Economic update for the week ending November 5, 2016

U.S. employers add 161,000 new jobs in October – Unemployment rate at 4.9% – The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. economy added a slightly less-than-expected 161,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate stood at 4.9 percent as investors got to digest the final payrolls report before Tuesday’s presidential election. Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected payrolls to grow by 175,000, so this was slightly below expectations. Wages exceeded expectations with average hourly earnings climbing 10 cents, reflecting a 2.8 percent annualized increase, according to the report. A broader measure of unemployment, that includes those who have stopped looking for jobs and those working part-time for economic reasons, fell to 9.5 percent, the lowest level since April 2008.

Stocks down this week – Stocks have fallen every day this week as investors grow cautious on uncertainty over the upcoming election. Oil prices fell this week as a report showed oil inventories are surging. The jobs report was very positive, especially with respect to wages,  which have finally began to rise after years of stagnation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 17,888.28, down from 18,161.19 last Friday. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,085.18, down from 2,126.42 last week. The NASDAQ closed the week at 5,046.37, down from last week’s close of 5,190.10.

U.S. Treasury Bond yields drop – While stocks dropped, investors moved money to bonds looking for safety. That caused bond yields to drop after several weeks of slight increases. The 10 year U.S. Treasury Bond yield closed the week at 1.79%, down from 1.86% last Friday. The 30-year U.S. Treasury Bond closed at 2.56%, down from 2.62% last week. Mortgage rates follow bond yields so we watch bond yields closely.

Mortgage rates slightly higher this week – The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey released on November 3, 2016 showed that average mortgage rates from lenders surveyed for the most popular mortgage products were as follows: The 30-year fixed rate average was 3.54%. The 15-year fixed average rate was 2.84%. The 5/1 ARM average rate was 2.87%. I’d expect rates to be slightly lower in next week’s survey based on where we were at the end of the week. 

Have a great weekend!