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In the News This Week

The number of job openings slipped to 4.99 million in March from a 14-year high in February, as the number of people hired ticked up to 5.1 million, according to the JOLTS report. With 8.58 million jobless in March, there were around 1.72 unemployed for every job opening.

Small business sentiment improved in April after struggling in March, as the NFIB optimism index gained 1.7 points to 96.9. Even though optimism improved following March’s weak reading, this was still the second-worst since last October.

Nine of the ten index components rose, with only real sales expectations slipping: “Small business owners are still wary of the future, and that’s most evident when we asked them about future sales”.

Retail sales were flat in April, as consumers continued to pocket savings from cheap gas. While Americans spent more at restaurants, they spent less on autos, electronic goods, home furnishings and fuel.

Producer prices slumped again in April, down .4% mainly on lower gasoline and food costs (the wholesale cost of food fell for the fifth straight month). The drop in prices marked the seventh decline in the past nine months.

Cash home sales continue to decline as the pool of cheap investments shrinks, slipping to 37.9% of total home sales in February, according to CoreLogic. The year-over-year cash share of sales has fallen every month since January 2013, making February the 26th consecutive month of decline. Cash sales peaked in January 2011 at 46.5% of sales, and at February’s rate of decline should fall to 25% by mid-2018. Today Florida has the highest share of cash sales at almost 55%.


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