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Paper Economy

Payrolls increased by just 88,000 jobs overall in March, according to the latest Employment Situation Report. Unemployment declined to 7.6 percent. (SoldAtTheTop)

Hiring slows as economy adds only 88,000 jobs in March

By Guest blogger / 04.05.13

Today’s Employment Situation Report indicated that in March, net non-farm payrolls increased just 88,000 jobs overall with the private non-farm payrolls sub-component adding just 95,000 jobs while the civilian unemployment rate declined to 7.6% over the same period.

Net private sector jobs increased 0.08% since last month climbing 1.78% above the level seen a year ago but remained 2.02% below the peak level of employment seen in December 2007.

The latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that average mortgage rates declined 3 basis points to 3.62 percent since last week. (SoldAtTheTop)

Mortgage rates drop to 3.62 percent

By Guest blogger / 04.03.13

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) declined 3 basis points to 3.62% since last week while the purchase application volume increased 1% and the refinance application volume declined 6% over the same period. 

The latest National Employment Report indicates that the situation for private employment in the US improved in March as private employers added 158,000 jobs. (SoldAtTheTop)

ADP: Private employers add 158,000 jobs in March

By Guest blogger / 04.03.13

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 March as private employers added 158,000 jobs in the month bringing the total employment level 1.66% above the level seen in March 2012. 

Perusing the rest of the data in the ADP dataset you can see the the economy is currently showing the most growth for small to mid-sized service providing jobs with goods-producing jobs remaining near trough levels. 

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

Construction spending increased 2.17 percent from January 2013, according to the latest data from the US Census Bureau. (SoldAtTheTop)

Construction spending increases in February

By Guest blogger / 04.02.13

Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau released their latest read of construction spending showing improvement in February with total construction spending, residential and non-residential construction spending increasing on the month. 

On a month-to-month basis, total residential spending increased 2.17% from January climbing 20.08% above the level seen in February 2012 while still remaining a whopping 55.15% below the peak level seen in 2006.

Single family construction spending climbed a notable 4.27% since January rising 34.14% since February 2012 but remained a whopping 66.40% below it's peak in 2006.

Non-residential construction spending increased 0.44% since January and rose 6.08% above the level seen in February 2012 and remained a whopping 27.37% below the peak level reached in October 2008.

Total continued claims keep falling, despite ups and downs in the weekly data. (SoldAtTheTop)

Jobless claims rise. More than 5 million on unemployment rolls.

By Guest blogger / 03.28.13

Today’s jobless claims report showed a notable increase to initial unemployment claims and a decline to continued unemployment claims as initial claims trended well below the closely watched 400K level. 

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment claims increased by 16,000 to 357,000 claims from 341,000 claims for the prior week while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims declined by 27,000 claims to 3.050 million resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 2.4%. 

Since the middle of 2008 though, two federal government sponsored “extended” unemployment benefit programs (the “extended benefits” and “EUC 2008” from recent legislation) have been picking up claimants that have fallen off of the traditional unemployment benefits rolls. 

Currently there are some 1.90 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits. 

Taken together with the latest 3.46 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 5.36 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls. 

The National Association of Realtors released their Pending Home Sales Report for February showing that pending home sales declined with the seasonally adjusted national index dropping 0.4 percent from January 2013. (SoldAtTheTop)

Pending home sales decline in February

By Guest blogger / 03.27.13

Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Pending Home Sales Report for February showing that pending home sales declined with the seasonally adjusted national index dropping 0.4% from January but increasing 8.4% above the level seen in February 2012. 

Meanwhile, the NARs chief economist Lawrence Yun suggests that new home inventory is needed in order to relieve the current "shortage" :

"Only new home construction can genuinely help relieve the inventory shortage, and housing starts need to rise at least 50 percent from current levels, ... Most local home builders are small businesses and simply don't have access to capital on Wall Street. Clearer regulatory rules, applied to construction loans for smaller community banks and credit unions, could bring many small-sized builders back into the market."

Tuesday's New Residential Home Sales Report for February 2013 showed a notable monthly decline with sales falling 4.6 percent from January. (SoldAtTheTop)

Home sales slip 4.6 percent in February

By Guest blogger / 03.27.13

Yesterday, the U.S. Census Department released its monthly New Residential Home Sales Report for February showing a notable monthly decline with sales falling 4.6% from January but rising 12.3% above the level seen in February 2012 but still remaining at an historically low level of 411K SAAR units. 

It's important to recognize that the inventory of new homes appears to be mounting as unsold units totaled 152K, still though near the lowest level seen in in at least 47 years while the median number of months for sale rose to 5.0. 

The monthly supply increased to 4.4 months while the median selling price increased 2.88% and the average selling price increased 14.49% from the year ago level. 

Home prices rose a slight 0.16 percent in January 2013, according to the latest home prices data from S&P/Case-Shiller. (SoldAtTheTop)

Case-Shiller: Home prices up slightly in January

By Guest blogger / 03.26.13

Today's release of the S&P/Case-Shiller (CSI) home price indices for January reported that the non-seasonally adjusted Composite-10 price index increased again rising a slight 0.16% since December while the Composite-20 index increased 0.13% over the same period. 

The latest CSI data is beginning to demonstrate more resiliency than seen in recent years as prices continue to move up, even just slightly, in the face of typical lower seasonal transactions. 

If this trend continues, rather than declining as has been seen in past years, prices may just remain flat into the February-March release in advance of the typical uplift from the more active spring transactions.

The 10-city composite index increased 7.25% as compared to January 2012 while the 20-city composite increased 8.08% over the same period.   ( Continue… )

The latest jobless claims report shows an increase of 2,000 to 336,000 jobless claims from 334,000 claims for the prior week. (SoldAtTheTop)

Jobless claims rise to 336,000

By Guest blogger / 03.21.13

Today’s jobless claims report showed a increases to both initial and continued unemployment claims as initial claims trended well below the closely watched 400K level. 

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment claims increased by 2,000 to 336,000 claims from 334,000 claims for the prior week while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims increased by 5,000 claims to 3.053 million resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 2.4%. 

Since the middle of 2008 though, two federal government sponsored “extended” unemployment benefit programs (the “extended benefits” and “EUC 2008” from recent legislation) have been picking up claimants that have fallen off of the traditional unemployment benefits rolls. 

Currently there are some 1.78 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits. 

Taken together with the latest 3.04 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 4.82 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls. 

The latest mortgage rates data from the Mortgage Bankers Association is showing that mortgage rates went flat at 3.67 percent since last week. (SoldAtTheTop)

MBA: Mortgage rates stay flat at 3.67 percent

By Guest blogger / 03.20.13

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) went flat at 3.67% since last week while the purchase application volume declined 4% and the refinance application volume declined 8% over the same period. 

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