Mortgage Rates News
Yesterday afternoon’s release of the Fed Beige Book didn’t yield any significant surprises. For the most part, it indicated that economic activity grew at a slow or modest pace in most of the Federal Reserve regions since the last update. That was widely expected therefore, it did not alter theories about FOMC monetary policies and didn’t have much of an impact on the markets.
Economic News and Mortgage Rates
The Labor Department gave us the first of this morning’s three pieces of economic data when they posted last week’s unemployment figures. They announced early this morning that 340,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week, down from the previous week’s revised total of 347,000. This was lower than the 350,000 that was expected, which would have been an increase in initial claims. That makes the data negative for the bond market and current home mortgage rates because it points towards a strengthening employment sector and an overall stronger economy.
Productivity Index and Mortgage Rates
The second report of the morning was the revised Productivity index for the 4th Quarter of last year. It showed a decline in worker productivity at an annual pace of 1.9%, meaning workers were slightly more productive during the last three months of the year than previously estimated but less than analysts were expecting to see. Therefore, we should consider the data slightly negative for bonds and mortgage pricing although this data is not considered to be highly important.
Goods and Services Trade Balance Report and Mortgage Rates
January’s Goods and Services Trade Balance report concluded this morning’s economic releases, but is the week’s least important report. It revealed a $44.4 billion trade deficit that was higher than the $43.0 billion that was expected and much higher than December’s $38.1 billion. However, with this report considered to be of low importance to mortgage rates, it has not had an influence on today’s pricing.
Tomorrow’s Economic Data and Mortgage Rates
Tomorrow’s sole piece of economic data is a major release that is arguably the most important monthly report we see. The Labor Department will release February’s Employment report at 8:30 AM ET tomorrow. Some of the important portions of the report will give us the unemployment rate, number of new jobs added or lost and the average hourly earnings reading. The best combination for the bond market and current home mortgage rates would be an increase in the unemployment rate, a much smaller increase in payrolls than expected and little or no increase in earnings. Current home mortgage rates forecasts are calling for no change in the unemployment rate of 7.9% and approximately 165,000 new jobs added to the economy. Stronger than expected readings will likely fuel a stock market rally and selling in bonds that would cause a sizable upward revision to mortgage rates. On the other hand, disappointing numbers would raise concerns about the economy’s ability to continue to grow that would have an opposite impact on the markets and mortgage pricing. This is a key piece of data, so please proceed cautiously if still floating a current home mortgage rates.