Many more people found jobs in May, although job growth came in below expectations. Unemployment hit a 16-year low.
The Labor Department reported that job growth rose by 138,000 in May, below the 185,000 expected. March and April numbers were revised lower by 66,000. On a more positive note, the Unemployment Rate fell to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent and is at a new post-crisis low. Total unemployment, or the U6 number, fell to 8.4 percent, down from 9.4 percent last year. Rounding out the report, average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent versus the 0.3 percent expected and were up 2.5 percent from May 2016.
Consumer inflation ticked up slightly from March to April. Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), which excludes food and energy, was up 0.2 percent versus the 0.1 percent expected. Year over year, April Core PCE was down 1.5 percent from 1.6 percent.
Home price gains remain strong. The March S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index rose 5.9 percent year over year from March 2016, matching the February reading. Gains are the biggest since July 2014. From February to March, prices were up 0.9 percent.
Although the Dow crushed its record-breaking high recently, home loan rates have been hovering near six-month lows.
If you or someone you know has any questions , please contact me today. I'd be happy to help.
Forecast for the Week
Investors will need to rely on other news to guide investment decisions in a week of few economic reports.
Economic data kicks off on Monday with the release of first quarter Productivity and the ISM Services Index.
The only other economic report will be Thursday's weekly Initial Jobless Claims.
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 hit six-month highs recently. Home loan rates remain near historic lows.
Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jun 02, 2017)