• The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 26 thousand to 900 thousand in the week ending January 16. The 4-week moving average was 848 thousand, an increase of 23.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending January 9 was 5,054 thousand, a decrease of 127 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 5,126.25 thousand, a decrease of 67 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.6% for the week ending January 9, unchanged from the previous week’s revised rate.
  • Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 111.5 million full-time wage and salary workers were $984 in the fourth quarter of 2020 (not seasonally adjusted), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was 5.1% higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.2% in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers over the same period.  Women had median weekly earnings of $894, or 83.4% of the $1,072 median for men. The women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women earned 82.3% as much as their male counterparts, compared with 95.7% for Black women, 74.9% for Asian women, and 91.8% for Hispanic women.
  • Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,709 thousand, up 4.5% from the previous month and up 17.3% December 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. An estimated 1,452 thousand housing units were authorized by building permits in 2020, up 4.8% from 2019. Housing Starts Privately-owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,669 thousand, up 5.8 from the previous month and up 5.2% from a year ago. An estimated 1,380.3 thousand housing units were started in 2020, up 7.0% from 2019.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed mortgage rates moved slightly downward. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.77% for the week ending January 21, down from last week when it averaged 2.79%. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.60%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.21%, down from last week when it averaged 2.23%. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.04%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 1.9% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 15, 2021.
  • There were 97,746,797 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the world, 2,097,263 deaths, and 53,896,966 recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center (access date and time: 1/22/2021, 11:22 EST). In the United States, there are 24,656,801 confirmed cases, 411,165 deaths, and no figure for recovered cases. There are recovered figures for US states, but not for the US (some states do not report it so there is no figure for the country). The real problem is that the global figure has “zero” for the US, which also makes global “recovered” figures wrong. There is a significant drop in the number of recovered. It was 46,857,548 on 12/12/2020 in the World and 6,246,605 in the US. Data issues may be the least of the problems. The world is still struggling to control the spread of the virus.

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