Key Economic Indicators – February 15, 2021

  • The consumer price index (headline index) increased 0.3% in January, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month.  The core index, all items less food and energy, held steady for the second consecutive month. The consumer price index increased 1.4% for the 12-month period ending in January, and the core index also rose 1.4%.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees were unchanged from December to January. This result stems from a 0.2% increase in average hourly earnings being offset by an increase of 0.2% in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.
  • The number of job openings was little change at 6.6 million on the last business day of December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the month, hires decreased to 5.5 million while total separations were little changed at 5.5 million.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 19 thousand to 793 thousand in the week ending February 6. The 4-week moving average was 823 thousand, a decrease of 33.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending January 30 was 4,545 thousand, a decrease of 145 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 4,748.75 thousand, a decrease of 157.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.2% for the week ending January 30, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed fixed-rate mortgages remained flat for the second consecutive week. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.73% for the week ending February 11th, unchanged from last week. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.47%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.19% for the week ending February 11th, down from last week when it averaged 2.21%. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.97%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 4.1% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 5, 2021.
  • There were 108,015,884 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the world, 2,374,415 deaths, and 60,451,905 recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center (access date and time: 2/12/2021, 13:26 EST). In the United States, there were 27,432,711 confirmed cases, 476,628 deaths, and no figure for recovered cases. There are recovered figures for US states, but not for the US (some states, including California, 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. It should be noted that there are other countries not reporting the figures for the “recovered”, the most common reason being not enough follow ups after patients are discharged from the hospital. There is a significant drop in the number of recovered for the world. It was 46,857,548 on 12/12/2020 in the World and 6,246,605 in the US. These are among the well-known data issues. The world is still struggling to control the spread of the virus.

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