5/7/21 – EconUpdate by P. Duffy

EconUpdate by P. Duffy

Initial unemployment claims fall over 15 percent to 498,000

What doe this mean? Although initial claims fell sharply, continued claims remained elevated at nearly 3.7 million.

In the week ending May 1, initial unemployment claims were 498,000, a decrease of 92,000, or 15.6 percent, from the previous week’s revised level, to the lowest level since March 14, 2020.  Continued claims during the week ending April 24 were 3,690,000, an increase of 37,000, or 1.0 percent, from the previous week’s revised level.  The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending April 17 was 16,157,024, a decrease of 404,509, or 2.4 percent, from the previous week.


Fewer than 10 percent of renters and homeowners missed more than two payments during the pandemic

What does this mean?  A combination of stimulus payments, enhanced unemployment benefits and the rise of remote work helped most households stay current on payments.

Overall, 23.7% of renters and 14.2% of homeowners have missed at least one housing payment during the pandemic, but only 8.6% of renters and 6.8% of homeowners missed more than two payments. The study from the MBA found that 37.1% of student debt borrowers have missed more than two payments.


Home affordability slips to 63.1 percent in first quarter of 2021, lowest since early 2019

What does this mean?  Escalating home prices and higher mortgage rates combined to lower affordability.

63.1 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $79,900, down from 63.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, 66.0 percent in the first quarter of 2020 and the lowest rate since the second quarter of 2019.