Economy Watch: Strong Jobs Numbers Broad Based; Mortgage Delinquencies Down Since Last Year

A lot of industries were hiring in June, with an increase of 288,000 workers. U.S. mortgage delinquencies in May were down by 3 percent compared to May 2013.

A lot of industries were hiring in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday, reporting the month’s employment numbers ahead of the Independent Day holiday weekend. With June’s increase of 288,000 workers, that means that over the past three months, job growth has averaged 272,000 per month.

Employment in professional and business services rose by 67,000 in June after having averaged 53,000 per month over the last 12 months. Management and technical consulting services, architectural and engineering services, and computer systems design and related services all showed positive employment bumps for the month.

Retail trade employment was up by 40,000 in June, significantly stronger than the average over the prior 12 months, which was 26,000 per month. Employment in food services and drinking places rose by 33,000 in June and has increased by 314,000 over the past year.

Healthcare facilities hired a net of 21,000 workers in June, a little better than the 12-month gain of 18,000 per month. Transportation and warehousing employment increased by 17,000 in June, a gain from its 12-month average of 11,000 jobs per month.

The BLS also reported that the number of long-term unemployed – those souls jobless for 27 weeks or more — declined by 293,000 in June to 3.1 million. All together, the long-term jobless accounted for about a third (32.8 percent) of the total unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has decreased by 1.2 million.

Mortgage Delinquencies Down Since Last Year 

Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS, which used to be LPS’ Data & Analytics division) released its latest Mortgage Monitor report on Thursday. According to BKFS, 5.62 percent of U.S. mortgages were delinquent in May, the same as in April. The company reports that 1.91 percent of mortgages are in the foreclosure process, down from 3.05 percent in May 2013.

BKFS also said that while residential refinance activity is still down significantly from 2012 levels (and early ’13 levels), it has increased 21 percent since January 2014. Black Knight found that residential mortgage-making activity has picked up, with about 897,000 purchase originations through April, a level on par with 2013 (898,000 over the same period), and better than 2012 (847,000). Overall, credit standards don’t seem to be easing, the company said, as both average LTV ratios and credit scores on both purchase and refinance originations remain relatively strict.

Wall Street reacted positively to the hale jobs report on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 92.02 points, or 0.54 percent, and in fact ended at an all-time nominal high of 17,068.26. The S&P 500 was up 0.55 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 0.63 percent.