July 9th, 2019
Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on construction spending and reports on public and private sector jobs. Monthly readings for public and private sector jobs and the national unemployment rate were released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims.
Construction Spending Dips in May
May construction spending fell to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 0.80 percent growth at a pace of $1.3 trillion as compared to April’s reading, which was adjusted to 0.40 percent growth after reports of a flat reading. Year-over-year construction spending was 2.30 percent lower in May.
High materials costs and shortages of workers continued to dampen builder sentiment as shortages of available homes added to buyer concerns. Slower home price growth and shortages of affordable homes also impacted housing markets, but low mortgage rates encouraged qualified home buyers to lock in low rates.
Recent news reports suggest that economic growth may be slowing along with home price growth, but public and private-sector jobs grew in June after low readings in May. The Commerce Department’s Non-Farm Payrolls report showed 224,000 public and private sector jobs added in June; ADP reported 102,000 private-sector jobs added in June after May’s lean reading of 41,000 jobs added. The national unemployment rate ticked up to 3.70percent in June as compared to May’s reading of 3.60 percent.
Mortgage Rates Rise, New Jobless Claims Fall
Average mortgage rates rose last week according to Freddie Mac. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged two basis points higher at 3.78 percent. 15-year fixed mortgage rates averaged two basis points higher at 3.18 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose six basis points to 3.45 percent.
Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.
Initial jobless claims fell to 221,000 new claims filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 229,000 initial jobless claims.
This week’s economic reports include testimony by Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve and release of minutes of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting held in June. Reports on inflation and weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims will also be released.