Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ranking Economic Data

by Bill McBride on 4/27/2014 10:38:00 AM

Here is an update to a list I posted several years ago with my ranking of economic data releases.

These lists are not exhaustive (I'm sure I left a few off), and the rankings are not static. As an example, a few years ago I ranked initial weekly unemployment claims as ‘B List’ data, but now that claims are close to normal levels, I've moved weekly claims down to the 'C List'.  Currently I'm watching measures of household debt a little closer and I've moved up the NY Fed's quarterly "Household Debt and Credit Report" to the C-list.

Note: There has been some research by Wall Street analysts about how "surprises" for many of these indicators impact the stock market. In general the ranking is similar with the employment situation report being #1.

The NAR existing home sales report is difficult to rank.  'For sale' inventory is important - almost "B-List"  - but the headline sales number is more "C-List". 

For each indicator I've included a link to the source and a recent post with graphs (in parenthesis).

Some of the lower ranked data is useful as leading indicators. As an example, the Architecture Billings Index is a leading indicator for investment in commercial real estate. And the NMHC apartment survey leads changes in apartment rents and vacancy rates. Also some of the lower ranked data helps forecast some of the more important data.

Both A-List reports (employment and GDP) will be released this week.

A-List
• BLS: Employment Situation Report, (March Employment Report: 192,000 Jobs, 6.7% Unemployment Rate and Comments on Employment Report)
• BEA: GDP Report (quarterly) (Q4 GDP Revised up to 2.6%)

B-List
• Census: New Home Sales (New Home Sales decline to 384,000 Annual Rate in March)
• Census: Housing Starts (Housing Starts at 946 Thousand Annual Rate in March and A comment on Housing Starts)
• ISM Manufacturing Index (ISM Manufacturing index increased in March to 53.7)
• Census: Retail Sales (Retail Sales increased 1.1% in March)
• BEA: Personal Income and Outlays (Personal Income increased 0.3% in February, Spending increased 0.3%)
• Fed: Industrial Production (Fed: Industrial Production increased 0.7% in March)
• BLS: Core CPI (Key Inflation Measures Shows Slight Increase, but still Low in March)

C-List
• NAR: Existing Home Sales (Existing Home Sales in March: 4.59 million SAAR, Inventory up 3.1% Year-over-year)
• DOL: Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims (Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims at 329,000)
• Manufacturers: Light Vehicle Sales (U.S. Light Vehicle Sales increase to 16.4 million annual rate in March, Highest since 2007)
• Philly Fed: Philly Fed Index (Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey indicated Faster Expansion in April)
• NY Fed Empire State Manufacturing Index (NY Fed: Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates "business activity was flat" in April)
• Chicago ISM: Chicago PMI (Chicago PMI declines to 55.9)
• Census: Durable Goods
• ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (ISM Non-Manufacturing Index increases to 53.1 in March)
• House Prices: Case-Shiller and CoreLogic (CoreLogic: House Prices up 12.2% Year-over-year in February and Comment on House Prices: Graphs, Real Prices, Price-to-Rent Ratio, Cities)
• BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (BLS: Jobs Openings increase to 4.2 million in February)
• Census: Construction Spending (Construction Spending increased slightly in February)
• Census: Trade Balance (Trade Deficit increased in February to $42.3 Billion)
• MBA: Mortgage Delinquency Data (Quarterly) (MBA: Mortgage "Delinquency and Foreclosure Rates Decline to Lowest Level in Six Years" in Q4)
• LPS: Mortgage Delinquency Data (Black Knight: Mortgage delinquency rate in March lowest since October 2007)
• CoreLogic and Zillow: Negative Equity Report and Zillow (quarterly) (CoreLogic: 4 Million Residential Properties Returned to Positive Equity in 2013 and Zillow: Negative Equity declines further in Q4 2013)
• AIA: Architecture Billings Index (AIA: Architecture Billings Index indicated contraction in March)
• NY Fed: Household Debt and Credit Report (Quarterly) (NY Fed: Household Debt increased in Q4, Delinquency Rates Improve)

D-List
• Fed: Household Debt Service and Financial Obligations Ratios (Quarterly) (Fed: Q4 Household Debt Service Ratio near 30 year low)
• Fed: Flow of Funds (Quarterly) (Mortgage Equity Withdrawal Still Negative in Q4)
• Richmond Fed: Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index
• Kansas City Fed: Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index
• Dallas Fed: Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index
• Reis: Office, Mall, Apartment Vacancy Rates (Quarterly) (Reis: Office Vacancy Rate declined slightly in Q1 to 16.8% and Reis: Apartment Vacancy Rate declined to 4.0% in Q1 2014 and Reis: Mall Vacancy Rates unchanged in Q1)
• NMHC Apartment Survey (Quarterly) (NMHC Survey: Apartment Market Conditions Softer in Q4)
• Reuters / Univ. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (Final April Consumer Sentiment at 84.1)
• MBA: Mortgage Purchase Applications Index (MBA: Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey)
• NAHB: Housing Market Index (NAHB: Builder Confidence increased slightly in April to 47)
• Census: Housing Vacancy Survey (Quarterly) (HVS: Q4 2013 Homeownership and Vacancy Rates)
• Fed: Senior Loan Officer Survey (Quarterly) (Fed Survey: Banks eased lending standards, Experienced increased demand)
• ATA: Trucking (ATA Trucking Index increased in February)
• NFIB: Small Business Survey (NFIB: Small Business Optimism Index increases in March)
• STR: Hotel Occupancy (Hotels: Occupancy Rate, RevPAR decrease in latest weekly survey)
• NRA: Restaurant Performance Index
• Fed: Consumer Credit
• DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven (DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven decreased 0.8% year-over-year in February)
LA and Long Beach Port Traffic: LA area Port Traffic: Up year-over-year in March, Exports at New High)
• BLS: Producer Price Index
• ADP Employment Report
• Conference Board Confidence Index
• NAR: Pending Home Sales

Sources (Government):
BEA: Bureau of Economic Analysis
BLS: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Census: Census Bureau
DOL: Dept of Labor
DOT: Dept. of Transportation
Fed: Federal Reserve

Sources (Industry):

AIA: American Institute of Architects
ISM: Institute for Supply Management
LPS: Black Knight
MBA: Mortgage Bankers Association
NAHB: National Association of Homebuilders
NAR: National Association of Realtors
NFIB: National Federation of Independent Business
NRA: National Restaurant Association
STR: Smith Travel Research