Job growth slowed in March due in part to some harsh weather across the nation.
Job growth slowed in March due in part to some harsh weather across the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 103,000 jobs created in March, lower than the 175,000 expected. On the surface, it looks like a disappointing report, but as you dig deeper there are positives within the numbers. February Non-Farm Payrolls were revised higher to 326,000 from 313,000 while January was revised lower to 176,000 from 239,000.
The U6 number, or total unemployment, fell to 8% from 8.2% while the Labor Force Participation Rate was steady at 62.9. Average hourly earnings came in at 0.3%, higher than the 0.2% expected while year-over-year wage growth ticked up to 2.7% from 2.6% percent in February. For the first three months of 2018, there was an average 202,000 jobs created, compared to 177,000 in the same period last year. The Unemployment Rate was unchanged at 4.1%.
After climbing since the beginning of the year, mortgage rates edged lower this week ...
After climbing since the beginning of the year, mortgage rates edged lower this week giving potential borrowers some relief. Freddie mac reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell four basis points this week to 4.40% with an average 0.5 in points and fees added on top of that rate. Freddie Mac says that "though rates are up slightly from a year ago, a robust labor market is helping home purchase demand weather modestly higher rates."
U.S. employers announced large jobs cuts in March after almost a year relatively low planned layoff activity. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports that there were 60,357 planned layoffs last month, an increase of 71% from February's 35,369 planned cuts. Last month's total is the highest monthly total since April 2016. John Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. said, "Last month's plans may indicate that growth could be slowing down, especially as the market continues to tighten."
The closely watched Jobs Report for March will be released tomorrow and always carries big headline risk for traders and investors. It is estimated that employers added 175,000 new workers in March after the blowout 313,000 created in February, while the Unemployment Rate is expected to tick lower to 4% from 4.1%. The ADP report earlier this week came in much hotter than expected - so it does set the bar a bit higher for a good number.
CoreLogic reports that home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, jumped 7% from November 2016 to November 2017 and increased 1% month over month from October to November.
CoreLogic reports that home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, jumped 7% from November 2016 to November 2017 and increased 1% month over month from October to November. Looking ahead, price gains are expected to cool a bit as CoreLogic sees a 4.2% increase from November 2017 to November 2018. CoreLogic’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft, said, “Growing numbers of first-time homebuyers find limited for-sale inventory for lower-priced homes, leading to both higher rates of price growth for starter homes and further erosion of affordability.”
Online real estate database company Zillow reports that the total value of all U.S. homes in 2017 was $31.8 trillion. The top cities for value were Los Angeles at number one worth $2.7 trillion followed by New York at $2.6 trillion. The $31.8 trillion is more than 1.5 times the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the U.S. and approaching three times the size of China's GDP. In 2017, renters spent a record $485.6 billion with renters in New York and Los Angeles spending the most.
The last week of 2017 saw mortgage rates hit a five-month high though still below the rates seen at the end of 2016 and early 2017. Freddie Mac reported last Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 3.99% with an average 0.5 in points and fees. Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage.
The minutes from the July Federal Open Market Committee meeting were released yesterday ...
The minutes from the July Federal Open Market Committee meeting were released yesterday revealing a bit of dissension amongst the Fed members, while most are concerned about persistently low inflation levels. In addition, Fed members are not in alignment on when to hike rates, when to trim their $4.5 trillion balance sheet and the effects of low inflation.
The Fed's favorite inflation gauge, the Core PCE, fell to 1.5% annually in the July reading, below the 2% target range. Some members said inflation is likely to remain low and beneath the target range for longer than expected. Fed officials do remain in favor of making some sort of an announcement at the September meeting regarding when the balance sheet will begin to wind down. The Fed's balance sheet is made up of treasury and Mortgage backed securities.
Mortgage rates continued to edge lower this week due in part to low levels of inflation. Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 3.89% from 3.90% with 0.4 in points and fees. Last year this time the rate was 3.43%. With mortgage rates holding steady, refinancing activity should remain high, particularly for cash out refinancings.