“Happy ever after in the marketplace.” (The Beatles) Many job hunters were singing a happy tune as job growth surged in February.
Non-farm payrolls rose by 313,000 last month, well above the 210,000 expected, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. This was the largest gain since July 2016. December’s and January’s figures were also revised higher by a total of 54,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent.
The report also showed that wage growth cooled, rising just 0.1 percent. Year-over-year, wage growth slowed to 2.6 percent from the 2.9 percent in January, which has soothed fears of wage inflation. Overall, this was a solid report.
Research firm CoreLogic reported that home prices, including distressed sales, rose 6.6 percent from January 2017 to January 2018. Home prices were up 0.5 percent from December to January. However, 48 percent of the top 50 markets were considered overvalued.
President Trump signed off on tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum. The tariffs exempt Mexico and Canada for now and leave the door open for negotiations with other countries. Investors will be watching closely to see how the markets react as this news develops.
Mortgage bonds have been trading in a sideways pattern in recent weeks, unable to make any significant improvement. Home loan rates have risen for the last nine weeks but remain near historic lows.
Data will be plentiful, with key reports on retail sales, inflation and housing.
- Inflation data from the Consumer Price Index will be released on Tuesday, followed by the Producer Price Index on Wednesday.
- The Retail Sales report will also be released on Wednesday.
- From the manufacturing sector, the Philadelphia Fed and Empire State Indexes will be released on Thursday.
- Look for weekly Initial Jobless Claims on Thursday as well.
- In the housing sector, the NAHB Housing Market Index will be released Thursday, while Friday brings Housing Starts and Building Permits.
If you or someone you know has any questions about home loan rates or products, please reach out at any time. I’m always happy to help.