Thursday, February 26, 2015

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Initial and Continued February 26 2015

Today’s jobless claims report showed a notable increase to initial unemployment claims and a decrease to insured unemployment claims as seasonally adjusted initial claims remained above the 300K level.

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment claims jumped 31,000 to 313,000 claims while seasonally adjusted “insured” claims declined by 21,000 to 2.401 million resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 1.8%.


FHFA Monthly Home Prices: December 2014

Today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released the latest results of their monthly house price index (HPI) showing that in December, nationally, home prices increased 0.81% from November rising 5.45% above the level seen in December 2013.

The FHFA monthly HPI are formulated from home purchase information collected from mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Residential Construction Report: January 2015

Today’s New Residential Construction Report showed worsening results with total and single family permit activity declining since December while total starts also declined 2.0% over the same period.

Single family housing permits, the most leading of indicators, declined 3.1% from December to 654K single family units (SAAR), and rose 5.8% above the level seen in January 2014 but still remained well below levels seen at the peak in September 2005.


Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey – February 18 2015

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 4 basis points to 3.86% since last week while the purchase application volume declined 7% and the refinance application volume declined a notable 16% 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 loan volumes (click for larger dynamic full-screen version).




Tuesday, February 17, 2015

NAHB/Wells Fargo Home Builder Sentiment: February 2015

Today, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released their latest Housing Market Index (HMI) showing that overall assessments of housing activity declined in February with the composite HMI index falling to 55 while the "buyer traffic" index declined to a level of 39 from 44 in the prior month.

Overall, conditions for new home construction appear to have softened some recently and still remain below the peak assessments see prior to the Great Recession.




Thursday, February 12, 2015

Retail Sales: January 2015

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released its latest nominal read of retail sales showing declining activity in January with sales falling 0.8% from December but rising 3.3% 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 also slowed, falling 0.23% from December but still rising 4.97% above the level seen in January 2014 while, adjusting for inflation, “real” discretionary retail sales also decreased 0.23% on the month and rose 4.43% since January 2014.





Weekly Unemployment Claims: Initial and Continued February 12 2015

Today’s jobless claims report showed a notable increase to initial unemployment claims and a decrease to insured unemployment claims as seasonally adjusted initial claims jumped above the 300K level.

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment claims jumped 25,000 to 304,000 claims while seasonally adjusted “insured” claims declined by 51,000 to 2.354 million resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 1.8%.


Friday, February 06, 2015

Employment Situation: Nonfarm Payrolls and Civilian Unemployment January 2015

Today's Employment Situation Report indicated that in January, net non-farm payrolls increased by 257,000 jobs overall with the private non-farm payrolls sub-component adding 267,000 jobs while the civilian unemployment rate increased slightly to 5.7% over the same period.

Net private sector jobs increased 0.22% since last month climbing 2.70% above the level seen a year ago and climbing 2.85% above the peak level of employment seen in December 2007 prior to the Great Recession.

Employment Situation: Unemployment Duration January 2015

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

Workers unemployed 27 weeks or more increased to 2.800 million or 31.5% of all unemployed workers while the median term of unemployment increased to 13.4 weeks and the average stay on unemployment declined slightly to 32.3 weeks.



Employment Situation: Total Unemployment January 2015

Today's Employment Situation report showed that in January “total unemployment” including all marginally attached workers increased slightly to 11.3% while the traditionally reported unemployment rate went increased to 5.7%.

The traditional unemployment rate is calculated from the monthly household survey results using a fairly explicit definition of “unemployed” (essentially unemployed and currently looking for full time employment) leaving many workers to be considered effectively “on the margin” either employed in part time work when full time is preferred or simply unemployed and no longer looking for work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics considers “marginally attached” workers (including discouraged workers) and persons who have settled for part time employment to be “underutilized” labor.

The broadest view of unemployment would include both traditionally unemployed workers and all other underutilized workers.

To calculate the “total” rate of unemployment we would simply use this larger group rather than the smaller and more restrictive “unemployed” group used in the traditional unemployment rate calculation.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Initial and Continued February 05 2015

Today’s jobless claims report showed an increase to both initial and insured unemployment claims as seasonally adjusted initial claims remained below the 300K level.

Seasonally adjusted “initial” unemployment claims increased a 11,000 to 278,000 claims while seasonally adjusted “insured” claims increased by 6,000 to 2.400 million resulting in an “insured” unemployment rate of 1.8%.


ADP National Employment Report: January 2015

Yesterday, 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 213,000 jobs in the month bringing the total employment level 2.32% above the level seen in January 2014.

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

Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey – February 04 2015

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) decreased 4 basis points to 3.77% since last week while the purchase application volume declined 2% and the refinance application volume increased 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 loan volumes (click for larger dynamic full-screen version).




Monday, February 02, 2015

Construction Spending: December 2014

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released their latest read of construction spending showing mixed results for December with total private construction spending and single family construction spending increasing while non-residential construction spending declined over the month.

On a month-to-month basis, total residential spending increased 0.3% from November but declined 4.0% below the level seen in December 2013 and remained well below the peak level seen in 2006.

Single family construction spending increased 1.2% from November rising a notable 11.0% since December 2013 but remaining well below it's peak level reached in 2006.

Non-residential construction spending declined 0.2% from November but rose 5.3% above the level seen in December 2013 and remaining a well below the peak level reached in October 2008.

The following charts (click for larger dynamic versions) show private residential construction spending, private residential single family construction spending and private non-residential construction spending broken out and plotted since 1993 along with the year-over-year, month-to-month and peak percent change to each since 1994 and 2000 – 2005.



Friday, January 30, 2015

GDP: Q4 2014 (First Estimate)

Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released their first "estimate" of the Q4 2014 GDP report showing that the economy grew strongly in the third quarter with real GDP improving at an annualized rate of 2.6% from Q3 2014.

On a year-over-year basis, real GDP increased 2.48% while the quarter-to-quarter non-annualized percent change was an increase of 0.65%.