MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
CPI up 0.6 percent in January and 7.5 percent year-on-year
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6 percent in January (the same as in December), and was up 7.5 percent year-on-year, the largest increase since December 1982. The ‘core’ index minus food and energy costs also rose 0.6 percent in January, and was up 6.0 percent year-on-year, the largest increase since August 1982. The energy index rose 27.0 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 7.0 percent.
Initial unemployment claims dip to 223,000
In the week ending February 5, initial unemployment claims were 223,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week’s revised level. Continued claims during the week ending January 29 were 1,621,000, unchanged from the previous week’s revised level. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending January 22 was 2,099,857, an increase of 32,069 from the previous week.
Soaring construction costs pushes home affordability down to 10-year low
Supply-chain bottlenecks that put upward pressure on home prices along with rising interest rates contributed to housing affordability falling to a 10-year low. Just 54.2% of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $79,900. This is down from the 56.6% of homes sold in the third quarter of 2021 and is the lowest affordability level recorded since the beginning of the revised series in the first quarter of 2012.