Economic update for the week ending October 7, 2017

U.S economy loses 33,000 jobs in September – Unemployment rate drops to 4.2% – Wages rise – The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy lost 33,000 jobs in September, which marked the first month in seven years that the U.S. lost jobs. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.2%, from 4.4% in August. Wages grew 2.9% from one year earlier. Analysts discounted the report, and it had little effect on the markets, because they felt that September’s hurricanes and storms skewed the numbers. According to experts, jobs lost due to hurricanes were lower paying jobs, so unfortunately, wages up nearly 3% was not a reliable figure. They expect wage growth to be closer to 2.5% next month. They also expect the number of new jobs to rebound next month, as employers resume hiring, which they delayed due to weather concerns. Workers also had temporarily stopped their job search, which made the unemployment figure appear lower. 

Markets hit record highs again this week – Stocks were up this week as encouraging economic data showed upward trends in the manufacturing and services sectors. Auto sales were also higher. While Friday’s September employment report was weak, experts felt that the impact from recent hurricanes skewed the numbers. They expect the economy to remain healthy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the week at 22,773.67, up from 22,405.09 last week. It’s up 15.2% year-to-date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,549.33, up from its close last week of 2,519.36. The S&P is up 13.9% YTD. The NASDAQ closed the week at 6,590.19, up from its last week’s close of 6,495.96. It’s up 22.4% year-to-date. 

Bond yields rise – The 10-year Treasury bond closed the week at 2.37%, up from 2.33% last week. The 30-year treasury yield ended the week at 2.91%, up from 2.86% last week. Mortgage rates follow treasury bond yields so we watch bond yields carefully.

Mortgage Rates just slightly higher this week – The October 5, 2017 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 3.85%, almost unchanged from 3.83% last week. The 15-year fixed was 3.15%, almost unchanged from 3.13% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.18%, almost unchanged from 3.20% last week. 

Home sales figures for September should be available next week. 

Have a great weekend!