This is really the story of the American economy right now.
Manufacturing is getting creamed, thanks to the global slowdown.
Housing is on the rebound, as evidenced by today’s 2.3% jump in housing starts and 7.8% jump in existing home sales.
The question of whether the US goes back into recession revolves around this issue, of whether the housing comeback (which produces a lot of jobs in its own right, and a “wealth effect”) can counteract the global weakness and the hit to manufacturing.
Kit Juckes of SocGen summed it all up:
The US housing data confirm gradual re-hab, just as the Empire State manufacturing data and the UK BOE agents comments confirm the deepening global manufacturing recession. The contrast is pretty striking. We are spending all our money on things whose value is helped by QE (and on iPhones, of course).
The chart below shows the year over year change in housing starts (red), the PMI Manufacturing index (blue), and manufacturers’ durable goods orders (green)
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