Fannie Mae reports that sentiment in the housing market hit a survey high in August due in part to a very favorable mortgage rate outlook. The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) rose to 93.8 last month, a fresh survey high. Within the report, there was a big increase in the "mortgage rates will go down" component. The HPSI is up 5.8 points compared to the same time last year. Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist said, "We do expect housing market activity to remain relatively stable, and the favorable rate environment should continue supporting increased refinance activity.”
Job openings across the US remained at near record levels in August as the labor market continues be a beacon of light in a somewhat slowing economy. The Labor Department reports that there were 7.2 million job openings on the last day of August, just below the all-time high of 7.6 million reached in the beginning of 2019. Job openings increased in a number of industries, with the largest increases in wholesale trade (+91,000), real estate and rental and leasing (+60,000), and information (+42,000).
Small business optimism remained just below record highs slipping in August because fewer owners said they expect better business conditions and real sales volumes in the coming months. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index slipped 1.6 points to 103.1 last month, remaining within the top 15% of readings. NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan said, "Small business owners continue to invest, grow, and hire at historically high levels, and we see no indication of a coming recession." The report went on to say that the main impediment to more growth is the record level of no qualified workers.