Daily News 4/30/2015

April 30, 2015

Thursday – April 30

The number of Americans filing for first time unemployment benefits fell to a 15-year low in the latest week, signaling that the downtick in March was just a one-time event. Weekly Initial Jobless Claims fell by 34K to 262,000 versus the 290,000 expected. The 262,000 was the lowest level since April 2000. A recent report from the Labor Department showed that job openings rose to their highest level in 14 years, which is signaling stronger job growth in the months ahead.

Another good sign that the labor market is improving was a report out today that revealed that labor costs rose in the first quarter of 2015. As labor costs rise, the job market tightens, which should eventually lead to a rise in workers’ wages. The Employment Cost Index rose by 0.7% in the January through March period, just above the 0.6% expected. On an annual basis, employment costs rose 2.6%, the fastest rise since the fourth quarter of 2008. As the economy continues to heal, economists feel that wages should continue to increase.

Home ownership rates have moved to their lowest levels since 1990 due to weak income growth and hard-to-get financing to purchase a home. The rate fell to 63.8% in the first quarter of 2015, the lowest since the end of 1989. Other factors that are holding back a higher percentage of homeownwership: higher prices along with millions of properties being underwater, which is when a homeowner owes more than the home is worth. And while the rate has declined, the 63.8% is more inline with the average long term trend between the 1960’s and 1990’s.