Posted in Financial Reports

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Holds Steady In April

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Holds Steady In AprilCase-Shiller’s National Home Price Index showed little change in April as home prices rose by 0.10 percent to a year-over-year average of 4.70 percent. The 20-City Home Price Index showed corresponding home price growth of 0.10 percent to 4.00 percent year-over-year.

Ongoing influences on home price growth before the coronavirus pandemic included short supplies of available homes coupled with high demand for homes and low mortgage rates. While closures and shelter-at-home restrictions in many markets slowed buyer and seller activity,  real estate analysts said that home-buyer desiring to buy larger homes to accommodate working at home helped maintain home prices. Homeowners relocating to less congested areas also helped with stabilizing home-price growth in April. 

Case-Shiller 20-City Index: Home-Price Growth Rates Increases in 12 Cities

The three top cities in April’s 20-City Home Price Index were Phoneix, Arizona with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 8.80 percent; Seattle, Washington reported 7.30 percent yearly growth in home prices. Minneapolis, Minnesota reported home-price growth of 6.40 percent.

Home price growth rates increased in 12 of 19 cities reported. Detroit Michigan did not report to the 20-City Index for the second consecutive month. The coronavirus pandemic continued to grow and spread throughout the U.S during May; some states that opened their economies quickly are now reconsidering as Covid-19 cases rise at faster rates. Changing data and emerging responses to the spreading virus are expected to impact home price growth in the coming months according to whether the coronavirus spreads or diminishes.

FHFA Home Price Index: Home Prices Increase Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported 5.50 percent home price growth year-over-year in April compared to the March reading of 5.90 percent year-over-year growth. FHFA expects home prices to continue rising as real estate markets return to normal. With spring and early summer home sales impacted by coronavirus-related restrictions, Lynn Fisher, deputy director of research and statistics for FHFA, expected sales to pick up during the summer months.

As coronavirus infection rates increase, further restrictions and closings are anticipated and could negatively impact real estate markets and home prices soon.

Posted in Financial Reports

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 29, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 29, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes and reports on inflation. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new and continuing jobless claims were also released.

Home Sales Results Mixed for May

The National Association of Realtors® reported fewer sales of pre-owned homes in May at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 3.91 million sales. Analysts expected 3.80 million sales as compared to April’s reading of 4.33 million sales. This was the lowest reading for sales of pre-owned homes since July 2010 and sales were 26.60 percent lower year-over-year.

Lawrence Yun,  the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, said that sales were expected to rise as coronavirus-related restrictis were lifted and people returned to work. Mr. Yun said in a report that sales of previously-owned homes should surpass last year’s annual sales pace in the second half of 2020. Mr. Yun made this forecast before rising coronavirus cases occurring after the reopening of the economy started.

There was a 4.80 months supply of previously-owned homes for sale in May, which was below the six-months supply indicating a balanced market.

The Commerce Department reported 676,000 new homes sold in May on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis; this surpassed expectations of 650,000 sales and April’s revised annual sales pace of 580,000 new homes sold. New home sales rose by 45.50 percent in May in the Northeastern region; New home sales rose by 29 percent in the West and 15.20 percent in the South, New home sales fell by -6.40 percent in the Midwest.

The average sale price of new homes was $317,900 in May. There was a 5.60 months supply of new homes available in May, which nearly matched the six months average inventory.

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady as JoblessClaims Fall

Freddie Mac reported little change in average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were unchanged at an average rate of 3.13 percent; The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by one basis point to 2.59 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell one basis point to 3.08 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims fell to 1.48 million from the prior week’s reading of 1.51 million new claims. Continuing jobless claims were also lower last week with 19.50 million claims filed as compared to 20.30 million claims filed the previous week.

Rising Inflation Indicates Improving Economy

Inflation rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 8.20 percent in May as compared to April’s reading of -12.60 percent Analysts expected the inflation rate to reach 9.90 percent.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news releases include readings on pending home sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, and labor-sector jobs reports. The national unemployment rate will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new and continuing jobless claims.

 

 

 

Posted in Financial Reports

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 22, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 22, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic reporting included readings on U.S. Housing markets, housing starts, and building permits issued. Weekly reports on new and continuing jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence in Housing Market Recovers in June

Analysts cited slim supplies of available homes, tight housing markets, and low mortgage rates as drivers of new home sales. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose 21 points to an index reading of 58 in June;  builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months rose 22 points to 68.

Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new single-family housing developments rose from May’s index reading of 21 to 43 in June. Readings for buyer traffic are typically lower than the benchmark reading of 50.

Readings over 50 indicate that most builders are confident about housing market conditions and component readings of the Housing Market Index. Prospective home buyers continued to face obstacles of high unemployment and loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic; these factors will likely impact builder confidence for months ahead as impacts of the pandemic change.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued Increase in May

The Commerce Department reported 974,000 housing starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in May as compared to a  pace of  934,000 housing starts reported in April. Building permits issued in May rose to 1.22 million permits issued on an annual basis from April’s pace of 1.07 million permits issued. Analysts expected 1.25 million permits to be issued in May on an annual basis.

 

Mortgage Rates Hit All-Time Low as Jobless Claims Decrease

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates that were the lowest mortgage rates recorded. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was eight basis points lower at 3.13 percent; interest rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.58 percent and were four basis points lower than for the prior week. Interest rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged one basis point lower at 3.09 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell to 1.51 million claims last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.57 million initial claims filed. Continuing jobless claims also fell; 20.50 million claims were reported as compared to 20.60 million ongoing jobless claims reported the prior week.

 

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include reports on sales of new and previously-owned homes, FHFA’s Home Price Index, and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index.

Posted in Financial Reports

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 15, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 15, 2020Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation, the post-meeting statement from the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Inflation Ticks Up in May

May’s Consumer Price Index moved from April’s reading of -0.80 percent to -0.10 percent. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, rose to -0.40 percent in May as compared to April’s reading of -0.40 percent. The Consumer Price Indices are used to calculate overall and core inflation rates. The Federal Reserve uses an annual inflation rate of 2.00 percent as an indicator for achieving price stabilization.

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve said in its post-meeting statement that the Fed would do all it can to ease the economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus and left the current federal funds rate of 0.00 to 0.25 percent unchanged. Fed Chair Jerome Powell indirectly encouraged legislators to approve funding for additional coronavirus relief.

Mortgage Rates Remain Stable as Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported little change in average mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by three basis points to 3.21 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.62 percent and were unchanged from the previous week. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was also unchanged at 3.10 percent. Average discount points rose to 0.90 percent and 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.

Jobless claims remained far higher than pre-coronavirus levels but were lower last week than for the prior week. 1.54 million first-time jobless claims were filed as compared to 1.90 million claims filed the previous week. 29.50 million continuing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 30.20 million continuing unemployment claims.

The University of Michigan reported a higher index reading for consumer sentiment in May with a reading of 87.8 as compared to April’s index reading of 82.3.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index and Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and unemployment claims will also be released.

Posted in Financial Reports

Fed’s Open Market Committee Holds Key Rate Steady

Fed’s Open Market Committee Holds Key Rate SteadyThe Federal Reserve’s monetary policy committee decided against changing the Fed’s benchmark interest rate range of 0.00 to 0.25 percent. The Federal Open Market Committee said in its post-meeting statement that it is not considering raising rates until 2023. Two of 17 FOMC members felt that the Fed’s key rate may rise in 2022.

Fed Approves Quantitative Easing Measures

Committee members also stabilized the Federal Reserve’s ongoing purchases of Treasury bills and mortgage-backed securities and said that the Fed would purchase Treasury bills and mortgage-backed securities “at least at the current pace.” The Fed was tapering its purchases before the Coronavirus pandemic.

FOMC members moved to stimulate the economy through quantitative easing. The Fed purchased $20 billion in Treasurys and agreed to purchase up to $22.5 billion in mortgage-backed securities this week. The Fed’s balance sheet was higher than $7 trillion as of June’s FOMC meeting, but former New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley expected the Fed’s balance sheet to reach $10 trillion.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell remained cautious about a quick economic recovery in response to last week’s report of 2.5 million jobs added in May. Mr. Powell noted that it was only one month’s data and that 20 million people remain out of work. Some analysts interpreted Mr. Powell’s comments as pressure on Congress to approve another stimulus package. FOMC members also discussed capping certain Treasury yields, but no decision was made.

Federal Reserve Chair Favors a Cautious Approach to Economic Recovery

Fed Chair Jerome Powell emphasized the Fed’s position of supporting the economy to the extent it is permitted. In his post FOMC meeting press conference, Mr. Powell said the Fed’s goals during the pandemic were to “provide some relief and stability, ensure that the recovery will be as strong as possible and to limit lasting damage to the economy.”

Mr. Powell predicted that the decline in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the current quarter would likely be the most severe to date. He also said that the Coronavirus has not impacted Americans equally as “those least able to shoulder the burden have been the most affected.”

After saying that the extent of the economic downturn and the pace of economic recovery remains extremely uncertain, Mr. Powell indirectly called upon Congress to pass needed funding and provisions to provide additional relief until economic conditions return to normal. He said that the Fed would do “whatever we can, for as long as it takes” to assist in economic recovery.

Posted in Financial Reports

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 8, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 8, 2020Last week’s economic news included readings on construction spending and labor reports on public and private sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Construction Spending Falls in April

The Commerce Department reported lower than expected deficits in consumer spending in April. Construction spending fell by -2.90 percent from the March reading of 0.00 percent growth in spending; analysts expected 6.80 percent less construction spending for April due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Additional declines in construction spending are expected for May and June as impacts of the Coronavirus and uncertain economic conditions lessen demand for homes. Residential construction spending fell by 4.50 percent in May.

Mortgage Rates Mixed as  Initial Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher rates for 3-year fixed-rate mortgages, which increased an average of three basis points to 3.18 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were unchanged at an average of 2.62 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell by three basis points to an average rate of 3.10 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell last week but were much higher than readings reported before the coronavirus outbreak. States reported 1.88 million new jobless claims, which exceeded expectations of 1.81 million new claims and fell short of the prior week’s reading of 2.13 million initial jobless claims.

2.23 million initial jobless claims were filed last week including claims made under federal programs. 3.21 million total jobless claims were filed the prior week.

Jobs Reports Show Mixed Results In May

ADP reported -2.76 million private-sector jobs lost on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to April’s reading of -19.60 million jobs lost. The government’s Nonfarm Payrolls report showed 2.50 million more public and private-sector jobs than were reported in April.

Analysts expected -7.25 million fewer public and private sector jobs in May as compared to April’s reading of -20.70 million jobs lost.

The national unemployment rate dipped from April’s rate of 14.70 percent to 13.30 percent in May. Analysts expected the national unemployment rate to reach 19.00 percent in May.

Lower unemployment readings suggest that the economy is recovering at a faster pace than originally estimated, but recent civil unrest may cause another wave of coronavirus cases as protesters failed to observe social distancing protocols.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on inflation and consumer sentiment. The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee is set to meet next week, but this meeting may be canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Posted in Financial Reports

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 1, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 1, 2020Last week’s economic reports included monthly readings from Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, FHFA home prices, and readings on new and pending home sales. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices: Home Price Growth Pace Increased In March

National home prices rose at a year-over-year pace of 4.50 percent in March from February’s reading of 4.20 percent. According to the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index, home prices rose by 0.40 percent to a year-over-year growth rate of 3.90 percent.

The three cities reporting the highest rates of home price growth year-over-year were Phoenix, Arizona with 8.20 percent year-over-year growth; Seattle, Washington reported year-over-year home prices growth of 6.90 percent. Charlotte, North Carolina reported 5.80 percent home price growth.

Analysts said that Seattle home prices rose despite the Seattle metro area having a large outbreak of Covid-19 in the first weeks of the pandemic. April readings on home price growth are expected to dip into negative readings reflecting the spread of the coronavirus and its increasing impact.

17 of 19 cities reported in the 20-City Home Price Index for March had higher growth rates than in February; the Detroit metro area did not report data for the March 20-City Home Price Index.

The FHFA Home Price Index reported 5.90 percent year-over-year home price growth for March as compared to its February reading of 6.10 percent home price growth. FHFA reports on home sales connected with properties that have mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

New Home Sales Increase in April as Pending Home Sales Fall

Sales of new homes rose in April although many areas were under stay-at-home orders related to the coronavirus pandemic. 623,000 new home sales were reported on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to the March reading of 619,000 sales of new homes. Pending home sales were -21.80 percent lower as compared to the March reading of -20.80 percent. Fewer pending home sales reflected impacts of the pandemic as government agencies issued stay-at-home orders and citizens faced financial uncertainty and health concerns.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week; rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were nine basis points lower at an average rate of 3.13 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged eight basis points lower at 2.62 percent and rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.13 percent and were four basis points lower. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims were lower at 2.12 million claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 2.45 million initial jobless claims filed. While fewer claims filed is good news, readings for initial jobless claims far exceeded typical numbers of new jobless claims filed before the pandemic.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on construction spending and labor sector reports on public and private sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Posted in Financial Reports

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 26th, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - May 26th, 2020

Last week’s economic news included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions and reports on housing starts and building permits issued.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell testified before Congress about the impact of Covid-19. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Improves in May

Home-builder confidence rose seven points in May to an index reading of 37; April’s reading of 30 was the lowest reading for the NAHB Housing Market Index since June 2012. Low mortgage rates and expectations that the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic had passed contributed to higher readings for builder confidence.

Component readings in the Housing Market Index were higher in May; builder confidence in current market conditions rose six points to 42.

Builder confidence in home sales within the next six months rose ten points to 46, and the reading for buyer traffic in new housing developments rose from 13 to 21. Readings below 50 are historically common for buyer traffic, but mandatory shelter-at-home rules kept more potential buyers away.

NAHB Housing Market Index readings above 50 indicate that most builders surveyed were positive about U.S. housing markets. Readings below 50 indicate that most builders surveyed were pessimistic about housing conditions.

Fed Chair Urges Congress to Help Pandemic Victims

Fed Chair Jerome Powell testified before Congress and said that those impacted by Covide-19 should receive as much assistance as possible. While Congress approved Federal Reserve Loans to mid-to-large businesses,  Mr. Powell reminded Congress that they must also do as much as possible to help low to moderate-income families and businesses and cited a Federal Reserve study that reported 40 percent of households making less than $40,000 lost a job within the first month of the pandemic.

Sales of Pre-Owned Homes, Housing Starts, and Building Permits Issued Fall in April

The Commerce reported lower readings for sales of pre-owned homes, housing starts, and building permits issued in April. Sales of previously owned homes fell to a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 4.33 million sales as compared to the March reading of 5.27 million sales. 

Housing  Starts fell to an annual pace of  891,000 starts in April as compared to 1.276 million starts reported in March. The Commerce Department reported 1.074 million building permits issued on an annual basis; this reading was also lower than the March reading of 1.356 million permits issued but was higher than the expected reading of 996,000 permits issued.

Mortgage Rates Fall as New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week; the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was four basis points lower at 3.24 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.70 percent and were two basis points lower than for the prior week.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.17 percent and were four basis points lower. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent f04 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims reported by states fell to 2.44 million claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 2.69 million initial claims filed.  The reading for state and federal jobless claims filed rose from 3.21 million to 3.30 million as applicants applied for additional jobless benefits offered through federal pandemic relief programs.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic readings include Case-Shiller’s Home Price Indices, the FHFA Home Price Index, and data on new home sales. Monthly readings on inflation and consumer sentiment are scheduled along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Posted in Financial Reports

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 18th, 2020

https://i2.wp.com/bringtheblog.com/i/05-Whats-Ahead.jpgLast week’s economic news included readings on inflation, retail sales, and a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. The University of Michigan released a preliminary reading of its Consumer Sentiment Survey; weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims were also released.

April Inflation and Retail Sales in Negative Territory

Consumer prices fell in April to a negative reading of -0.80 percent and matched expectations. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, fell to -0.40 percent from -0.10 percent in March. Analysts expected a reading of -0.20 percent. Consumer Price Indices are used for determining inflation rates.

Retail sales also posted negative readings for April. Overall, retail sales fell by -16.40 percent as compared to the March reading of -8.30 percent and April’s expected reading of -12.50 percent. Retail sales excluding autos fell by 17.20 percent; analysts expected a reading of -0.90 percent based on the March reading of -0.40 percent. Retail readings may improve in May as retail establishments and malls start to open.

Fed Chair Expects Slow Economic Recovery

Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve advised business contacts that the economic recovery may be slower than originally expected.  In remarks given at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Mr. Powell said, “The path ahead is both highly uncertain and subject to significant downside risks.” Mr. Powell cautioned that “the passage of time can turn liquidity problems into solvency problem” and suggested that additional government assistance to households and businesses may be worth it to prevent more damage to the economy.

Mortgage Rates Mixed; New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported little change in average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-fixed rate mortgages averaged two basis points higher at 3.28 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped by one basis point to 2.72 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged one basis point higher at 3.18 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims were lower than in the prior week but remained far above traditional readings. 2.98 million claims were filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 3.18 million initial claims filed. Analysts expected a reading of 2.73 million new claims filed. 

The University of Michigan released its preliminary Consumer Sentiment Index readings for May. The latest index reading was 73.70  as compared to an expected reading of 69.80 and last month’s reading of 71.80. May’s reading was in line with Chair Powell’s suggestion that consumers are looking ahead to returning to work and shopping as the economy gradually reopens.

What’s Ahead

This week’s economic reporting includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions along with reports on housing starts and building permits issued. Data on existing home sales and weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Posted in Financial Reports

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 11th, 2020

https://i2.wp.com/bringtheblog.com/i/04-Whats-Ahead.jpgLast week’s economic releases included readings on public and private sector employment, the national unemployment rate.

Economic Destruction Continues as Coronavirus Spreads

ADP reported 20.2 million private-sector jobs lost in April as compared to 149,000 jobs lost in March. The government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report showed -20.5 million public and private-sector jobs lost in April as compared to -870,000 jobs lost in March. Both of these jobs reports typically show job growth, but they now report jobs lost due to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to control it.

Likewise, the national unemployment rate grew in April to 14.70 percent as compared to the normal reading of 4.40 percent in March.

Mortgage Rates Mixed as New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, which were three basis points higher at 3.26 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by four basis points to 2.73 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by three basis points to 3.17 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages. 

First-time jobless claims fell to 3.17 million claims, which exceeded expectations of 3.10 million new claims filed. While new jobless claims were lower than the prior week’s reading of 3.85 million initial unemployment claims, the millions of claims filed were far above normal readings in the hundred-thousands. While jobless claims remain high, they are lower than the seasonally-adjusted peak of 6.90 million initial claims filed in March.

Analysts said that unemployment figures would increase as small business claims increase.

 

Credit Card Use Falls In March

Consumers stopped using credit cards in March as the coronavirus took hold and the economic shut-down limited shopping, travel, and dining out. Credit card companies tightened lending standards and reduced credit lines as unemployment rates rose. Credit card use fell by nearly 31 percent to – $28.20 billion in March; installment loans including education and vehicle loans rose by 6.20 percent to $16.1 billion.

Auto dealers offering attractive incentives including low to no interest rates encouraged consumers to purchase vehicles. Home loans were not counted in the reading for installment loans.

 

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include readings on inflation, retail sales, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.