Wed, April 24, 2024

Simon Says: Housing market in CSRA takes sharp turn

The Augusta Leading Economic Index (LEI) fell 0.8 percentage points in January from December. It remains 0.4 percentage points higher than January 2023.

The major cause of the decline was an increase in initial claims for unemployment insurance, which were up 36 percent in January. Claims were the highest for January in three years. Inflation in the south also continued to be above the national average at 3.7 percent, reducing the purchasing power of consumers. Job openings edged down about one percentage point and are now at the lowest level since December 2020.

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On the brighter side, residential housing permits increased by 50 percent. Hopefully, this will help employment in the construction sector which I reported last week is at the lowest level for 10 years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average continued its climb from the end of 2023.

Overall, the LEI contains mixed fortunes for Augusta in the first part of 2024.

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