In this week’s economic review, a rise in job openings continued to increase the gap between hirings, consumer prices regained ground, and consumer sentiment surpassed expectations.
The U.S. posted a record 6.6 million job openings at the end of March, the most since the Labor Department started keep track in 2000. Meanwhile, the number of new hires fell by 86,000 to 5.4 million. Though the gap between hirings and openings is nothing new, March’s data points to signs of labor market shortages.
While there are now approximately as many openings as unemployed workers, there is a strong hint of worker confidence amongst the employed. The number of workers quitting their jobs increased in March to the highest since 2001, which shows that employees who choose to leave their jobs are confident in their ability to find new employment quickly.
Consumer Price Index
Consumer prices bounced back in April, but the rebound was less than anticipated. After slipping 0.1 percent in March, the Consumer Price Index rose 0.2 percent in April. The forecasted increase was 0.3 percent but gains in gasoline prices were held back by moderation in healthcare prices.
Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, was up 0.1 percent with a year-over-year increase of 2.1 percent.
This week in the economy:
- As of May 10th, the 30-year average fixed rate was 4.55% with 0.5 points, according to Freddie Mac.
- In the week of May 4th, the purchase sector of mortgage applications fell 0.2 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis from the week prior. The refinance index also fell by 1 percent, down to its lowest level since October 2008.
- In the week of May 5th, initial jobless claims remained unchanged at 211,000 with the rate of layoffs at a 49-year low.
- The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell 0.7 points in the week of May 10th, down to a level of 55.8.
- May’s consumer sentiment report was slightly above expectations with a preliminary reading of 98.8.
The economic calendar for the week of May 14th, 2018:
- Tuesday – Retail Sales, Housing Market Index
- Wednesday – MBA Mortgage Applications, Housing Starts
- Thursday – Jobless Claims, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
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