February 2024

Truist Economic Roundup

Keep up with the latest economic data and headlines from Truist.

Our take

Slowdown in U.S. growth expected, but overall outlook improving

The cumulative impact of higher rates should continue to slow economic growth. However, the U.S. economy remains incredibly resilient as evidenced by the solid consumer spending trends, strong fourth quarter GDP, and now a blowout January jobs report. These results up the chances of a soft-ish landing.

Choose from the tabs below to get the details on economic trends.

Positive

GDP: Increased at an annual rate of 3.3% in the fourth quarter of 2023, exceeding expectations. Consumer spending, government spending, and net exports helped drive the increase.Disclosure 1

Jobs: The unemployment rate held steady in January at 3.7%, while the U.S. economy added 353,000 jobs, much more than was expected.Disclosure 2

Consumer sentiment: Jumped to the highest level since July ’21, while inflation worries subsided thanks to falling gasoline prices.Disclosure 10

Services: The ISM Services Index rose to 53.4 in January, marking 13 straight months of expansion in the services sector.Disclosure 3

Wages: Personal income increased by 0.3% in December as wage growth continues to chug along.Disclosure 1

Stock and bond markets: The 10-year Treasury yield dipped below 4% at the end of January but rebounded back above 4% based on January’s strong jobs report.Disclosure 4 The S&P 500 Index continues to track at record highs, driven mostly by positive earnings reports.Disclosure 5

Negative

Federal funds rate: The Fed left rates unchanged at the January meeting, holding at the 5.25% to 5.50% target range. Fed Chair Jerome Powell stated that while cuts should come in 2024, a March rate cut isn’t likely.Disclosure 6

30-year fixed mortgage rate: Still near the highest level in 23 years. Higher rates hurt housing affordability.Disclosure 7

Inflation: Rose 0.3% in December, higher than anticipated, with Americans paying more for rent and other shelter costs.Disclosure 2

Manufacturing: Improved from recent months but contracted for a 15th month, while the prices paid component rose for the first time in 9 months.Disclosure 3

Neutral

Housing: Existing home sales fell 1% in December with single family down in 22 of 25 months.Disclosure 8 New home sales were up 8%, while prices fell 3%. New housing starts dropped 4.3% in December, while new building permits rose a modest 1.8%.Disclosure 9

New-vehicle affordability: An increase in average transaction prices pushed new-vehicle affordability down slightly in December. However, new-vehicle affordability improved year over year from 2022.Disclosure 11

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