Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Residential Construction Report: October 2014

Today’s New Residential Construction Report showed mixed results with total permit activity improving while total start activity declined since September.

Single family housing permits, the most leading of indicators, increased 1.4% from September to 640K single family units (SAAR), and increased 2.4% above the level seen in October 2013 but still remained well below levels seen at the peak in September 2005.

Reading Rates: MBA Application Survey – November 19 2014

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes the results of a weekly applications survey that covers roughly 50 percent of all residential mortgage originations and tracks the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages as well as the volume of both purchase and refinance applications.

The purchase application index has been highlighted as a particularly important data series as it very broadly captures the demand side of residential real estate for both new and existing home purchases.

The latest data is showing that the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage (from FHA and conforming GSE data) decreased 3 basis points to 4.04% since last week while the purchase application volume increased 12% and the refinance application volume increased 1% over the same period.

The following chart shows the average interest rate for 30 year and 15 year fixed rate mortgages since 2006 as well as the purchase, refinance and composite loan volumes (click for larger dynamic full-screen version).

Friday, November 07, 2014

Employment Situation: Nonfarm Payrolls and Civilian Unemployment October 2014

Today's Employment Situation Report indicated that in October, net non-farm payrolls increased by 214,000 jobs overall with the private non-farm payrolls sub-component adding 209,000 jobs while the civilian unemployment rate declined declined to 5.8% over the same period.

Net private sector jobs increased 0.18% since last month climbing 2.24% above the level seen a year ago and climbing 1.82% above the peak level of employment seen in December 2007 prior to the Great Recession.

Employment Situation: Total Unemployment October 2014

Today's Employment Situation report showed that in October “total unemployment” including all marginally attached workers declined to 11.5% while the traditionally reported unemployment rate also improved falling to 5.8%.

The traditional unemployment rate is calculated from the monthly household survey results using a fairly explicit definition of “unemployed” (essentially unemployed and currently looking for full time employment) leaving many workers to be considered effectively “on the margin” either employed in part time work when full time is preferred or simply unemployed and no longer looking for work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics considers “marginally attached” workers (including discouraged workers) and persons who have settled for part time employment to be “underutilized” labor.

The broadest view of unemployment would include both traditionally unemployed workers and all other underutilized workers.

To calculate the “total” rate of unemployment we would simply use this larger group rather than the smaller and more restrictive “unemployed” group used in the traditional unemployment rate calculation.

Employment Situation: Unemployment Duration October 2014

Today's employment situation report showed that conditions for the long term unemployed were mixed in October while still remaining distressed by historic standards.

Workers unemployed 27 weeks or more declined to 2.916 million or 32.0% of all unemployed workers while the median term of unemployment increased to 13.7 weeks and the average stay on unemployment increased to 32.7 weeks.