Weekly Economic Review: April Shows to Be a Soft Month for Consumerism

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/18/15 1:11 PM

Topics: Economy

Labor market conditions data showed job openings fell 2.9% in March but despite the fall-off, workers appear to still be confident in the labor market judging by their willingness to quit. Quit rates rose 0.1% to 2% and the hiring rate held steady at 3.6%.

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March Retail Sales showed signs of a rebounding consumer market, but April data showed little change despite predictions of a 0.2% increase.  Retail sales increased slightly in April but lower gas prices and pent-up demand from a depressed first quarter did not have much impact on consumer spending last month.

Swings in mortgage rates were seen last week with little connection to economic data released. Mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.

Last week in the economy:

  • Mortgage rates (the national average) increased 0.03% (3 basis points).
  • The S&P 500 began the week at 2088, increasing 1.48% and ended the week at 2,119.
  • Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) fell 2.9% to 4.994 million in March from a revised 5.144 million in February.
  • The purchase index of MBA Mortgage Applications fell 0.2% after gains five times out of the last six weeks. Refinancing applications continued to decline, down 6% in the latest week.
  • Retail Sales were unchanged in April despite Econoday expectations for a 0.2% gain.
  • Initial Jobless Claims fell 1,000 to a 264,000 level, which was just below the Econoday consensus estimate.
  • Consumer Sentiment index came in at 88.6, nearly 5 points below Econoday's low-side forecast. Current conditions and expectations are at their lowest readings since October and November 2014.

What's on the economic calendar for the week of May 18, 2015:

Monday: Housing Market Index will be released.
Tuesday: Housing Starts will be updated.
Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Applications, FOMC Minutes, and Retail Sales will be updated.
Thursday: Jobless Claims and Existing Home Sales will be released.
Friday: Consumer Price Index data will be updated.

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