Economic Update For The Week Ending November 7, 2020


October Job gains beat expectations -The Department of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. economy added 638,000 new jobs in October. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% in October from 7.9% in September. These numbers beat analysts’ expectations of 530,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate of 7.7%. It should also be noted that private employers added 906,000 jobs, but 268,000 government jobs were lost in October. That included 147,000 census workers that were hired to complete the census count, which is now concluded.

Stock markets posted their highest weekly gain in six months – Stock markets soared this week erasing most of their losses suffered over the last three weeks. Strong data outweighed COVID concerns as investors pushed up stock prices. Retail sales, housing sales, industrial output, and corporate earnings all exceeded expectations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 28,343.40, up 6.9% from 26,501.60 last week. It’s down 0.8% year-to-date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 3,509.44, up 7.3% from 3,269.96 last week. It’s up 8.6% year-to-date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 11,895.23, up 9.0% from 10,911.59 last week. It’s up 32.6% year-to-date.

U.S. Treasury bond yields – The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 0.83%, down from 0.88% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 1.60% down from 1.66% last week. We watch bond yields because mortgage rates often follow treasury bond yields.

Mortgage rates – The November 5, 2020, Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 2.78%, down from 2.81% last week. The 15-year fixed was 2.32%, unchanged from 2.32% last week. The 5-year ARM was 2.89%, almost unchanged from 2.88% last week.