Weekly Economic Review: Mortgage Rates Reach Another Yearly High, Job Openings Slip

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/9/16 10:00 AM

Topics: Economy

This week in economic news mortgage rates continued their climb, job openings declined and daily consumer spending continued to grow in November.

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Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

October job openings dipped 1.7 percent from an upwardly revised September. September was revised to 5.63 million openings and October’s job openings came in at 5.534 million versus a consensus level of 5.5 million, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

Year-over-year, openings are up 2.1 percent while hiring has declined by 2.2 percent. The fact that openings have remained higher than hiring for the past two years indicates that employers are having difficulty finding the right candidates to fill positions. The quit rate remained at 2.1 percent in October. This component is an indicator of how confident people are to quit their jobs and finding a new one quickly.

Consumerism continues to pick up steam, according to the Gallup US Consumer Spending Measure. In November, Americans’ daily self-reports of spending averaged $98, up from $93 in October. The average a year ago was $92 and November 2016 is the highest average daily spending amount of any November since Gallup started tracking in 2008.

This week in the economy:

  • The 30-year fixed-rate average climbed 5 basis points this week to 4.13%, hitting a new high level for 2016, according to Freddie Mac.
  • In the December 7 week purchase applications managed to increased 0.4 percent despite rising mortgage rates according to MBA Mortgage Applications. Refinancing activity continues to soften, declining 1 percent following more significant drops in prior weeks. Purchase applications remain 3 percent higher than a year ago.
  • After a sharp jump of 17,000 the week prior, the week of December 3’s initial jobless claims fell back 10,000. This marks the 5th straight week of double-digit swings. Overall, jobless claims remain very low at 258,000.
  • The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index increased slightly in the December 4 week, up 0.2 to 45.1.

What’s on economic calendar for the week of December 12, 2016:

  • Tuesday – FOMC Meeting Begins
  • Wednesday – MBA Mortgage Applications, FOMC Meeting Announcement, Retail Sales
  • Thursday – Jobless Claims, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, Consumer Price Index, Housing Market Index
  • Friday – Housing Starts

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