Weekly Economic Review: Job Openings & Labor Market Conditions Down, Mortgage Rates Increase

Posted by Laine Smith on 7/16/16 8:00 AM

Topics: Economy

Over the last week, investors shifted their focus from bonds to stocks, resulting in the Dow average closing at a record-high on Thursday. Other economic data had little affect on mortgage rates, which ended the week higher.

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The Labor Market Conditions Index for June fell into the negative column for the sixth month straight. At negative 1.9, the index continued to be held back by weak average hourly earnings and the increase in the unemployment rate.

Job openings saw a significant drop in May from April’s 5.845 million (revised) to 5.500 million, according to JOLTS. The decrease caused the job openings rate to decrease by two tenths to plus 3.7 percent, which is the equivalent to the rate in May 2015. Hiring remained unchanged at 3.5 percent. 

Consumerism, though, boomed in the month of June, according to the Retail Sales report. Following a so-so May, retails sales excluding vehicles jumped 0.7 percent. Sector-wise, department stores, sporting goods & hobbies, and building materials & garden equipment all showed increases last month.

Last week in the economy:

  • Mortgage rates (the national average) increased 0.05 percent (5 basis points).
  • Despite another drop in mortgage rates, purchase applications railed to gain traction and saw no change week-to-week. The refinance index of MBA Mortgage Applications increased by 11 percent.
  • Initial Jobless Claims remained unchanged in the July 9 week at 254,000. The 4-week average is down 6,000, which is 10,000 less than the month-ago report.
  • Consumer Sentiment dropped a drastic 4 points to 89.5. The expectations component was the major player this month.

What’s on economic calendar for the week of July 18, 2016:

  • Monday – Housing Market Index
  • Tuesday – Housing Starts
  • Wednesday – MBA Mortgage Applications
  • Thursday – Jobless Claims, Existing Home Sales

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