Tuesday, July 20, 2004

June 2004 is looking like a real clunker all around.
Home builders took a breather in June, sending housing construction down to its lowest level in just over a year. It was another sign the economy slowed down last month.

The number of housing projects launched by builders clocked in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.80 million units, an 8.5 percent drop from May's level, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
So let's make a June tally for the US economy: manufacturing growth down, services growth way down, employment growth down, retail sales down, real wages flat out down, and now housing starts down, too.

We have to wait until July 30 for the first estimates of second quarter GDP, but in light of this overall picture combined with the #1 and #3 trade deficits of all time in April and May, 2004:II growth can't be any better than it was in 2004:I, i.e. 3.9%. If it is lower, that will be three quarters in a row of slowing economic activity.

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