Market Forecast: Consumer Credit, Job Openings, and Retail Sales
Last week, mortgage rates opened the year with a week-over-week decline. This week is the first full week of the new year with several important economic reports including consumer credit, JOLTS, and retail sales.
Consumer credit is a measure of the value of consumer installment credit outstanding. Healthy growth in consumer credit is a positive economic measure indicating responsible spending and borrowing. Too much growth in consumer credit can be negative if there is too much debt relative to income levels. The demand for credit has a direct impact on interest rates.
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) tracks the monthly change in job openings. JOLTS forecasts the strength of the labor market breaking down the report by job openings, hirings, and separations.
Retail sales measures consumer spending in stores that sell merchandise and food services. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy. Growth in spending is reflective of income growth and credit confidence, while decline in spending may foreshadow economic downturn.
Mortgage rates have gone up since the presidential election and then the federal interest rate hike. The Federal Open Market Committee forecasts three additional rate hikes this year as the economy strengthens.
Sources: Mortgage News Daily, MarketWatch, Bloomberg