Weekly Economic Review: December Job Openings Slide to 7-Month Low

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/11/18 9:00 AM

Topics: Economy

In this week’s economic review, the 30-year average mortgage rate continued its upward climb, job openings fell unexpectedly despite strength in the labor market, and consumers are spending increasingly more on credit. 

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Job Opportunity

Job openings slid in December, down 2.8 percent, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Meanwhile the ratio of unemployed persons per job openings held its historically low level of 1.1; during the height of the financial crisis, this ratio peaked at 6.6.

The quit rate is on the rise, up 3.1 percent in the month, signaling confidence amongst workers to switch jobs.

Consumer Credit

Consumers continue to spend on credit, up $18.4 billion in December versus an upwardly revised $31 billion in November. Revolving credit spending has increased 6.0 percent year-over-year since last December.

This week in the economy:

  • As of February 8th, the 30-year average fixed rate climbed 10 basis points to 4.32 percent with 0.6 points, according to Freddie Mac.
  • In the week of February 2nd, the purchase sector of mortgage activity remained unchanged on a seasonally adjusted basis. Refinancing applications rose 1.0 percent from the previous week despite climbing interest rates. Although applications were up, the refinancing share of mortgage activity is down 1.4 percent to the lowest share since July 2017.
  • In the week of February 3rd, initial jobless claims fell to 221,000, marking the fourth straight week of low readings. The decline pushed the 4-week average down to 224,500, a near 45-year low.
  • The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index saw little change from the prior week, down just 0.2 points to 54.4.

The economic calendar for the week of February 12th, 2018:

  • Wednesday – MBA Mortgage Applications, Consumer Price Index, Retail Sales
  • Thursday – Jobless Claims, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, Housing Market Index
  • Friday – Housing Starts, Consumer Sentiment

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