Market Recap: Consumers Confident, Job Openings are Up, and Retail Sales are Soft
Mortgage rates opened the week with a slight week-over-week decline and did not change much from Monday to Friday. This week, the Federal Reserve released its consumer credit report, the Bureau of Labor released the JOLTS Survey, and the retail sales report for December came in. Several incoming cabinet members sat for their confirmation hearings this week including Dr. Ben Carson for Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The week opened with the Federal Reserve’s consumer credit report. Consumer credit is comprised of revolving credit like monthly credit card statements and nonrevolving long-term credit like car and student loans. In November, consumer credit expanded 7.9% or $24.6 Billion. Boosted by holiday spending, revolving credit jumped $11 Billion. Nonrevolving credit also saw positive gains, up $13.5 Billion.
The Bureau of Labor’s JOLTS showed that monthly job openings were up 1.1% from October to November up to 5.5 Million openings. Voluntary job quits are up to 3.1 Million, the second-highest level since before the recession. Quitting a job as opposed to getting laid off is a sign of a healthy job market because it indicates the individual has found or is confident in finding another job.
Retail sales posted soft increases for December driven by automotive and gas. Composite retail sales are up 0.6% but excluding automotive and gas, sales are only up 0.2%. Vehicle sales jumped 2.4% and gas is up 2.0%. The low numbers outside of automotive and gas indicates this was a particularly slow holiday season with consumers not spending as much as usual.
During his hearing, Dr. Ben Carson discussed the link between health and housing and posited some of his plans for public housing development and urban renewal. At the time of this publication Dr. Carson’s appointment has not yet been confirmed.
Sources: CNBC, MarketWatch, MarketWatch, Bloomberg, Mortgage News Daily