Morning Report: Mortgage banking jobs continue to fall

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change
S&P futures 2899 -48
Oil (WTI) 61.36 -0.58
10 year government bond yield 2.48%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 4.22%

 

Stocks are lower after Chinese stocks got rocked overnight. Bonds and MBS are up.

 

The Chinese stock market fell 6% overnight, perhaps on trade war fears. Trump tweeted about re-establishing Chinese tariffs next Friday, but Chinese media largely buried the story.

 

There isn’t much in the way of economic data this week aside from inflation data on Thursday and Friday. We do have a lot of Fed-speak though. The Fed has a communications issue, with the Fed Funds futures predicting a rate cut in 2019, while the debate internally seems to be between maintaining current policy and perhaps having to raise rates further. The Fed Funds futures are a bit of a mystery, given that economic data is nowhere close to recessionary. The consensus at the Fed seems to be wait and see, and aside from a few mentions of the Fed undershooting their inflation target, nobody seems to be pushing for rate cuts.

 

With Herman Cain and Steve Moore out of the picture, Donald Trump still has two seats to fill at the Fed. Former budget official Paul Winfree is being mentioned as a possible nominee.

 

The Spring selling season has not done much to increase mortgage banking jobs. In April, there were 318,000 people employed in the mortgage banking space, a drop of 4% from a year ago and a decline of 1% from the previous month. Separately, a shortage of construction labor is acting as a constraint on the homebuilding market. Much of the job decrease has been in the non-bank mortgage banking sector.

 

mortgage banking jobs

20 Responses

  1. Worth a read:

    “Thoughts on Barr and the Mueller Report
    By Jack Goldsmith
    Saturday, May 4, 2019, 2:50 PM”

    https://www.lawfareblog.com/thoughts-barr-and-mueller-report

    Liked by 1 person

    • jnc:

      Good article, although I do wonder if the transparently disingenuous criticisms of Barr that we’ve seen really merit such a considered rebuttal.

      And I’m not sure I agree with this:

      The nation badly needed a definitive account of Russian interference in the 2016 election and its relationship to the Trump campaign, and Mueller delivered that as credibly and completely as anyone could.

      I don’t think an investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election that fails to even mention, much less, well, investigate, the roots of the Steele Dossier can be said to be “complete”. For a more critical view of the competence of the Mueller investigation, see this:

      https://thefederalist.com/2019/05/06/major-report-omission-shows-mueller-either-incompetent-political-hack/

      Like

      • I don’t think that investigating the investigation was part of Mueller’s mandate. That falls to the IG.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jnc:

          I don’t think that investigating the investigation was part of Mueller’s mandate

          I don’t see how it couldn’t have been. Part of his mandate was to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. Steele’s dossier was filled with false information that had ostensibly been obtained from Russian contacts. Was it the product of Russian disinformation designed to influence the election? We don’t know, but we might if Mueller had bothered to investigate it. And it’s hard for me to understand how someone tasked with investigating Russian attempts to influence the election could possibly have seen the Steele Dossier, and especially its provenance as Russian info, as being outside the mandate of his investigation.

          Like

        • Steele’s dossier was filled with false information that had ostensibly been obtained from Russian contacts.

          I expect jnc4p’s take is the take Mueller used, although I’d be prone to agree with your assessment. That is, if this sideshow was meant to be a serious investigation into Russian interference in the election. Which it was not. Which I don’t particularly blame Mueller for, because pretty much everybody in the press and apparently the FBI and probably most of the deep state had an a priori conclusion they wished to see amplified and hyperbolized, not a disclosure of facts. For something closer to that, one would have to look to Taibbi and Greenwald.

          Like

        • “And it’s hard for me to understand how someone tasked with investigating Russian attempts to influence the election could possibly have seen the Steele Dossier, and especially its provenance as Russian info, as being outside the mandate of his investigation.”

          He didn’t view it as being outside the investigation in terms of the allegations that were in it, and in fact discredited a lot of it by proving for example that Cohen wasn’t in Prague, etc.

          What he didn’t do was investigate the sourcing to the level you would prefer and instead took it as it was when it was provided to the FBI.

          I think the IG investigation into how the whole thing started is where the sorts of questions that you want answered will be addressed.

          Liked by 1 person

        • jnc:

          What he didn’t do was investigate the sourcing to the level you would prefer…

          But the sourcing of it is precisely what is relevant as regards Russian attempts to influence the election, especially in light of the fact that so much of the substance turned out to be baseless. Might the Russians have fed Steele with a bunch of disinformation in the hope that it would make its way into the public and have an impact on the election? Surely that might be the case, and it seems to me that attempting to answer that question is something that any serious investigation into Russian election interference would entail. I find it very odd that Mueller seems to have been entirely disinterested in this particular area of potential Russian meddling.

          Like

        • jnc:

          I think the IG investigation into how the whole thing started is where the sorts of questions that you want answered will be addressed.

          The IG is in a position to look into the behaviour US government employees, and whether or not the actions they took were both proper and properly predicated, which I also want answered. But what the IG is not in a position to do is a counterintelligence investigation into whether the Russians deliberately fed disinformation to an oppo researcher, in the hopes that it would have an impact on the election. Funnily enough, we actually already just had such a counterintelligence investigation, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to have investigated this at all.

          Like

        • Mueller wasn’t that investigation. It was a criminal one.

          Like

        • jnc:

          Mueller wasn’t that investigation. It was a criminal one.

          From Rosenstein’s letter appointing Mueller as Special Counsel:

          The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee in Intelligence on March 20, 2017…”

          https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3726408-Rosenstein-letter-appointing-Mueller-special.html

          From then-FBI Director James B. Comey‘s testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee in Intelligence on March 20, 2017 (emphasis added):

          I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/03/20/full-transcript-fbi-director-james-comey-testifies-on-russian-interference-in-2016-election/?utm_term=.4854d1ae4b28

          I am genuinely at a loss as to how anyone can reasonably think that the provenance of the Steele Dossier, which was known to have originated with information obtained from Russian intelligence contacts, falls outside an investigation into “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election”. It simply defies explanation.

          Like

      • I don’t think the nation badly needed the investigation. One side badly wanted it because they were convinced a priori that the worst was true, because they wanted it to be.

        The investigation seemed mainly a process of making Mountains out of molehills, and I don’t mean the accusations leveled at Trump. It was taking minor examples of what various parties in the general vicinity of Russia do constantly.

        And I have a real problem with the “hacked the election” terminology pundits use so often (where? In what way? What part of “Russia”?) and the whole idea that a minor buy of Facebook ads targeted explicitly at people who were already going to vote for Trump that directed people to clickbait sites were doing it to interfere with the election rather than trying to creating a set of viral articles that would make them money and harvest contact info …

        We did not need this investigation.

        Like

  2. Apparently the KosKidz are HUGE free traders.

    https://m.dailykos.com/stories/1855925

    The comments anew really interesting.

    Like

    • If Trump were to impose these tariffs, they would be a regressive tax, paid for by consumers

      What do they think every other tax is? Income tax comes out of consumers income. Whether they buy anything or not. Property tax penalized people who purchase property. Every tax is frickin’ regressive.

      Check the price of groceries at Wal-Mart. Up about 20% across the board in the last month.

      Is this because all of our grocery importing from China?

      Like

      • “Check the price of groceries at Wal-Mart. Up about 20% across the board in the last month.”

        Oh bullshit. ag commodity prices are largely flat last month, and most are down on a yoy basis.

        Like

  3. The KosKidz desire to impeach Trump is fascinating. Most recognize that popular opinion is not with them but they are convinced beyond all measure that televised impeachment proceedings will turn around public opinion. The model they use is Nixon. They forget (and long long for a return to) that there are more than 3 or 4 channels. They model they should look to is Clinton’s impeachment hearings. They were also televised but most people did not watch them. Most people aren’t going to watch the Trump impeachment hearings either.

    https://m.dailykos.com/stories/1855973

    It’s interesting to me just how convinced they are that televised hearings are the key to success.

    Like

    • They thought the same thing about Iran – Contra.

      Like

    • I’ve found that a lot of progressives seem to subscribe to an obsolete theory of media influence.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypodermic_needle_model

      Liked by 1 person

    • The bubble. They spend so much time “debating” about politics with like-minded souls the forget that most people just don’t care that much. The bubble strikes again. They also forget the critical people to influence are swing voters and squishes, but anything televised will be targeted at hard partisans. I considered myself a serious liberal back in college, and I found myself really not liking the politicians grilling Oliver North. And that was then. I don’t think I would have been more impressed if they had brought in buckets of fried chicken sounds and started making bwak-bwak-bwak! noises at him.

      You have to admire their optimism if the face of repeated failure, though.

      Like

  4. Pelosi, at least, sees the only likely consequences to a Trump impeachment would be negative for the Democrats. So there’s that.

    Like

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