5/4: MetroIntelligence Economic Update – P.DUFFY

April planned job cuts plummeted 40.2 percent from March, down 1.4 percent year-on-year

Job cuts announced by U.S.-based employers fell 40.2 percent in April, and were also down 1.4 percent year-on-year.  So far this year, employers have announced 176,460 job cuts, 8.38 percent more than those announced through the first four months of 2017, with 36.5 percent of those in retail.

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1Q 2018 Labor productivity up 0.7 percent from previous quarter and 1.3 percent year-on-year

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 0.7 percent during the first quarter of 2018, as output increased 2.8 percent and hours worked increased 2.1 percent. From the first quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018, productivity increased 1.3 percent, reflecting a 3.6-percent increase in output and a 2.2-percent increase in hours worked.

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April service sector economy index dips 2.0 points due to concerns about tariffs and inflation

The April NMI® registered 56.8 percent, which is 2 percentage points lower than the March reading of 58.8 percent. There was a slowing in the rate of growth that was mostly attributed to the decline in the Employment and Supplier Deliveries indexes. The respondents have expressed concern regarding the uncertainty about tariffs and the effect on the cost of goods.

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Bloomberg:  Consumer comfort drops to seven-week low as gas prices rise

Rising prices at the gas pump helped drive U.S. household sentiment to a seven-week low at the end of April, with the consumer comfort index falling 1.6 points to 56.5.  This is the largest drop since October.

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Mortgage applications fall 2.5 percent as rates rise to highest level since September 2013

The Market Composite Index decreased 2.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans down 2.0 percent and refinances falling 4.0 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to its highest level since September 2013, 4.80 percent.

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Initial unemployment claims rise 2,000 in weekly report

In the week ending April 28, initial unemployment claims were 211,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 209,000. The 4-week moving average was 221,500, a decrease of 7,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 229,250. This is the lowest level for this average since March 3, 1973 when it was 221,250.

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