August 14th, 2018
Last week’s economic reports included readings on job openings and inflation along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.
Job Openings Hit Third Highest Reading on Record
Job openings held steady at 6.70 million in June, which was the third highest reading since reporting started in 2000.
Analysts said that the high number of job openings combined with low unemployment rates indicates healthy labor markets. Fewer jobs were available in transportation, utilities and warehousing, but jobs in education increased.
Job quits remained at 2.20 percent for the fourth consecutive month. Quits are considered an indicator of worker confidence in job markets.
Inflation Inches Up
Inflation rose by 0.20 percent in July according to the Consumer Price Index. While analyst expectations were met, rising housing costs offset a decline in energy prices. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy readings, held steady at 0.20 percent as compared to the same reading for analyst expectations and for June.
The Consumer Price Index rose 2.90 percent year-over-year, which matched June’s reading. The less volatile Core CPI, which excludes inflation readings for food and energy, rose by 2.40 percent year-over-year and was the highest reading for core inflation since 2008.
Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Lower
Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 4.59 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was three basis points lower at 4.05 percent. Rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.80 percent, which was three basis points lower than for the previous week.
First-time jobless claims fell to 213,000 new claims filed and were lower than the expected reading of 217,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 219,000 new claims filed. The less volatile monthly reading fell by 500 new claims to 214,250 first-time jobless claims.
This week’s economic readings include reports from the National Association of Homebuilders, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.