Housing starts increased by their largest monthly gain since June of 2016, with a month over month change of 17.3%. Of course, the recovery comes off the heels of a great decline due to the economic halt of covid-19. On a year over year basis, housing starts are down 4.0%. Interestingly, permits for multi-unit structures fell by 13.4% month over month while permits for single-family homes grew by 11.8% during the same time frame. The spread could be signaling a future trend in builders shifting their focus of consumer demand for more space in the face of ongoing lockdowns.
Retail sales continued to make their come back from the lows of April, with a rise of 7.5% in June. Excluding autos, sales rose to a tune of 7.3% during June. Of the thirteen major categories reported by the Commerce Department, ten had gained for June, and those that showed month over month declines were categories that excelled during the pandemic such as non-store retailers (e-commerce), which is up 23.5% versus last year but down 2.4% month over month.
Inflation has begun to creep back into positive territory, as the consumer price index followed three months of reduction with a 0.6% rise in June, the highest monthly rise since 2009. Consumer prices on an annual rate have also increased by 0.6% while core prices are up 1.2%.
Seasonally adjusted weekly initial jobless claims for the week ending July 11 decreased by 10,000 from the week before with a total number of 1.3 million. The four-week average declined by 60,000 to 1.375 million, a number that is historic in its height yet past the peak felt in late April. The highest unemployment rates continue to hold in traditionally trafficked tourist locations, with Puerto Rico, Nevada, and Hawaii holding the top three spots.