MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Both job openings and quits remained elevated in February
The number of job openings slipped just 0.2% to 11.3 million on the last business day of February. Hires edged up 4.1% to 6.7 million while total separations edged down 0.8% to 6.1 million. Within separations, the quits rate was little changed at 2.9 percent, but the total number quitting rose 2.2% to 4.4 million.
The ‘overhang’ of open jobs vs. the unemployed rose 4.7% to nearly 5.0 million, and the ratio of jobs/unemployed persons rose from 1.73 to 1.80. For every open job to fill, employers have to contend with .39 workers quitting, up from .38 in January.
Annual Case-Shiller Index increase rises to 19.2 percent in January
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index reported a 19.2% annual gain in January, up from 18.9% in the previous month. Phoenix led the way with a 32.6% year-over-year price increase, followed by Tampa with a 30.8% increase and Miami with a 28.1% increase. After seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a month-over-month increase of 1.6%.
Purchase loan applications down 10 percent year-on-year as rates jump
The Market Composite Index for mortgage applications decreased 6.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans rising 1 percent (but down 10 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity falling 15 percent (and down 60 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($647,200 or less) increased to 4.80 percent from 4.50 percent.