• Housing starts in October were up 3.8% and from the previous month and were up 8.5% from October 2018. Building permits in October were up 5.0% from September and were up 14.1% from a year ago.
  • Existing home sales increased 1.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in October, from 5.36 million in September, according to the National Association of Realtors. The median existing home price in October was $270.9 thousand, up 6.2% from October 2018. Total housing inventory at the end of October decreased 2.7% from the previous month, and decreased 4.3% from a year ago, to 1.77 million. Unsold inventory was at a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.1 months in September, and down from 4.3 months in October 2018.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that mortgage rates moving lower. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.66% for the week ending November 21st, down from last week when it averaged 3.75%.  A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.81%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.15% for the week ending November 21st, down from last week when it averaged 3.20%.  A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.24%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 2.2% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending November 15, 2019.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in October in 4 states, higher in 2 states, and stable in 44 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Eight states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, 3 states had increases, and 39 states and the District had little or no change. Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 4 states in October, decreased in 1, and was essentially unchanged in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, 27 states added nonfarm payroll jobs and 23 states and the District were essentially unchanged.
  • From June 2018 to June 2019, employment increased in 279 of the 355 largest U.S. counties, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In June 2019, national employment (as measured by the Quarterly County Employment and Wages program) increased to 149.1 million, a 1.1% increase over the year. Adams, Colorado, had the largest over-the-year increase in employment with a gain of 5.3%. Among the 355 largest counties, 347 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. In the second quarter of 2019, average weekly wages for the nation increased to $1,095, a 3.8% increase over the year. Benton, Arizona, had the largest second quarter over-the-year wage gain at 16.3%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 227 thousand in the week ending November 16, unchanged from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 221 thousand, an increase of 3.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending November 9 was 1,695 thousand, an increase of 3 thousand from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 1,693 thousand, an increase of 3 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The Conference Board’s leading economic index decreased 0.1% in October, following a 0.2% decrease in the previous month. The coincident index held steady, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month. Over the six-month span through October, the leading index decreased 0.1% (about a -0.2% annual rate) with six out of ten components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 55%), while the coincident index increased 0.8% (about a 1.5% annual rate) with three of four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75%). This was the first time since May 2016 that the leading economic index’s six-month growth has slipped into negative territory.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment increased to 96.8 in November, from 95.5 in October. The Index was 97.5 in November of 2018. The Current Conditions Index decreased from 113.2 in October to 111.6 in November, while The Index of Consumer Expectations increased from 84.2 to 87.3.

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