Economic update for the week ending January 7, 2017

156,000 new jobs added in December – While 156,000 new jobs was slightly below the number analysts expected, it marked a record 75 straight months of job gains. For 2016, the economy added over 2 million jobs. The unemployment rate ticked up from 4.6% in November to 4.7% in December as more workers began a job search. The unemployment rate has dropped more that 50% since October 2009, when the unemployment rate was 10%. Wages were the bright spot of the report. Although job growth has been steady over the last 75 months,  wages, which usually move up as the unemployment rate drops, have shown disappointing growth. In December, wages were 2.9% higher than last December. The best year over year wage growth since 2009. 

Stocks end week up after strong job and wage report is released – All indexes hit all time record highs. At one point the DOW was just 4 points from 20,000.

The DOW Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 19,963.80, up from last week’s close of 19,762.60. The S&P 500 ended the week at 2,276.98, up from its close of 2,238.83 last week. The NASDAQ closed the week at 5,521.16, up from last week’s close of 5,383.12.

U.S. Treasury Bond yields – The 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond closed the week yielding 2.42%, down from 2.45% last Friday. The 30-year Treasury Bond yield closed the week at 3.00%, down from 3.08% last week. Mortgage rates follow bond yields, so we watch treasury bonds closely.  

Mortgage rates slightly lower this week – The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey released on January 5, 2017 showed that average mortgage rates from lenders surveyed for the most popular mortgage products were as follows: The 30-year fixed rate average was 4.20%. The 15-year fixed average rate was 3.44%. The 5/1 ARM average rate was 3.33%. 

2016 U.S. auto sales have record breaking year in 2016 – Unexpectedly strong auto sales in December helped the auto industry break last year’s record. 2016 saw 17.55 million new vehicles sold, beating 2015’s record of 17.47 million vehicles.

Have a great weekend!