By Bernice Napach
A trio of disappointing economic reports today raises questions about the depth and durability of the U.S. economic recovery. Existing home sales fell 2.6% in March to an annual rate of 4.48 million. March jobless claims fell 2,000 to 386,000 - less than expected - but the four-week moving average for new claims actually rose by 5,500.
The most worrisome sign of a slowing economy may be coming from the manufacturing sector, which had been making a comeback. Just days after the New York Fed reported a slowdown in manufacturing in its region, the Philadelphia Fed reported a similar deceleration today. New manufacturing orders in the Philly region fell to their lowest level since September.
Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight, says "it's too early to tell" if the recovery is in trouble.
"We need more data," he tells Aaron Task in the above video.
Even though the U.S. housing market has been a drag on economic growth, Newport says that housing actually bottomed in 2009. He blames banks' unwillingness to lend as the reason why housing continues to underperform.
Overall "the economy is experiencing a moderate recovery," according to Newport. He doesn't expect any change in policy at next week's FOMC meeting.
"QE3 is still a possibility," Newport says, referring to the Fed's quantitative easing policies, "but it's not something that will be taken up at the next meeting."