Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Continue to Fall, Labor Market Improving

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/9/16 8:00 AM

Topics: Economy

Mortgage rates continued their descent over the past week, with the national average falling 0.2% to the lowest level since February 2015, according to Freddie Mac.

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Image courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The February Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed the job market is expanding and improving. The hiring rate rose two tenths to 3.8 percent with the voluntary quit rate up one tenth to 2.1 percent. Layoffs remained steady at an unchanged 2.1 percent. Job opening, though, were down in February’s report, slipping one tenth to 3.7 percent.

The Fed Reserve’s March meeting minutes were released Wednesday, confirming that they will continue to take a gradual approach in raising the federal funds rate. According to the Wall Street Journal, the minutes signaled a rate hike in April as “unlikely”.

Last week in the economy:

  • Mortgage rates (the national average) fell 0.2% (2 basis points).
  • The purchase sector of MBA Mortgage Applications declined 2 percent in the April 1 week but refinancing increased by 7 percent following declines in mortgage rates. Year-over-year, purchase applications are up 11 percent.
  • Initial Jobless Claims are holding near record lows as initial claims fell 9,000 in the April 2 week to 267,000.
  • While employment has been strong, it is not reflecting in the Federal Reserve’s Labor Market Conditions Index, which came in at a minus 2.1 for the month of March, following February’s revised -2.4.
  • Despite slower wage growth and declines in consumer spending, consumer confidence measured at a firm 42.6 level, though the index dropped 2-tenths in the April 3 week.

What's on the economic calendar for the week of April 11, 2016:

Tuesday: Import & Export Prices

Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Applications, Retail Sales

Thursday: Jobless Claims, Consumer Price Index, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index

Friday: Consumer Sentiment

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