3/5: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

Federal Reserve lowers federal funds rate by 50 basis points in emergency session

In light of the risks from the coronavirus and in support of achieving its maximum employment and price stability goals, the Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower the target range for the federal funds rate by 1/2 percentage point, to 1 to 1‑1/4 percent. The Committee is closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economic outlook and will use its tools and act as appropriate to support the economy.



ADP:  February private employment rose by 183,000

Private-sector employment increased by 183,000 in February, which compares to 209,000 jobs the previous month and 153,000 jobs in February 2019.  The BLS will release their employment figures this Friday, March 6th.



Mortgage applications rise 15.1 percent as rates drop to lowest level in seven years

The Market Composite Index increased 15.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans falling 3 percent (but up 10 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity rising 26 percent (and up 224 percent year-on-year).  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances decreased to 3.57 percent, its lowest level in seven years.