Weekly Economic Review: Unemployment Rate Falls

Posted by Laine Smith on 6/3/18 2:38 PM

Topics: Economy

In this week’s economic review, more jobs were added to the economy, home prices slowed their roll, consumer confidence bounced back and mortgage rates fell.


Employment Situation

With May’s net increase of 223,000 non-farm payrolls, the U.S. is experiencing the longest streak of job growth on record. The unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, an 18-year low, according to the Wall Street Journal

Another positive of the report was a slight increase in average hourly earnings, which are now up 2.7 percent year-over-year after holding at 2.6 percent for the last three months.

Home Prices

Home prices took a breather in March, with home values rising at a 6.5 percent annual rate (the same as February’s data), according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index.

On the other hand, the nation’s largest 10 metro markets are seeing home price gains of 6.5 percent (annual) versus 6.4 percent in February.

Consumer Confidence

Consumers were more optimistic about conditions in May after experiencing a slight confidence decline in April. May’s reading was 128 versus 125.6 in April. February’s reading of 130 was the highest in over 18 years, meaning that consumers’ outlooks remain near historically high levels.

Pending Home Sales

Though a decline was expected for April pending home sales, the drop was more than anticipated at minus 1.3 percent. April’s reading is the third lowest level of the past 12 months and is attributed to buyers facing stripped inventory and affordability issues. By region, Midwest pending sales fell the most with a 3.2 percent monthly decline.

This week in the economy:

  • As of May 31st, the 30-year average fixed rate was 4.56% with 0.4 points, according to Freddie Mac.
  • In the week of May 25th, the purchase sector of mortgage applications fell a seasonally adjusted 2 percent. The refinance index also fell by 5 percent from the week prior.
  • In the week of May 26th, initial jobless claims fell 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 221,000.
  • The second estimate for first-quarter GDP was downwardly revised from 2.3 percent to 2.2 percent.

The economic calendar for the week of June 4th, 2018:

  • Tuesday – JOLTS
  • Wednesday – MBA Mortgage Applications
  • Thursday – Jobless Claims, Consumer Credit

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