Aside from the Independence Day fireworks and the first named hurricane of the season, economic activity has been fairly quiet. But several key releases did make waves—read on for the highlights.
Table Source: Vantage Production, LLC
Research firm CoreLogic reported that there were 47,000 completed foreclosures across the nation this May, down from 52,000 in May 2013. In addition, approximately 660,000 homes were in some stage of foreclosure in May, compared to 1 million homes a year earlier. While foreclosures have eased overall, CoreLogic noted that there is still a backlog of foreclosed properties across the nation that has to be dealt with “to ensure the return of a healthy housing market.”
In labor market news, weekly initial jobless claims fell by 11,000 in the latest week, coming in at 304,000. Claims continue to hover near seven-year lows, and while this is a good sign, the labor markets are still under pressure. Even though the Jobs Report for June was positive overall, the report did show that while 2.15 million people gained employment, 2.35 million dropped out of the labor force. In all but two months since December 2008, more people left the labor force than found jobs. This will be an important metric to monitor as we measure the strength of the labor markets moving forward.
Perhaps the biggest splash of all came Wednesday when the minutes from the Fed’s June meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee were released. The minutes revealed that if the economy stays on track in the coming months, the Fed will taper its bond-buying program by $10 billion at its July and September meetings, before making a final $15 billion reduction at its meeting in October. However, the Fed did note that it will continue to support low home loan rates through another program. This will be a key story to watch through the remainder of the year.