More hardworking Americans were getting jobs in April, as the labor market bounced back from March.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 211,000 jobs were created, above the 180,000 expected. The weak March number of 98,000 was revised lower to 79,000. February was revised higher to 232,000 from 219,000. The Unemployment Rate fell to 4.4 percent, the lowest level in 10 years. Within the report, it showed that total unemployment, or the U-6 number, fell to 8.6 percent from 8.9 percent, the lowest since November 2011 before the onset of the Great Recession.
The Fed left its monetary policy unchanged at its May 2-3 meeting, noting there were signs of strength in the labor market and that inflation was near its target of 2 percent. The Fed also said that it felt the weak first quarter economic growth was "transitory."
In housing news, home price gains remain robust. Leading analytics firm CoreLogic reported that home prices, including distressed sales, rose 7.1 percent from March 2016 to March 2017. It was the 62nd consecutive month of gains. From February to March, prices were up 1.6 percent. The year-over-year home price index is now just 2.8 percent below its 2006 peak. Despite weak economic growth, home prices continue to rise due in part to low inventories of homes for sale.
Home loan rates remain attractive, which is positive news in the face of rising home prices.
If you or someone you know is in the market for a new home or a home refinance, please contact me. I'd be happy to answer any questions about home loan rates and products.
Forecast for the Week
Merchants are looking for signs of a Retail Sales rebound when April numbers are released on Friday.
Economic data is on the slow side this week beginning on Thursday with weekly Initial Jobless Claims.
We'll get a read on inflation with the Producer Price Index on Thursday and the Consumer Price Index Friday.
Also on Friday, Retail Sales and the Consumer Sentiment Index will be delivered.
Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve. In contrast, strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.
When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving. When Bond prices are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.
To go one step further, a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes are on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.
As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds experienced some ups and downs recently. Home loan rates remain attractive and near historic lows.
Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday May 05, 2017)