Market Forecast: Job Openings, Consumer Credit, Mortgage Apps

Blog posted On January 07, 2019

The only significant housing report scheduled for release this week is the weekly mortgage application survey.  Other market-moving reports include the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and consumer credit.

The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) tracks month to month changes in job openings, hirings, and voluntary quits.  In October, job openings reached 7.08 million, the second highest level of all time.  The record high level of job openings plus the record low unemployment rate suggest the labor market is tighter than ever.  The number of hires just barely exceeded 6 million and the quits rate fell slightly to a level of 3.51 million. 

Consumer credit measures total outstanding consumer debt segmented by revolving and nonrevolving credit.  Revolving credit includes shorter-term debt like monthly credit card payments and nonrevolving credit includes installment credit like student loans and car loans, but not mortgage debt.  Growth in consumer borrowing can be a sign of economic strength, with consumers taking on debts they are comfortable they can pay back.  Too much consumer borrowing can be a sign of trouble, because consumers are borrowing too much to make ends meet.  In October, total consumer credit increased 7.7% year-over-year to a level of $25.4 billion.  Revolving credit increased 10.7% annually to a level of $9.2 billion and nonrevolving credit increased 6.7% annually to a level of $16.2 billion. 

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly mortgage application survey tracks week to week changes in new purchase and refinance mortgage applications.  For the two-week period ending 12/28, mortgage application submissions declined a composite 9.8%.  New purchase application submissions were down 8% and refinance application submissions were down 12%. 

The US government remains in a state of partial shutdown due to a spending dispute regarding a border wall along the Mexican border.  Some economic indicators have had their releases delayed due to the government shutdown. 


Sources: Bloomberg, CNBC, Econoday, HousingWire, MarketWatch, Mortgage News Daily