Rates Even Pre-ECB (and recap today’s data)

Rates are even—and at record lows—again today as mortgage bond markets await the big events of the week: tomorrow’s ECB monetary policy decision and Friday’s August jobs report here in the U.S. Continuing rate lock advisory before these events (more here), and below is a recap of today’s U.S. economic data.

Mortgage Applications (week ended 8/31/2012) 
– Purchase Index – Week/Week -0.8 %
– Refinance Index – Week/Week -3.0 %
– Composite Index – Week/Week -2.5 %
– The purchase index had been +1.0% and +0.9% the two previous weeks.

Worker Productivity and Costs
– Nonfarm productivity, Quarter/Quarter (seasonally adjusted annualized) 2.2%
– Unit labor costs, Quarter/Quarter (seasonally adjusted annualized rate) 1.5%
– Productivity is GDP/hour worked. It moved up because GDP was up while hours worked was down.

Adjusted for inflation, compensation advanced at a 2.9% pace last quarter, following a 3.3% gain in the 1stQ2012.  Companies have, in general, leaned and become profitable but are still not confident enough in the recovery to generate significant hiring.

Chain Store Sales (week ended 9/1/2012)
– ICSC-Goldman Store Sales, Week/Week -0.4% 
– ICSC-Goldman Store Sales, Year/Year +3.7%

– Redbook Store Sales – Year/Year +2.5%

– The dip in week/week in ISCS may be caused in part by the hurricane.  Keep in mind that the year/year data have survivor bias because closed stores are no longer counted and those sales move, in part, to the surviving stores.