Last week’s economic reports included pending home sales, construction spending, and labor-sector readings on job growth and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.
Construction Spending Rises as Demand for Homes Increases
High demand for single-family homes drove construction spending up by 1.30 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of $1.44 trillion in October. The Commerce Department adjusted September’s reading to -0.50 percent. Analysts said that spending for commercial construction was flat after three successive months of lower spending. Business closures and a growing trend for working from home softened demand for commercial developments.
Pending home sales dropped by -1.10 percent in October as compared to September’s decline of -2.00 percent. Declines in pending home sales resulted from seasonal slowing in housing markets and rising cases of the coronavirus. Rising home prices caused by high demand for homes also caused fewer pending home sales. Uncertain economic conditions and concerns about the pandemic also contributed to the slower pace of home sales.
Mortgage Rates and Jobless Claims Drop
Mortgage rates dropped to record lows as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped by one basis point to 2.71 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped by two basis points to 2.26 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages dropped 30 basis points to 2.86 percent. Discount points for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 0.70 percent; discount points for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 0.60 percent. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent; all average points readings were unchanged from the prior week.
Initial and continuing jobless claims were lower last week. Initial jobless claims fell to 712,000 claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 781,000 first-time claims filed; analysts expected 780,000 initial claims to be filed. Ongoing jobless claims also fell last week with 5.52 million continuing claims filed as compared to 6.09 million ongoing claims filed in the prior week.
Public and Private-Sector Job Growth Falls in November
ADP reported 307,000 private-sector jobs added in November as compared to October’s reading of 404,000 jobs added. The government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report showed 245,000 public and private sector jobs added in November as compared to October’s reported 610,000 jobs added. The national unemployment rate fell to 6.70 percent in November from 6.90 percent reported in October. Lower rates of job growth coupled with a lower unemployment rate suggested that some workers left the jobs market.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on inflation and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.