2/7: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

January planned job cuts spiked to highest level in almost a year

January job cuts announced by U.S.-based employers jumped 106 percent to 67,735, the highest monthly total since February 2019.  It’s also up 27.8 percent year-on-year.



Labor productivity up 1.4 percent in 4Q 2019 and 1.8 percent year-on-year

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, as output increased 2.5 percent and hours worked increased 1.1 percent. From the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019, productivity increased 1.8 percent, reflecting a 2.7-percent increase in output and a 0.9-percent increase in hours worked.



Mortgage applications rise 5.0 percent to highest level since May 2013

The Market Composite Index increased 5.0 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier to its highest level since May 2013.  Purchase loans fell 10 percent from the previous week, but were up 11 percent year-on-year, while refinance activity rose 15 percent from the previous week (to the highest level since June 2013) and was 183 percent higher year-on-year.  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.71 percent from 3.81 percent.