The Commerce Department reported on Wednesday that New Home Sales unexpectedly declined in October from September to an annual rate of 563,000, below the 587,000 expected. September was revised lower to 574,000 from 593,000. The decline in October seems to be a temporary setback being that the job market continues to strengthen. The good news is New Home Sales are up 17.8% percent since October 2015. New single-family home sales dropped in the Northeast, Midwest and South in October, while rising nearly 9% in the West. The median sales price rose to $304,500 in October, up from $298,700 a year ago.
The Commerce Department reported that Durable Orders, or goods manufactured to last at least three years, jumped an unexpected 4.8% in October, well above the 1.1% expected. The components within the report were also strong. The manufacturing sector had been weak for the past few years and was the one sector of the economy that has not rebounded. The report could be a turning point for the manufacturing sector, but one set of numbers does not constitute a trend. This good report pretty much solidifies a Fed rate hike next month.
Americans filing for first time unemployment benefits continue to hover near multi-decade lows as the sector continues to signal a robust labor market. The Labor Department reported that Weekly Initial Jobless Claims rose 19,000 to 251,000 in the latest week, which was above the 243,000 expected. Claims have now remained below the 300,000 mark for 90 straight weeks, which is normally associated with a robust job market. The four-week moving average of claims, which strips seasonal abnormalities, fell 2,000 to 251,000.