Mortgage applications fall 18 percent in weekly report
The Market Composite Index decreased 17.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans falling 12 percent (also down 12 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity falling 19 percent (but up 144 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.49 percent from 3.47 percent.
March Small Business Optimism Index drops sharply
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 8.1 points in March to 96.4, the largest monthly decline in the survey’s history. Nine of the 10 Index components declined, evidence that economic disruptions are escalating on Main Street as small businesses struggle to keep their doors open.
February job openings fell 1.9 percent, but still left gap of nearly 1.1 million unfilled jobs
Pre-pandemic job openings fell 1.9 percent to 6.9 million in February. Over the month, hires fell 0.5 percent to 5.9 million, separations fell 2.5 percent to 5.6 million, and quits fell 2.2 percent to 3.5 million. Still, with 5.8 million officially unemployed persons in February, that still left a gap of nearly 1.1 million jobs that month.
February consumer credit use rose at annual rate of 6.50 percent
In February, consumer credit use increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.50 percent. Revolving credit (such as credit cards) increased at a 4.50 percent annual rate, while nonrevolving credit (such as loans for cars and student tuition) increased at a 7.0 percent annual rate.