Last week’s economic reports included readings on construction spending and reports on the national unemployment rate and job growth. Weekly reporting on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.
Construction Spending Increases as Demand for Homes Rises
Homebuilders responded to increased demand for single-family homes and increased their spending in November. Construction spending rose by 0.90 percent as compared to projected spending of 1.10 percent and 1.60 percent growth in November. Demand for homes increased in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Homeowners left urban areas and bought larger homes in suburban and rural areas. Low mortgage rates, flight from cities, and needs related to working from home and homeschooling fueled demand for single-family homes.
Construction spending tapered off in November due to seasonal slowdowns and winter weather but is expected to continue growing as record-low mortgage rates encouraged prospective and current homeowners to seek larger homes.
Mortgage Rates Mixed, Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported lower rates for fixed-rate mortgages as the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate rate mortgages fell by two basis points to 2.65 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped by one basis point to 2.16 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.75 percent and were four basis points higher. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed- rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points averaged 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
Jobless claims fell last week with 787,000 first-time claims filed as compared to 790,000 new claims filed in the prior week. Analysts expected 815,000 initial claim filings. Ongoing jobless claims were also lower with 5.07 million claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 5.20 million continuing jobless claims filed.
Jobs Growth Falls in December; National unemployment Rate Holds Steady
ADP reported 123,000 fewer private-sector jobs n December as compared to 804,000 private-sector jobs added in November. The federal government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report showed similar results for December’s reading on public and private-sector jobs. 140,000 fewer jobs were reported in December as compared to 336,000 public and private-sector jobs added in November. December’s national unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.70 percent.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on inflation, retail sales, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be reported.