October 24, 2011
The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in September jumped 15% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 658,000 units. Single-family starts increased 1.7%. Multifamily starts rose 53%. Applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, fell 5% to an annual rate of 594,000 units.
Industrial production at the nation's factories, mines and utilities rose 0.2% in September. Compared to a year ago, industrial production is up 3.2%. Capacity utilization rose to 77.4% in September from a revised 77.3% in August.
The producer price index, which tracks wholesale price inflation, rose 0.8% in September after a flat reading in August. For the year, seasonally adjusted wholesale prices are up 6.9%. Core prices — excluding food and fuel — rose 0.2% in September.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo monthly housing market index rose four points in October to 18. The reading was the highest level since April 2010. An index reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market.
Existing home sales fell 3% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.91 million units from an upwardly revised 5.06 million units in August. The inventory of unsold homes on the market decreased to 3.48 million, an 8.5-month supply at the current sales pace, up from an 8.4-month supply in August.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 to 403,000 for the week ending October 15. Continuing claims for the week ending October 8 rose by 25,000 to 3.7 million.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing price index on October 25, new home sales on October 26 and pending home sales on October 27.