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Jobless Claims Exceed Estimates, Philly Fed Index Declines, Housing Starts And Permits Fall Sharply: Thursday’s Economic Digest

Posted June 20, 2024 at 9:45 am
Piero Cingari


  • Weekly jobless claims rose slightly to 238,000, above the 235,000 forecast.
  • May housing starts dropped 5.5% to an annual rate of 1.27 million, below expectations. Building permits fell 3.8%, the lowest in four years.

Economic data released Thursday morning revealed slightly higher-than-expected weekly unemployment claims, sharp contractions in housing starts and building permits, and a drop in a business outlook survey within the Philadelphia Federal Reserve District.

Thursday’s Economic Releases: Key Highlights

  • The number of people filing for jobless claims in the U.S. fell by 5,000 to 238,000 in the week ending June 15, slightly exceeding market expectations of 235,000 as tracked by Econoday.
  • The four-week moving average for initial claims, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, increased from 227,250 to 232,750, marking the highest level since September 2023.
  • In May 2024, housing starts saw a significant decline, dropping 5.5% month-over-month to an annualized rate of 1.27 million. This was a decrease from a revised 1.352 million in April and fell short of the 1.37 million forecast. Single-family housing starts decreased by 5.2% to 982,000, while starts for buildings with five or more units were at 278,000.
  • Building permits also dropped by 3.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.386 million in May 2024, down from 1.44 million in April, the lowest level since June 2020 and below the expected 1.45 million.
  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s general activity index fell by 3 points to 1.3 in June, the lowest since January 2024 and below the forecast of 5.2. The current shipments index decreased by 6 points to -7.2, its lowest since December. The new orders index, while still negative, improved from -7.9 in May to -2.2 in June.
  • The employment index rose but remained negative for the eight straight month, indicating a continued overall decline in employment levels.
  • Regarding prices, both price indexes suggested ongoing overall price increases. The prices paid index rose 4 points to 22.5, while the current prices received index soared 7 points to 13.7.
  • Most future activity indicators stayed positive but pointed to less widespread expectations for growth over the next six months.

Market Reactions

Treasury yields witnessed a slight uptick following the releases, with the 10-year yield rising from 4.23% to 4.26%.

The rate-sensitive 2-year yield, meanwhile, held steady at 4.73%.

The greenback held session gains, with the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) up 0.3% for the day.

Futures on major U.S. equity indices traded higher during the premarket trading on Thursday. Contracts on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 were 0.3% and 0.4% higher, respectively, yet they marginally trimmed gains following the data.

Originally Posted June 20, 2024 – Jobless Claims Exceed Estimates, Philly Fed Index Declines, Housing Starts And Permits Fall Sharply: Thursday’s Economic Digest

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