September 9th, 2020
Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on construction spending and labor sector reports on public and private sector jobs. The national unemployment rate was also reported. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.
July Construction Spending Rises
Construction spending rose from June’s seasonally adjusted annual pace of $1.363 billion to $1,365 billion in July. The U.S. Census Department reports construction spending and readings are subject to adjustment. Growth in construction spending is due to a demand for homes in less congested areas.COVID-19 is creating more demand for larger homes that accommodate working from home.
Mortgage Rates Mixed as Jobless Claims Fall
Mortgage rate activity was mixed last week amid incremental changes. Freddie Mac reported that rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose two basis points to 2.93 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by four basis points to 2.42 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 2.93 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
New and continuing jobless claims fell last week. 881,000 initial jobless claims were filed last week as compared to 1.01 million first-time claims filed the prior week.13.25 million continuing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to Ongoing jobless claims were lower last week with 13.250 million claims filed as compared to 14.490 million ongoing unemployment claims filed during the prior week. Falling jobless claims indicate strengthening economic conditions as businesses reopen and employers rehire former employees and add new employees.
Jobs Growth Reports Mixed, National Unemployment Rate Falls
ADP reported 428,000 private-sector jobs added in August as compared to July’s reading of 212,000 jobs added. The Commerce Department’s Non-Farm Payrolls report showed 1.37 public and private-sector jobs.added in August as compared to 1.73 million jobs added in July. Analysts said that looming layoffs in airlines and travel sectors could slow job growth. The national unemployment rate fell to 8.40 percent in August from July’s reading of 10.20 percent.
Based on these readings, the economy is rebounding from the impacts of COVID-19, but analysts were cautious as the three-day Labor Day weekend approached. COVID-19 cases rose after the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays. Increasing cases of COVID-19 could cause state and local governments to impose restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include reports on inflation and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.