Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Paper Economy

This chart shows national existing single family home sales since 2005. Existing home sales were up 1.7 percent in August. (SoldAtTheTop)

Home sales climb 1.7 percent in August

By / 09.19.13

Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report for August showing a  increase in sales with total home sales climbing 1.7% since July rising 13.2% above the level seen in August 2012. 

Single family home sales also improved climbing 1.7% from July and rising 12.8% above the level seen in August 2012 while the median selling price increased a notable 14.4% above the level seen a year earlier. 

Inventory of single family homes increased from July to 2.01 million units but still remained 5.6% below the level seen in August 2012 which, along with the sales pace, resulted in a monthly supply of 5.0 months. 

This chart shows the average rates of 15- and 30-year fixed rate mortgages since 2007. Rates have surged nearly 100 basis points since early summer 2013. (SoldAtTheTop)

Mortgage rates climb to 4.68 percent since last week

By Guest blogger / 09.19.13

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) increased 7 basis points to 4.68% since last week while the purchase application volume declined 3% and the refinance application volume declined 20% over the same period. 

Rates appear to be continuing to rise after some settling and following weeks of explosive increases that saw a rise of over 100 basis points seemingly directly correlated with the Feds recent suggestion that they may start to "taper" the GSE and treasury purchases later this year. 

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 loan volumes (click for larger dynamic full-screen version).

This chart shows the percent monthly and annual change in industrial production since 2006. Production has improved sine the recession is still well below the peaks set in 2007. (SoldAtTheTop)

Industrial production climbs in August

By Guest blogger / 09.17.13

Today, the Federal Reserve released their monthly read of industrial production and capacity utilization showing an increase in August with total industrial production climbing 0.41% since July and rising 2.66% above the level seen in August 2012. 

Capacity utilization also improved climbing 0.25% from July and rising 0.83% above the level seen in August 2012 to stand at 77.84% 
It's important to recognize that though the "recovery" is well over two years old, both industrial production and capacity utilization are notably below the peaks set in late 2007. 

Jobless claims dropped by 31,000 to 292,000 claims from 323,000 claims for the prior week. (SoldAtTheTop)

Jobless claims drop to 2007 lows, but figures likely to be revised

By Guest blogger / 09.12.13

Today’s jobless claims report showed notable declines to both initial and continued unemployment claims as seasonally adjusted initial claims dropped below 300K for the first time since mid-2007 though this steep drop appears to have come as a result of under-reporting and is likely to be revised upward next week. 

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment claims dropped by 31,000 to 292,000 claims from 323,000 claims for the prior week while seasonally adjusted “continued” claims declined by 73,000 claims to 2.871 million resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 2.2%. 

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 1.45 million people receiving federal “extended” unemployment benefits. 

Taken together with the latest 2.74 million people that are currently counted as receiving traditional continued unemployment benefits, there are 4.19 million people on state and federal unemployment rolls. 

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

Mortgage rates increase to 4.68 percent

By Guest blogger / 09.11.13

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) increased 7 basis points to 4.68% since last week while the purchase application volume declined 3% and the refinance application volume declined 20% over the same period. 

Rates appear to be continuing to rise after some settling and following weeks of explosive increases that saw a rise of over 100 basis points seemingly directly correlated with the Feds recent suggestion that they may start to "taper" the GSE and treasury purchases later this year. 

This chart shows the monthly and annual change in nonfarm job openings over the past decade. Job openings dropped 5.06 percent in July, but hires rose 2.4 percent. (SoldAtTheTop)

Job openings down 5.06 percent in July

By Guest blogger / 09.11.13

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their latest monthly read of job availability and labor turnover (JOLT) showing that private non-farm job “openings” declined 5.06% since June but remained 2.27% above the level seen in July 2012 while private non-farm job “hires” rose 2.40% from June remaining 3.61% above the level seen in July 2012.

Job “layoffs and discharges” declined 5.19% from June falling 3.85% below the level seen last year while quitting activity increased 3.64% from June remaining 5.16% above the level seen in July 2012. 

It’s important to understand that job “quits” are included as a component of the “separations” data series as “quitting” is a valid means of workers “separating” from employers but their inclusion tends to create an overall procyclical trend in what would otherwise be logically thought of as a countercyclical process (i.e. downturn leads to increase in separations not decrease).

As of late August, commercial paper continues to slump on a monthly basis while still rising 1.59 percent on a year-over-year basis to $1004.10 billion, a level that is still substantially lower than even the worst periods of the last two recessions. (SoldAtTheTop)

Commercial paper decreases in August

By Guest blogger / 09.09.13

The Commercial Paper (CP) market is essentially a private debt market used by corporations as a generally cheaper means of funding typical recurring operations than drawing on a line of bank credit.
Commercial paper, as financial instrument, is by no means a recent innovation and, in fact, you can read about how the CP market was affected by the many historic financial shocks experienced by the U.S. (read Panic on Wall Street: A History of America’s Financial Disasters)

Although the Federal Reserve was able to artificially bring CP rates down significantly since the shocking 615 basis point spread blowout (A2/P2 spread) of late 2008, they have not been successful in preventing an overall contraction in the CP market.
The Federal Reserve calculates and published the total amount of CP outstanding every week and as of late August commercial paper continues to slump on a monthly basis while still rising 1.59% on a year-over-year basis to $1004.10 billion, a level that is still substantially lower than even the worst periods of the last two recessions.

In June, 125,059 individual recipients were added to the food stamps program with the current total increasing 2.34 percent on a year-over-year basis. (SoldAtTheTop)

Food stamp participation continues to rise

By Guest blogger / 09.09.13

As a logical consequence of the prolonged economic downturn, participation in the federal food stamp program is continuing to rise.

The latest data released by the Department of Agriculture indicated that in June, 125,059 individual recipients were added to the food stamps program with the current total increasing 2.34% on a year-over-year basis.

Individuals receiving food stamp benefits increased to 47.76 million which, as a ratio of the overall civilian non-institutional population now stands at a whopping 19.45% of the population.  ( Continue… )

This 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 loan volumes. (SoldAtTheTop)

Mortgage rates dip since last week

By Guest blogger / 09.04.13

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 5 basis points to 4.60% since last week while the purchase application volume declined 0.4% and the refinance application volume increased 2% over the same period. 

Rates appear to be continuing to rise after some settling and following weeks of explosive increases that saw a rise of over 100 basis points seemingly directly correlated with the Feds recent suggestion that they may start to "taper" the GSE and treasury purchases later this year. 

This chart shows the Institute for Supply Management's PMI Composite Index since 1999. Activity rebounded after the Great Recession, but fell again in 2011. (SoldAtTheTop)

ISM: Manufacturing improves in August

By Guest blogger / 09.04.13

Today, the Institute for Supply Management released their latest Report on Business for the manufacturing sector indicating that manufacturing activity improved in August.

At 55.7 the purchasing manager’s composite index (PMI) rose 0.54% since July and climbed 9.86% above the level seen a year earlier giving an indication of improving conditions for manufacturing.

Respondent assessments still appear to be hopeful though overall assessments appear to indicate emerging weakness: 

"Slight improvements in both domestic and international sales." (Fabricated Metal Products)

"Business is slowing down, not sure why — but we may end up below last year's sales levels, whereas we had forecast 6.5 percent growth." (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

"Material prices continue to be favorable; business is steady." (Paper Products)

"Slowing down slightly, but still stronger than last year by 20 percent." (Furniture & Related Products) ( Continue… )

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Editors' picks:

Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!