Mortgage Market Update 03-11-14

As the spring and summer driving seasons near, one thing is for certain – higher gas prices at the pump. The national average price for a regular gallon of gasoline is $3.48, up from $3.28 a month ago as prices have increased 28 straight days. AAA predicts that prices will rise an additional 10 to 20 cents this spring and could rise more if the tensions in the Ukraine ramps up. Russia is the third largest oil producing country behind Saudi Arabia and the U.S. and any disruptions could cause oil prices to increase.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that its JOLTS report, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, revealed that job openings rose by 1.5% from December to January. The report may not have as much impact as the monthly Jobs Report, but it does give insight into the labor market on hires, quits, layoffs and job openings. The report is also closely watch by newly appointed Fed Chair, Janet Yellen.

Fast food chain McDonald’s reported a larger than expected decline in comparable global sales in February, once again hurt by slowing sales in the U.S. Reports from restaurants said worldwide sales for stores open at least 13 months fell by 0.3%, below the -0.1% expected. McDonald’s said that sluggish economic growth, internal missteps, rising record beef prices, along with higher labor costs, are the hurdles that are hurting sales.