While little housing-related news was released, last week’s economic news showed signs of a brighter economic picture.
Labor statistics were stronger, with job openings up and new jobless claims filed lower than expected.
Mortgage rates fell, and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index was higher than expected.
More Jobs Available, Fewer New Jobless Claims
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that February job
openings rose to 4.20 million, which exceeded January’s reading of 3.9
million jobs. New jobless claims were lower than expected with 300,000
new jobless claims filed against expectations of 316,000 new jobless
claims and the prior week’s reading of 332,000 new jobless claims filed.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve
released minutes of its meeting held March 18 and 19. The minutes noted
that payroll jobs expanded, but the unemployment rate remained elevated,
and inflation was below the committee’s goal of 2.00 percent.
Indicators of longer-run inflation expectations were seen as stable.
Severe winter weather was viewed as a cause for slowing economic
activity. FOMC noted that it would be difficult to determine the effects
of winter weather on the economy as opposed to slower economic growth
caused by unemployment or other negative factors.
Housing Starts and Building Permits were lower, but FOMC noted the
impact of winter weather on these reports. FOMC asserted its intention
to continue reducing its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion per
month as economic conditions permit.
The FOMC emphasized its commitment to continuous review of financial
and economic news as it makes month-to-month decisions concerning asset
Mortgage Rates Fall, Consumer Sentiment Rises...Read More