Please enjoy this quick update on what happened this week in the housing and financial markets.
In a relatively light week for economic data, the biggest market moving news seemed to come from international events. Greece, which has long been struggling financially and has been making plans to remove itself from the Eurozone currency, has seemed to relent on that plan for the time being.
The international community has been doing everything possible to place tremendous pressure on Greece to stop their plan. With Greece last week missing a payment due to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) it appears that Greece has finally recognized that attempting to go on its own currency would be devastating to not only to their own economy, but possibly impacting the world economy as well.
Last week the labor department reported that the economy added 280,000 new jobs which is 60,000 more than most analyst’s expectations. The national unemployment rate rose by 1/10th up to 5.5 percent for the month of May. At first glance the increase would be considered negative, however the reason for the increase is a significant inflow of people attempting to re-enter the workforce. In the past increases in unemployment were due to people losing their jobs. In this case it appears that workers are believing stronger in employment opportunities and once again attempting to start working again.
Last week’s much stronger than expected employment report was bolstered once again by this past Tuesday’s JOLTS data. (The JOLTS data measures job openings) The JOLTS Report released for April showed a very large jump in available job openings rising from 5.109 million all the way up to 5.376 million. This is the highest number of job openings since the data started being tracked in 2000. The current level is 22 percent higher than the same time last year.
The recent rise in mortgage rates over the last few weeks has certainly taken its toll on reducing mortgage applications. However, last week, with a slight drop in rates, applications for purchases and refinances both jumped. Applications for purchases, after having declined 3.0 percent in the prior week, increased 10.0 percent according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Refinances also leaped 7.0 percent after plummeting 12.0 percent in the prior week.
In other news, consumers finally started showing signs of returning to the stores with the retail sales data indicating an increase of 1.2 percent for the month of May. This positive report comes after most of the year sales reports have been for the most part stagnant.
Lastly, first time jobless claims continue to run at very healthy economic level. Claims for the week ending June 6th were at 279,000. This is only slightly higher than the prior week’s 277,000. Claims below 300,000 are considered a very healthy indication for the labor force.
- Next week’s potential market moving reports:
Monday June 15th – Industrial Production
Tuesday June 16th – Housing Starts
Wednesday June 17th – MBA Applications, FOMC Announcement & FOMC Forecasts
Thursday June 18th – First Time Jobless Claims & Consumer Price Index