4/15/21 – EconUpdate by P. Duffy

EconUpdate by P. Duffy


Consumer Price Index up 0.6 percent in March and 2.6 percent year-on-year

What does this mean?  As the economy re-opens, prices for gasoline, natural gas, used cars and food are driving the increase.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6 percent in March, the largest jump since August 2012, and was up 2.6 percent year-on-year.  The ‘core’ index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in March, and was up 1.6 percent year-on-year.



Small Business Optimism Index rises again to highest level since last November

What does this mean?  Although small business owners are increasingly optimistic, their rising uncertainty levels are largely tied to their inability to find qualified workers.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 2.4 points in March to 98.2. March’s reading is the first return to the average historical reading since last November. The NFIB Uncertainty Index increased six points to 81, which was primarily driven by owners being more uncertain about whether it is a good time to expand their business and make capital expenditures in the coming months.



Home purchase loan apps dip 1 percent from prior week, but up 51 percent year-on-year

What does this mean? While refinance activity has declined as rates have risen, demand for purchase loans remains high.

The Market Composite Index for mortgage apps decreased 3.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans falling 1 percent (but up 51 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity falling 5 percent (and down 31 percent year-on-year). The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.27 percent from 3.36 percent.