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The NKBA Introduces Economic Indicators Dashboard

Sep 4, 2015

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is introducing a new report. The brief table or dashboard highlights several key economic drivers, specifically eight variables, which capture diverse aspects of the kitchen and bath industry.

In addition to the latest value of each indicator, and its change from the previous release, the dashboard displays a triangle in three colors that summarizes visually the recent trends for each of the drivers. Naturally, “green” is a positive signal indicating that the latest value is improving; “yellow,” as it’s common understood denotes caution because the variable maybe changing direction; and “red” indicates that the variable in question is declining, both in its current value and in relation to the recent past.

The NKBA’s plan is to update the dashboard continuously, so users will see in future issues of the most recently issued economic data. Note that all the data, except for “mortgage rate” and “appliance store sales” are seasonally adjusted and are represented at annual rates.

Remodeling Expenditures. This is the amount of money spent on home improvement projects during the month in question. It covers all work done for privately-owned homes (excludes rentals, etc.). The data are in billions of and are issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce, that compiles and releases the data on a monthly basis.

Single Family Starts. It’s the number of single family houses for which construction was started in the given month. The U.S. Department of Commerce compiles and releases the data on a monthly basis.

Existing Home Sales. These data are issued monthly by the National Association of Realtors, and capture the number of existing homes that were sold in the previous month.

Mortgage Rate. We have chosen the rate on 30-year conventional loans that is issued by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (known popularly as Freddie Mac.) Although there are a large number of mortgage instruments available to consumers, this one is still the most commonly used.

Employees in Residential Remodeling. This indicator denotes the number of individuals employed in construction firms that do mostly residential remodeling work.

Building Materials Sales. These data, released monthly by the Department of Commerce, capture the total sales of building materials, regardless of whether consumers or contractors purchased them. However, we should caution that the data naturally includes sales to projects other than residential houses.

Appliance Store Sales. This driver captures the monthly sales of stores that sell mostly household appliances; the data are stated at an annual rate. We should not confuse this driver with total appliance sales, since they are sold by other types of stores such as Home Centers, for instance.

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