“These are extraordinary times.” (Bon Jovi) December marked the 87th month in a row for job growth, the longest stretch on record. However, there was some mixed news within the report.
The Labor Department reported that 148,000 new jobs were created in December. While this was below the 188,000 expected, November’s figure was revised higher to 252,000 new jobs from the 228,000 originally reported. This means that the economy produced 2 million jobs for seven straight years, which is a record!
And there were more positive signs for the labor sector. The unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent, a 17-year low. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent from November’s 0.2 percent and increased 2.5 percent year-over-year, above the 2.4 percent annually in November. Overall, this was a good report.
Home prices remained on the rise in November. Research firm CoreLogic reported that home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, jumped 7 percent from November 2016 to November 2017 and increased 1 percent month-over-month from October to November. However, price gains are expected to cool as CoreLogic forecasts a 4.2 percent increase from November 2017 to November 2018. CoreLogic’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft, said, “Growing numbers of first-time homebuyers find limited for-sale inventory for lower-priced homes, leading to both higher rates of price growth for starter homes and further erosion of affordability.”
At this time, home loan rates remain attractive and near historic lows.
The second half of the week heats up with key reports on inflation and Retail Sales.
- Look for a double dose of inflation news with the Producer Price Index on Thursday and the Consumer Price Index on Friday.
- Weekly Initial Jobless Claims will also be reported on Thursday.
- On Friday, Retail Sales and the Consumer Sentiment Index will be released.
If you or someone you know has questions about home financing or home loan rates please contact me. I’d be happy to help.