Multiple economic reports released last week indicate further improvement in economic conditions. Pending home sales, construction spending and ADP payrolls increased while Non-farm Payrolls fell and the national unemployment rate held steady. The details:
Pending Home Sales, Construction Spending Increase
According to the Commerce Department, pending home sales increased by 0.20 percent in October as compared to September's reading of -2.30 percent. Construction spending of 1.00 percent for October exceeded September's reading of 0.60 percent growth and expectations that October's reading would hold steady with a growth rate of 0.60 percent. Increased construction spending suggests that home builders may increase home building projects, which could relax tight inventories of available homes and ease demand for homes.
Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise
Average mortgage rates fell last week according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell by two basis points to 3.93 percent; average rates for 15-year fixed rate and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages also fell by two basis points with readings of 3.16 percent and 2.99 percent respectively. Average discount points were 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages. Average discount points for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage held steady at 0.50 percent.
New jobless claims rose last week with 269,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week's reading of 260,000 new claims and analysts' expectations of 265,000 new claims. The level of new jobless claims neared levels not seen since 2000. The four week rolling average of new claims dropped by 1750 claims to a reading of 269,250 new claims filed. The four-week rolling average of new jobless claims is considered less volatile than weekly readings which can be impacted by holidays and other anomalies that can cause volatility.
Labor Reports Show Growth, Unemployment Rate Unchanged
Hiring increases and lower layoffs have contributed to the lowest national unemployment rate since 2007. The national unemployment rate held steady at 5.00 percent. ADP reported 217,600 new jobs in November as compared to October's reading of 196,000 new private sector jobs. Non-Farm Payrolls reported lower job growth of 211,000 jobs as compared to expectations of 200,000 jobs added and October's reading of 298,000 jobs added. Non-Farm Payrolls covers government and private-sector jobs.
This week's scheduled economic releases include reports on job openings, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.