Last week’s economic reporting was limited due to the Labor Day holiday. Job openings were reported along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.
July Job Openings Higher Than Expected
The Labor Department reported record job openings for the fifth consecutive month in July. Economists said that the data used in the report lagged by a month and the readings were not impacted by the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus.
Job openings fell in construction, trade, transportation, and utilities. There were less than 0.80 unemployed available for each job opening in July. Hiring fell by 160,000 hires to 6.70 million hires. Job separations, which included terminations and voluntary quits, rose by 174,000 to 5.80 million separations. Retirements and location transfers were not included in the job separation data. Private-sector quits rose from 3.00 percent to 3.10 percent, which indicated workers were confident they could find better jobs.
Economists don’t expect hot jobs markets to cool anytime soon. High demand for workers and rising wages indicated that less hiring is unlikely in the near term.
Mortgage Rates Hold Steady, Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported little change in average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by one basis point to 2.88 percent. Rates for 15-year mortgages also rose by one basis point to an average rate of 2.19 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged one basis point lower at 2.42 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-yar fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.
Initial jobless claims fell to 310,000 new claims filed as compared to 340,000 first-time claims filed n the previous week. Analysts estimated 335,0000 initial claims would be filed last week. Continuing jobless claims were also lower with 2.78 million ongoing claims filed; 2.81 million continuing claims were filed in the previous week.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on inflation, retail sales, and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.