It was a weekend of ups and downs. On one hand, I had most of my family over for Cinco de Mayo, and it was great seeing them all. On the other hand, the Detroit Tigers lost three of four to the Kansas City Royals, and Miguel Cabrera’s injured now.
The jobs report had its own pluses and minuses. Let’s get to it!
Personal Income and Outlays
Personal incomes were up 0.3% in the month of March. Of this amount, almost 0.2% of it came from increases in wages and salaries. However, Americans weren’t able to save as much because personal consumption expenditures increased by 0.4% despite prices only increasing by less than 0.1%. Prices without food and energy increased 0.2% on the month.
Digging deeper into the numbers, Americans saved 3.1% of their personal disposable income as compared to 3.3% in February. Americans spent $26.8 billion on services, with the biggest increases coming in household electricity and gas. In goods, $24.2 billion were spent on such big contributors as recreational items and vehicles.
Pending Home Sales Index
The number of U.S. homes with a purchase agreement in place for sale increased by 0.4% last month to an index level of 107.6. This is 3.0% below where it was a year ago.
Among the factors holding the index down is the fact that low inventory has led to a lack of choice for prospective home buyers in the market. In addition, price increases are happening faster than income growth.
Homes under contract for sale in the Northeast fell 5.6% in March and are down 8.1% on the year with the cold weather being partially to blame. In the Midwest, purchase agreements increased by 2.4%, 6.0% below last March. The South saw a 2.5% increase in agreements and is growing at a rate of 0.3% annually. Finally, in the West, pending sales were down 1.1% and have fallen 2.2% on the year.
ISM Manufacturing Index
The manufacturing sector is still growing, but it’s doing so at a slower pace, falling from 59.3 in March to 57.3 in April. Growth is good because manufacturing makes up 12% of the economy.
The price of raw materials increased by 1.2 points to 79.3 in the survey, which marked the highest level since April 2011. The increases were broad-based, occurring in 17 of the 18 sectors measured. This is blamed on increasing inflation as well as the effects of tariffs put in place by the White House.
The employment portion of the index fell as manufacturers are beginning to wonder about labor and skill shortages.
MBA Mortgage Applications
Mortgage applications were down 2.5% last week. Refinance applications were down 4%, while purchase applications fell 2.0% on the week. Purchase applications made up 63.5% of overall activity.
The average rate on a 30-year-fixed mortgage was up seven basis points to 4.80% last week.
The United States trade deficit dropped by $8.7 billion to $49.0 billion in the month of March. This was as a result of an extremely strong month in exports and a drop in imports.
Exports were up 2.0% to $208.5 billion, a record. Capital goods exports were up $1.9 billion with civilian aircraft exports matching that number. Exports of food were up $1.0 billion with a big assist from soybeans and corn. Industrial supplies and materials exports were up $900 million with the bulk of the increase coming from oil and petroleum. In services exports, there were increases in maintenance and repair, travel and transportation.
On the import side of the ledger, these were down 1.8% to $257.5 billion. Capital goods imports were down $1.5 billion. There were equal drops for computer accessories, telecommunications equipment and semiconductors. Consumer goods were down $900 million with equal drops for toys, games and sporting goods, and television and video equipment. Oil imports were also down; imports of services were down $900 million.
Despite the drop in the deficit last month, it’s still 18.5% higher than it was at this time a year ago.
Initial jobless claims were up 2,000 last week to 211,000. Meanwhile, the four-week moving average was down 7,750 to come in at 221,500. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are still having trouble getting accurate data.
On the continuing claims side, claims were down 77,000 to 1.756 million. The four-week moving average was 1.833 million, down 4,000 from last week’s average.
There were 164,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls in April. This missed expectations of analysts for 193,000 jobs added. But on the plus side, the unemployment rate dipped from 4.1% to 3.9%, the lowest rate since 2000.
Average hourly earnings increased by four cents per hour. Wages are up 2.6% on the year. On the downside, part of the reason the unemployment rate decreased by so much is that 410,000 people dropped out of the workforce.
Looking at individual categories, 54,000 jobs were added in professional and business services. This was followed by the manufacturing and health care industries, which added 24,000 jobs each. In mining, 8,000 jobs were added.
For the most part, mortgage rates were down a bit last week, which provides some much needed relief because they’ve been on an upward swing for a few weeks now. If you’re looking to buy or refinance, you should lock your rate if you see one you like.
The average rate on a 30-year-fixed mortgage with 0.5 points in fees went down three basis points to 4.55%. At this time last year, the average rate was 4.02%.
In shorter terms, the average rate on a 15-year-fixed mortgage with 0.4 points went up a single basis points to 4.03%. At the same time a year ago, the average rate was 3.27%.
Finally, rates on 5-year treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) with 0.3 points were 3.69%, down five basis points from the week prior. The average rate a year ago was 3.13%.
Stocks closed higher Friday despite less than stellar jobs numbers. Apple sparked a rally in tech stocks after billionaire investor Warren Buffett revealed that he bought a lot of shares of the company in the last several months.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 332.36 points to close at 24,262.51, which was down 0.20% on the week. The S&P 500 finished Friday at 2,663.42, up 33.69 points on the day and down 0.24% on the week. The Nasdaq, on the other hand, had weekly gains of 1.26% after ending the week at 7,209.62, up 121.47 points.
The Week Ahead
Tuesday, May 8
Quicken Loans Home Price Perception Index (HPPI) (10:00 a.m. ET) – Quicken Loans, the nation’s second-largest retail mortgage lender, releases data every month comparing what people think their homes are worth to appraisals. Similar opinions of value often make for smoother purchase and refinance transactions.
Quicken Loans Home Value Index (HVI) (10:00 a.m. ET) – Quicken Loans also releases data on home values, at both the national and regional levels. Homeowners can gain a perception of whether values are increasing or decreasing and get a better idea of where they stand in terms of equity.
Wednesday, May 9
MBA Mortgage Applications (7:00 a.m. ET) – The mortgage applications index measures applications to mortgage lenders. This is a leading indicator for single-family home sales and housing construction.
Producer Price Index (PPI) (8:30 a.m. ET) – The Producer Price Index measures the average change over time in prices received by domestic producers for the sale of goods and services.
Thursday, May 10
Consumer Price Index (CPI) (8:30 a.m. ET) – The consumer price index measures changes based on the price of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers.
Jobless Claims (8:30 a.m. ET) – New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to report the number of individuals filing for unemployment insurance for the first time. An increasing trend suggests a deteriorating labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smooths out weekly volatility.
Friday, May 11
Consumer Sentiment (10:00 a.m. ET) – The University of Michigan’s Consumer Survey Center questions 500 households each month on their financial conditions and attitudes about the economy. Consumer sentiment is directly related to the strength of consumer spending.
It’s not as busy as it has been the last couple of weeks, but we do get some key housing and inflation data. We’ll have it all covered for you next week.
This was one of those Mondays where I woke up not wanting the weekend to be over quite yet. If you feel like me, mortgage rates and economic data probably aren’t waking you up. We’ve got plenty more home, money and lifestyle content to share with you if you subscribe to the Zing Blog below.
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about super heroes because of the Avengers lately, but this Sunday, you get to honor the first real super hero in your life – your mom. If you’re still on the fence about what to get her, we’ve got a Mother’s Day gift guide full of ideas to treat her to something special. Have a great week!
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