In this week’s economic review, the average fixed mortgage rate held relatively steady, job openings and hiring declined, and consumer prices and sentiment slipped.
Job Openings and Labor Turnover
Job openings fell declined 2.8 percent in February to 6.052 million but still hold a strong lead over hirings, which declined 1.2 percent to 5.507 million. Year-over-year job openings are up 7.7 versus 4.6 percent for hirings. The gap between openings and hirings is 0.545 million, which hints at full employment.
The preliminary index shows consumer sentiment slipped this month after rising to its highest level in 14 years in March. The preliminary reading was 97.8 after March’s reading of 101.4.
By component, expectations fell 1.2 percent and current conditions saw a drastic drop from a level of 121.2 to 115.0.
Consumer Price Index
The March consumer price index dropped for the first time in 10 months due to a drop in gasoline prices. The index came in with a 0.1 percent decline, which was at low-end consensus levels. The core CPI rate, which excludes food and energy, did meet expectations with a 0.2 percent monthly gain, pushing the year-over-year appreciation up to 2.1 percent.
This week in the economy:
- As of April 12th, the 30-year average fixed rate was 4.42% with 0.4 points, according to Freddie Mac.
- In the week of April 6, the purchase sector of mortgage applications fell a seasonally adjusted 2 percent, dropping the year-over-year into negative territory at minus 0.5 percent. Refinance applications fell 2 percent in the week with the refinance share of mortgage activity falling to 38.4 percent, the lowest share level since September 2008.
- In the week of April 7th, initial jobless claims fell 9,000 after jumping 24,000 in the prior week. The 4-week level of 230,000 is trending approximately 10,000 above the month-ago comparison.
- The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index jumped 8 tenths to a level of 58.0, marking a new 17-year high.
The economic calendar for the week of April 16th, 2018:
- Monday – Housing Market Index, Retail Sales
- Tuesday – Housing Starts
- Wednesday – MBA Mortgage Applications
- Thursday – Jobless Claims, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
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