confidence should remain resilient in the short term, as vaccination rates climb, COVID-19 cases decline further, and the economy fully reopens.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved in May. The percentage of consumers claiming business conditions are “good” fell from 19.4 percent to 18.7 percent, but the proportion claiming business conditions are “bad” also declined, from 24.5 percent to 21.8 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market improved. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are “plentiful” climbed from 36.3 percent to 46.8 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 14.7 percent to 12.2 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook waned in May. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months fell from 33.1 percent to 30.3 percent, while the proportion expecting business conditions to worsen rose from 12.1 percent to 14.8 percent. Consumers were also less upbeat about the job market. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead fell from 31.7 percent to 27.2 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs rose from 14.4 percent last month to 17.3 percent in May. Regarding short-term income prospects, 14.5 percent of consumers expect their incomes to increase in the next six months, down from 17.4 percent in April. The proportion expecting their incomes to decrease also fell, from 10.5 percent in April to 9.3 percent in May.

Source: May 2021 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board / Release #8078

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National residential new home sales; April 2021

MONTHLY NEW RESIDENTIAL SALES, APRIL 2021 Release Number: CB21‐79 Notice of Revision:

With this release, seasonally adjusted estimates of housing units sold, housing units for sale, and the months’ supply of new housing have been revised back to January 2016. All revised estimates are available on our website. May 25, 2021 ‐

 The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential sales statistics for April 2021:

NEW RESIDENTIAL SALES APRIL 2021

New Houses Sold1 : 863,000

New Houses For Sale2 : 316,000

Median Sales Price: $372,400

New Home Sales Sales of new single‐family houses in April 2021 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 863,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  

This is 5.9 percent (±11.2 percent)* below the revised March rate of 917,000, but is 48.3 percent (±24.5 percent) above the April 2020 estimate of 582,000.

Sales Price The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2021 was $372,400.  The average sales price was $435,400.

For Sale Inventory and Months’ Supply The seasonally‐adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of April was 316,000.  This represents a supply of 4.4 months at the current sales rate.

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