Weekly Economic Review: Unemployment Rate at Lowest Level Since 2008

Posted by Laine Smith on 5/11/15 11:15 AM

Topics: Economy

Employment situation data was released on Friday, showing a revised consensus of March job gains from 126,000 to 85,000. Despite the weaker figures, the economy has added an average of nearly 200,000 jobs per month so far in 2015.

Economic_Update_5-11-15

The unemployment rate has declined to 5.4% in April, down from 5.6% in December. This is the lowest unemployment level since May 2008.

Average hourly earnings data was lower than expected, up only 2.2% from this time a year ago and up 0.1% from last month. The Fed's generally stated inflation goal is 2 percent.  Job growth coupled with low wage gains adds little pressure for the Fed to move up the timing of the first federal funds rate hike.

Last week in the economy:

  • Mortgage rates (the national average) decreased 0.02% (2 basis points).
  • The purchase index of MBA Mortgage Applications gained momentum with a 1% increase in the first week of May. This was its 5th gain of the last 6 weeks. Refinancing demand fell 8%.
  • Initial Jobless Claims fell 4,250 to 279,500.

What's on the economic calendar for the week of May 11, 2015:

Tuesday: JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey) will be released.

Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Applications and Retail Sales will be updated.

Thursday: Jobless Claims will be released.

Friday: Consumer Sentiment will be updated.

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