• The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims and insured unemployment. The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 810 thousand to 4,427 thousand in the week ending April 18. The 4-week moving average was 5,786.5 thousand, an increase of 280 thousand from the previous week’s average. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 11.0% for the week ending April 11, an increase of 2.8 percentage points from the previous week’s unrevised rate. This marks the highest level of the seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending April 11 was 15,976 thousand, an increase of 4,064 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The 4-week moving average was 9,598.25 thousand, an increase of 3,548 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • In 2019, 4.9% of families included an unemployed person, down from 5.2% in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the nation’s 82.6 million families, 81.1% had at least one employed member in 2019.
  • Sales of new single-family houses in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 627 thousand, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 15.4% below the previous month and 9.5% below the March 2019 level. The median sales price of new houses sold in March was $321.4 thousand, 3.5% above a year ago. There were 333 thousand new houses for sale at the end of March. This represents a supply of 6.4 months at the current sales rate, compared with 5.8 months a year ago. The Census Bureau stated: “Due to recent events surrounding COVID‐19, many governments and businesses are operating on a limited capacity or have ceased operations completely. The Census Bureau has monitored response and data quality and determined estimates in this release meet publication standards.”
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that average mortgage rates increasing slightly. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.33% for the week ending April 23, up slightly from last week when it averaged 3.31%. A year-ago this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.20%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.86%, up from last week when it averaged 2.80%. A year-ago this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.64%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 0.3% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending April 17th.
  • The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators decreased 6.7% in March, following a decrease of 0.2% in the previous month. Over the six-month span through March, the leading index decreased 6.6% (about an 12.8% annual rate). This was a sharp reversal from the growth over the previous six months. Furthermore, the deterioration was very broad based and have become very widespread. The Conference Board coincident economic index decreased 0.9% in March, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month. Over the six-month span through March, the coincident index decreased 0.3% (about a 0.6% annual rate).

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