MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
March Global Output Index slips 0.8 points to 52.7 as business confidence slips
The J.P.Morgan Global Composite Output Index posted 52.7 in March, down from 53.5 in February. Rising inflationary pressures, stretched supply chains and geopolitical tensions stymied growth and hit confidence. Business optimism dipped to a 15-month low, but the rate of job creation matched the highest registered since the end of 2007.
March service sector economic index rises 1.8 points to 58.3 as labor shortages ease
In March, the Services PMI® registered 58.3 percent, 1.8 percentage points higher than February’s reading of 56.5 percent. Labor shortages have eased slightly, as COVID-19 cases have declined and public-health restrictions have been relaxed. Geopolitical concerns — particularly the Russia/Ukraine war, which has impacted material costs, most notably fuel and chemical prices — have created uncertainty for many businesses.
Purchase loan apps fall 3 percent from previous week and 9 percent year-on-year
The Market Composite Index for mortgage applications decreased 6.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans falling 3 percent (and down 9 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity falling 19 percent (and down 62 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.90 percent from 4.80 percent.