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Economic Update by P. DUFFY
4Q20 GDP rose 4.0 percent per year, while it fell 3.5 percent for all of 2020
Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 4.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the “advance” estimate released. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 33.4 percent. Real GDP also decreased 3.5 percent in 2020 (from the 2019 annual level to the 2020 annual level), compared with an increase of 2.2 percent in 2019.
December new home sales rebound 1.6 percent, up 15.2 percent year-on-year
Sales of new single-family houses in December 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 842,000, up 1.6 percent from the revised November rate, and up 15.2 percent from December 2019. An estimated 811,000 new homes were sold in 2020, up 18.8 percent above the 2019 figure of 683,000. Months of supply rose to 4.3 months versus 4.2 months in November and 5.3 months in December 2019.
Initial unemployment claims dip 7.3 percent to 847,000
In the week ending January 23, initial unemployment claims were 847,000, a decrease of 67,000, or 7.3 percent, from the previous week’s revised level. Continued claims during the week ending January 16 were 4,771,000, a decrease of 203,000, or 4.1 percent, from the previous week’s revised level. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending January 9 was 18,282,090, an increase of 2,293,495, or 13.4 percent, from the previous week.
December Leading Economic Index rose another 0.3 percent, but growth slowed sharply
The Leading Economic Index®(LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3 percent in December to 109.5, following a 0.7 percent increase in November and a 0.9 percent increase in October. The US LEI’s slowing pace of increase in December suggests that US economic growth continues to moderate in the first quarter of 2021. Improvements in the US LEI were very broad-based among the leading indicators, except for rising initial claims for unemployment insurance and a mixed consumer outlook on business and economic conditions.