MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
December job openings fall 3.6 percent to 10.8 million versus 5.1 million unemployed
The number of job openings fell 3.6% from December to 10.8 million, while hires rose 1.9% to 6.4 million.
Quits fell 5.1% to 3.9 million, although the ratio of quits to open jobs remained at 36%. While the number of open jobs vs. officially unemployed fell 6.9% to 5.1 million, the ratio of jobs/unemployed person fell by half (3.2%) to 1.9.
Private sector employment rises by 242,000 in February, wages up 7.2 percent year-on-year
Private sector employment rose 242,000 in February versus 106,000 in January. 21% of jobs were in good-producing industries, although construction lost 16,000 as builders finish up projects and delay starting new ones. 79% of jobs were in service-producing industries, with losses of 36,000 in professional/business services.
Although wages grew 7.2% year-on-year, the boost was nearly double for job changers.
Purchase loan applications up 7 percent from previous week, down 42 percent year-on-year
The Market Composite Index for mortgage applications increased 7.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans rising 7 percent (but down 42 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity rising 9 percent (but down 76 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.79 percent, the highest level since November 2022 and 270 basis points higher than a year ago.