4/21: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. Duffy

Leading Economic Index rose by 0.4 percent in March

The March increase and upward trend in the U.S. LEI point to continued economic growth in 2017, with perhaps an acceleration later in the year if consumer spending and investment pick up. The gains among the leading indicators were very widespread, with new orders in manufacturing and the interest rate spread more than offsetting declines in the labor market components in March.

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Philadelphia Fed’s Manufacturing Survey dipped again in March but still at a relatively high reading

The index for current manufacturing activity in the region decreased from a reading of 32.8 in March to 22.0 this month. The index has been positive for nine consecutive months and remains at a relatively high reading but has moved down the past two months.

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Mortgage applications dip 1.8 percent in latest survey; rates also slip

The Market Composite Index decreased 1.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans falling 3 percent and refinances rising 0.2 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to its lowest level since November 2016, 4.22 percent.

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Initial unemployment claims rise by 10,000 in latest report

In the week ending April 15, initial unemployment claims were 244,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 234,000. The 4-week moving average was 243,000, a decrease of 4,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 247,250.

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