• Jobless Claims Decline, Mortgage Applications Drop

    Jobless Claims Decline

    Initial claims for unemployment insurance declined by 11,000 from the prior week in the period ended May 28, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The total of 200,000 initial claims marked a span of four months of historically low claims and left the nation’s jobless rate at 3.6% as of April.

    The total of continued weeks claims, tracked on a more delayed basis, was just over 1.3 million for the week ended May 14, up 2,100 from the prior week but well down from the nearly 15.5 million in the comparable week of 2021.

    Also Thursday, the Labor Department said business labor productivity, basically output divided by hours worked, decreased 7.3% in the first quarter from the previous quarter, though the decrease was just 0.6% from the year-earlier quarter.

    Among factors in the productivity decline, the department cited a rise in unit labor costs, up 12.6% from the prior quarter and up 8.2% from the year-earlier quarter, in an inflationary climate where wages are rising in most industries.

    Labor officials said the first quarter marked the first time since the start of the pandemic that both output and hours worked surpassed levels seen in the fourth quarter of 2019.

    Mortgage Applications Drop

    Mortgage applications declined 2.3% from the prior week during the period ended May 27, the fourth time in five weeks that the trend has moved downward in what’s become a volatile economy, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.

    “Mortgage applications decreased to the lowest level since December 2018, as the purchase market continues to struggle with supply and affordability challenges,” Joel Kan, the trade group’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement.

    Kan said factors making prospective homebuyers nervous include concerns about weakening economic growth and a roller-coaster stock market. With 30-year fixed rate mortgages now averaging around 5.3%, new purchase applications are down 14% from a year ago, with refinancing applications down 75%.

    The Washington, D.C.-based trade group reports changes in application volume based on surveys of lenders, but does not cite the number of applications.

    Source: www.CoStar.com