The economic recovery in the U.S. is finally starting to look real. A roundup of the October economic data released last month shows that most factors are broadly improving. The single, clear exception, however, is housing. The foreclosure problems that banks have on their hands forced that sector to take a step back in October, but most other parts of the economy were clearly headed in the right direction.
Here's our updated qualitative matrix of significant economic indicators (and our usual disclaimers can be found at the end of the post):
As the note says, it's really hard to consider foreclosures this month, since any decline was probably more due to banks freezing their processes rather than fewer defaults.
On a superficial level, October looks a lot like September. Here's how the comparison breaks down:
Around the same number of indicators improved and worsened. Yet, there's one key difference between the two months. Just one industry was responsible for almost all of the poor performance in October: housing. Three of the five worsening variables were related to residential real estate, while the other two were auto sales and durable goods orders. So actually, one interesting observation is that all five worsening indicators were related to big ticket purchases.