Weekly Economic Review: Consumer Spending Up, Mortgage Rates & Job Openings Soften

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/11/15 1:18 PM

Topics: Economy

Mortgage rates decreased this week following a drop in the price of oil to the lowest level in seven years.  

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Image via freedigitalphotos.net by Hywards

October job openings fell after several months of solid gains. After hitting a recovery peak of 5.668 million in July, October job openings fell to 5.383 million. Total employment job openings also fell 1 tenth, but the hiring rate held steady at 3.6 percent. The quit rate also held steady at a low 1.9 percent, which may indicate little worker confidence in switching jobs.

Consumer spending is an important indicator of the U.S.’s economic output and retail spending showed solid improvement in November after several months of disappointing readings. Retail sales (minus auto sales) increased by 0.4%, which is above expectations.

Last week in the economy:

  • Mortgage rates (the national average) decreased 0.03% (3 basis points).
  • Consumer revolving credit increased minimally in October, up $0.2 billion, for the eighth straight month of gains. It was expected that consumer credit was to rise to $20 billion for the month but the month only reached $16 billion after a record-breaking gain in September. The lack of revolving credit may reflect a lack of borrowing due to strength in the labor market.
  • The purchase index of MBA Mortgage Applications saw a small increase of 0.04% in the December 4 week while the refinance index rose 4 percent. Mortgage applications will likely be volatile following next week’s Fed meeting.
  • Initial Jobless Claims are up in the latest readings to the highest amount since July, possibly pointing to a softening labor market. Initial claims rose 13,000 to 282,000. Continuing jobless claims also saw an unusual increase, a very steep 82,000 for the November 28 week.
  • The Bloomberg Consumer Confidence Index increased 5-tenths higher in the December 6 week to 40.1, only the second increase in the last seven weeks. The personal finances component of this reading continued to fall and is at its lowest reading since August.

What's on the economic calendar for the week of December 14, 2015:

Tuesday: Consumer Price Index, FOMC Meeting Begins, Housing Market Index

Wednesday: Housing Starts, FOMC Meeting Announcement, Fed Chair Press Conference

Thursday: Jobless Claims

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