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Paper Economy

This chart shows the number of Americans unemployed 27 weeks or more since 2000. the number of long-term unemployed has dropped since peaking in 2010, but remains high by historic standards. (SoldAtTheTop)

Situation for long-term unemployed improving

By Guest blogger / 04.07.14

Today's employment situation report showed that conditions for the long term unemployed improved in February while still remaining distressed by historic standards.

Workers unemployed 27 weeks or more declined to 3.739 million or 35.8% of all unemployed workers while the median term of unemployment declined to 16.3 weeks and the average stay on unemployment went declined to 35.6 weeks.

Looking at the charts below (click for super interactive versions) you can see that today’s sorry situation far exceeds even the conditions seen during the double-dip recessionary period of the early 1980s, long considered by economists to be the worst period of unemployment since the Great Depression.

This chart shows the average interest rates for 15- and 30-year fixed mortgages over the past five years. Rates surged in 2013 from historic lows. (SoldAtTheTop)

Mortgage rates climb to 4.41 percent

By Guest blogger / 04.04.14

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications. 

The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases. 

The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (from FHA and conforming GSE data) increased 2 basis points to 4.41% since last week while the purchase application volume increased 1% and the refinance application volume declined 3% over the same period. 

The following chart shows the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages since 2006 as well as the purchase, refinance and composite.

This chart shows the rate of single new family home sales over the past decade. New home sales fell 3.3 percent in February. (SoldAtTheTop)

New home sales fall in February

By Guest blogger / 03.25.14

Today, the U.S. Census Department released its monthly New Residential Home Sales Report for February showing a notable decline with sales falling 3.3% from January dropping 1.1% below the level seen in February 2013 and remaining at an historically low level of 440K SAAR units. 

The monthly supply increased to 5.2 months while the median selling price declined 1.24% and the average selling price increased 1.60% from the year ago level. 

The following chart show the extent of sales decline to date (click for full-larger version). 

February showed weak sales with total home sales falling 0.4% since January dropping 7.1% below the level seen in February 2013. (SoldAtTheTop)

Existing home sales report: Weak home sales in February

By / 03.20.14

Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report for February showing weak sales with total home sales falling 0.4% since January dropping 7.1% below the level seen in February 2013.

Single family home sales also weakened dropping 0.2% from January falling a notable 6.9% below the level seen in February 2013 while the median selling price increased 9.0% above the level seen a year earlier.

Inventory of single family homes increased from January to 1.73 million units and climbed 4.8% above the level seen in February 2013 which, along with the sales pace, resulted in a monthly supply of 5.1 months.

The following charts (click for full-screen dynamic version) shows national existing single family home sales, median home prices, inventory and months of supply since 2005.

According to the Chicago Fed, its national activity index decreased to -0.39 in January from -0.03 in December. (SoldAtTheTop)

Chicago Fed: National economic activity slowed in January

By Guest blogger / 02.26.14

The latest release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) indicated that the national economic activity worsened in January with the index falling to a very weak level of -0.39 from a level of -0.03 in December while the three month moving average declined to a level of -0.10.

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity collected into four overall categories of “production and income”, “employment, unemployment and income”, “personal consumption and housing” and “sales, orders and inventories”. ( Continue… )

This chart shows the rate of existing single family home sales over the past six years. After two years of steady growth, home sales fell in the latter half of 2013 and into January. (SoldAtTheTop)

Existing home sales plunge in January

By Guest blogger / 02.24.14

On Friday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report for January showing plunging sales with total home sales falling 5.1% since December and falling 5.1% below the level seen in January 2013. 

Single family home sales also crashed dropping 5.8% from December falling a notable 6% below the level seen in January 2013 while the median selling price increased 10.4% above the level seen a year earlier. 

Inventory of single family homes increased from December to 1.69 million units and climbed 7% above the level seen in January 2013 which, along with the sales pace, resulted in a monthly supply of 5.0 months.

 
The following charts (click for full-screen dynamic version) shows national existing single family home sales, median home prices, inventory and months of supply since 2005. 

This chart shows the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages since 2006. (SoldAtTheTop)

Survey: Average 30-year mortgage rate rises to 4.37 percent

By Guest blogger / 02.19.14

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications.

The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases. ( Continue… )

According to the US Census, January retail sales rose an estimated 2.6 percent over the same period in 2013. The agency also noted that between December 2013 and January 2014, there was an estimated .4 percent drop in retail sales. (SoldAtTheTop)

Census: Estimated year-to-year retail sales up by 2.6 percent

By Guest blogger / 02.14.14

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released its latest nominal read of retail sales for January showing a decrease of 0.4 percent from December, and a gain of 2.6 percent on a year-over-year basis on an aggregate of all items including food, fuel and healthcare services.
 
Nominal "discretionary" retail sales including home furnishings, home garden and building materials, consumer electronics and department store sales climbed slightly, rising 0.02 percent from December but declining 1.06% below the level seen in January 2013 while, adjusting for inflation, “real” discretionary retail sales declined 0.28 percent on the month and falling 2.77 percent since January 2013.

On a “nominal” basis, there had appeared to be “rough correlation” between strong home value appreciation and strong retail spending preceding the housing bust and an even stronger correlation when home values started to decline. ( Continue… )

This chart shows the number of civilians unemployed 27 weeks or longer since 2000. Teh long-term unemployment situation improved in January but remained high by historical standards. (SoldAtTheTop)

Long-term unemployment falls

By Guest blogger / 02.09.14

The latest employment situation report showed that conditions for the long term unemployed improved in January while still remaining distressed by historic standards.

Workers unemployed 27 weeks or more declined to 3.646 million or 35.8% of all unemployed workers while the median term of unemployment declined increased to 16.0 weeks and the average stay on unemployment went flat at 35.4 weeks.

Looking at the charts below (click for super interactive versions) you can see that today’s sorry situation far exceeds even the conditions seen during the double-dip recessionary period of the early 1980s, long considered by economists to be the worst period of unemployment since the Great Depression.

While the total employment reported in January is part of an overall increase in jobs since 2010, the economy still hasn't recovered all the jobs lost during the Great Recession. (SoldAtTheTop)

ADP: Private employers added 175,000 new jobs in January

By Guest blogger / 02.05.14

Today, private staffing and business services firm ADP released the latest installment of their National Employment Report indicating that the situation for private employment in the U.S. improved in January as private employers added 175,000 jobs in the month bringing the total employment level 1.95% above the level seen in January 2013.

 
Look for Friday’s (possibly postponed) BLS Employment Situation Report to likely show somewhat similar trends.

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