5/5: METROINTELLIGENCE ECONOMIC UPDATE by P.Duffy

Federal Reserve opts to keep interest rates unchanged in latest meeting

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in March indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen even as growth in economic activity slowed. In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 3/4 to 1 percent.

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April planned job cuts down 15 percent from March and 43 percent year-on-year

US-based employers announced workforce reductions totaling 36,602 during the month, down 15 percent from March and 43 percent lower than the 64,141 recorded in April 2016.  Of these cuts, 11,669 were in the retail sector, the highest total among all industries.

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Labor productivity rose at 0.6 percent annual rate in 1Q 2017

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased at a 0.6-percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2017, as output increased 1.0 percent and hours worked increased 1.6 percent.
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Gallup Good Jobs Rate slipped to 44.7 percent in April

The U.S. Gallup Good Jobs Rate fell to 44.7% in April, down from 45.1% in March, but higher than the 44.4% measured in February.The current GGJ rate is slightly lower than the 44.9% recorded in April 2016.

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Mortgage loan applications slip 0.1 percent in latest survey as rates rise slightly

The Market Composite Index decreased 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans rising four percent but refinances falling five percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances increased to 4.23 percent.

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Initial unemployment claims drop 19,000 in most recent report

In the week ending April 29, initial unemployment claims were 238,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 257,000. The 4-week moving average was 243,000, an increase of 750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 242,250.

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