- XE Contributor
First, the good news, at least relatively speaking. In the very forward looking housing report, permits tied for their second best reading since the recession. Only December was higher:
The even less volatile single family permits backed off last month's post-recession high, but only slightly. In addition to February, only December's number was higher:
The relatively bad news was in industrial production. Yes, the overall number was higher, in fact the highest in nearly two years:
But once again it was utilities that caused the volatility. In January and February, the warm winter meant utility production was down. March was actually colder than February in the eastern half of the country, so utility production was up:
When we turn to manufacturing and mining, which have been driving the recent advance, one (mining) stalled out, and the other (manufacturing) turned down significantly:
Bear in mind that, while industrial production tells us where we are now, housing permits tell us where we are likely to be in a year. Permits for the last 4 months have been higher than at any point since the recession, so I expect that the relative weakness in manufacturing industrial production is transitory and should improve as the year progresses.