MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Existing home sales rise 6.7 percent in January but down 2.3 percent year-on-year
In January 2022, existing-home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.5 million – an increase of 6.7% from the prior month, with sales up in all regions. Year-on-year, sales were down 2.3%. At the end of December, the inventory of unsold existing homes fell to a new all-time low of 860,000, which is equivalent to 1.6 months of the monthly sales pace, also an all-time low. The median existing-home sales price rose at a stronger pace of 15.4% on a year-over-year basis, to $350,300.
Leading Economic Index edges down in January, but economy still growing
The U.S. Leading Economic Index (LEI) posted a small decline in January, as the Omicron wave, rising prices, and supply chain disruptions took their toll. The index decreased by 0.3 percent in January to 119.6, following a 0.7 percent increase in December and a 0.8 percent increase in November. Despite this month’s decline and a deceleration in the LEI’s six-month growth rate, widespread strengths among the leading indicators still point to continued, albeit slower, economic growth into the spring.
Industrial production increases 1.4 percent in January and 4.1 percent year-on-year
In January, total industrial production increased 1.4 percent. At 103.5 percent of its 2017 average, total industrial production in January was 4.1 percent higher than its year-earlier level and 2.1 percent above its pre-pandemic (February 2020) reading. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 1.0 percentage point in January to 77.6 percent, a rate that is 1.9 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2021) average.