Stats: Housing starts, jobs on the rise in early summer

The unemployment rate changed little at 4.0%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C.
Housing starts rose 5.7% over March while total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 272,000 in May.

The Census Bureau, Washington, D.C., reported that privately owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,360,000, which is 5.7% above the revised March estimate.  

Permits were down 3% in April.   

“While the start of the year has seen an expansion for single-family home building because of a lack of existing home inventory, home building activity leveled off in April as higher interest rates, tighter lending conditions and lower home building sentiment acted as headwinds on new home construction,” says Carl Harris, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a custom home builder from Wichita, Kansas. “Lower interest rates, particularly for builder and developer loans, will help builders to increase the pace of home construction in the months ahead.” 

On the jobs front, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 272,000 in May, and the unemployment rate changed little at 4.0%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C. 

“On the surface, [the report] was hot, but you’ve also got a bigger drop in household employment,” said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, told CNBC. “For what it’s worth, that tends to be a more accurate signal when you’re at an inflection point in the economy. You can find weakness in the underlying numbers.” 

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