Last week’s housing related news was limited to Construction Spending and Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates survey, but labor reports suggested an economic slowdown may be in the works.
Construction Spending Slips in April, Mortgage Rates Mixed
According to the Commerce Department, overall construction spending slipped in April to -1.80 percent as compared to March’s reading of +1.50 percent and May’s expected reading of +0.70 percent. Residential construction spending was 1.50 percent lower, which doesn’t help ongoing shortages of available single-family homes. Builders have repeatedly cited labor shortages and lack of developed lots as obstacles to building more homes. Year-over-year construction spending was 4.50 percent higher.
Freddie Mac reported higher rates for fixed-rate mortgages while the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 1.87 percent. Rates for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage averaged two basis points higher at 3.66 percent; rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgages were three basis points higher at 2.92 percent. Average discount points were unchanged for all loan types at 0.50 percent.
Labor Reports Indicate Slowing Jobs Market And Economy
According to the Non-farm Payrolls report for May, U.S. jobs increased at their lowest rate in five years with 38,000 new private and public sector jobs added. Temporary hiring also hit its lowest reading in seven years, which was seen as a negative as temporary jobs often transition to permanent positions.
Analysts said that May’s extremely low reading for jobs created indicates that a revision is likely. This inconsistency was supported by the national unemployment rate of 4.70 percent, but the lower jobless rate was attributed to workers leaving the labor force.
ADP’s May reading for private sector jobs rose to 173,000 jobs against expectations of 165,000 jobs and April’s reading of 268,000. This reading was further evidence that the Non-farm Payrolls report was likely inaccurate.
Last week’s new jobless claims fell to a five-week low of 267,000 as compared to expectations of 279,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 268,000 new claims.
What’s Ahead This Week
Economic news scheduled for this week include a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Monday; this speech could foreshadow the Fed’s decision to raise or not raise the Fed’s target federal funds rate during its FOMC meet