3/9: METROINTELLIGENCE ECONOMIC UPDATE, P.DFUFFY

2018 YTD job cuts at lowest level since 1995

The nation’s employers announced plans to cut 35,369 jobs in February, down 20 percent from the 44,653 cuts announced the previous month and 4.3 percent lower year-on-year. So far this year, employers have announced 80,022 cuts, 3.5 percent lower than through February last year. This is the lowest number of announced job cuts between January and February since 1995.

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4Q 2017 service sector economy up 2.2 percent from 3Q and 5.0 percent year-on-year

U.S. selected services total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2017 rose 2.2 percent from the third quarter of 2017 and 5.0 percent year-on-year.

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January consumer credit use grew at slowest pace in four months

January consumer credit use grew at the slowest rate in four months.  The combination of this, along with sluggish household spending figures reported for January, indicates consumers may have been reluctant to increase credit-card balances following much stronger outlays in the fourth quarter. Gains in overall consumer credit cooled for a second month.

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Bloomberg:  Weekly consumer comfort index rebounds to second-highest level since 2001

The consumer comfort index rose last week to 56.8, the second-highest level since 2001, as the benefits of increased take-home pay from tax cuts outweighed concerns about stock-market volatility.

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Mortgage applications rise 0.3 percent due to refinances, rates edge up to 4.65 percent

The Market Composite Index increased 0.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans falling 1.0 percent and refinances rising 2.0 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to its highest level since January 2014, 4.65 percent.

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Initial unemployment claims rise 21,000 in weekly report

In the week ending March 3, initial unemployment claims were 231,000, an increase of 21,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 210,000. The 4-week moving average was 222,500, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 220,500.

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