Available jobs across the U.S. remained jut below record highs as the labor market continues to get back to more normal levels. The Labor Department reports that job openings fell to 10.4 million in August from the record 11.1 million seen in July. Job openings decreased in several industries with the largest decreases in health care and social assistance (-224,000); accommodation and food services (-178,000); and state and local government education (-124,000). Job openings increased in federal government (+22,000). The number of job openings decreased in the Northeast and Midwest regions.
The MBA reports that loans in forbearance fell 27bp in the latest week to 2.62%, the fastest pace in a year as mortgage holders exit COVID-19 programs. The MBA estimates that there are sill 1.3 million homeowners in forbearance plans. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans declined by 17 basis points to 1.21%. "Many borrowers reached the expiration of their forbearance term as we entered October. The pace of exits climbed to the fastest pace in over a year, and the share of loans in forbearance declined at the fastest rate since last October, dropping by 27 basis points," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA's Senior Vice President and Chief Economist.
More pain was seen at the pumps this week as gas prices hit a 7-year high in the latest survey. Motor club AAA reports that the national average price for a regular gallon of gasoline rose to $3.28. The big reason for the continued rise in gas prices is that the price of oil has gushed to $80/bbl, also a 7-year high. Today’s national average of $3.28 is 10 cents more than a month ago, $1.09 more than a year ago, and 63 cents more than pre-pandemic in 2019.