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NWQWM Morning Financial Report

New claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but the labor market remains tight amid worker shortages, with the number of Americans on jobless rolls at its lowest level since 1969 in early May.  Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 218,000, the highest level since January.

Sales of previously owned homes in April fell to the lowest pace since the pandemic started, according to the National Association of Realtors.  Existing home sales declined 2.4% compared with March to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 5.61 million units. Sales were 5.9% lower than in April 2021. That is the slowest rate since June 2020, which was artificially slow since the economy was struggling with sweeping shutdowns due to the coronavirus. This count represents closings during the month, so it reflects contracts likely signed in February and March, when mortgage rates were rising. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage started February at 3.66% and ended March at 4.78%. It is now hovering around 5.45% so sales numbers in June will likely drop again.

Intel said they are going to build a $700 million research center at their Jones Farm campus in Hillsboro where the company will study new technologies for cooling data centers.  The new “mega lab” will investigate ways to make data centers operate more efficiently, primarily by reducing their heating, cooling and water needs. The 200,000-square-foot facility, slated to open late next year, will also provide space for Intel to test new data center technologies.

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