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Browsing Posts tagged Inflation

Non-Farm Payrolls (Jan 2009-Dec 2010)On the first Friday of each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Non-Farm Payrolls report.

More commonly called “the jobs report”, the government’s data include raw employment figures and the Unemployment Rate.

The jobs report hit the wires at 8:30 AM ET today. It’s making big waves in the mortgage market and may help home affordability for buyers this weekend, and would-be refinancers across New Hampshire.

For this month, and for the rest of 2011, employment data will figure big in mortgage markets.

7 million jobs were lost in 2008 and 2009. Fewer than one million jobs were recovered in 2010. For the economy to fully recover, analysts believe that jobs growth is paramount.

Consider how job creation influences the economy:

  1. More jobs means more income and more spending
  2. More spending means more business growth
  3. More business growth means more job creation

It’s a self-reinforcing cycle and, as business grows, the economy expands, pushing stock markets higher. This tends to lead mortgage rates higher, too, because bonds can lose their appeal when stock markets gain.

According to the government, 103,000 jobs were created in December, and October’s and November’s figures were revised higher by a net 50,000 jobs for a total of 153,000 new jobs created. Economists expected a net gain of 135,000.

The Unemployment rate fell to 9.4, its lowest level since mid-2009.

Wall Street is voting with its dollars right now. Mortgage bonds are improving, pointing to slightly lower mortgage rates today.

The December jobs report was “average”, and home affordability is improving.  That means that investors will have a larger pool of end buyers, but also more competition for bargain properties

FOMC November 2010 MinutesThe Federal Reserve released its November 2-3, 2010 meeting minutes Tuesday afternoon. Mortgage rates in Massachusetts have been on the move since.

The Fed Minutes is a comprehensive review of Federal Open Market Committee meetings; a detailed look at the debates and discussions that shape our country’s monetary policy. The report is published 3 weeks to-the-day after the FOMC adjourns.

Fed Minutes add depth to the briefer, more well-known “statement” to the markets which is issued upon adjournment. As a comparison:

If the Fed Statement is the executive summary, the Fed Minutes is the novel. And, the extra words matter.

When the Federal Reserve publishes its minutes, it gives clues about the groups next policy-making steps.  For example, in November’s minutes, it’s revealed that the Fed discussed setting inflation targets for the economy; holding occasional policy briefings for the press; and, working to set yields on instruments such as the 10-year Treasury note.

In addition, the Federal Reserve acknowledged a video conference hosted October 15, the second such “unannounced” meeting of the year.  The other was May 9, 2010.

Bond markets have not taken kindly to the Fed Minutes. The minutes show a propensity toward Fed “action”, most of which markets believe to be inflationary. Inflation leads to higher mortgage rates and that’s exactly what we’ve seen.

As compared to Tuesday morning, mortgage applicants are finding conforming and FHA mortgage rates to be higher by as much as 0.375 percent. In “real life” terms, assuming a 30-year term, that’s an extra $264 in annual mortgage payments per $100,000 borrowed.

If you’re still rate shopping, consider getting locked today. As a result of the recent shift, mortgage rates are now at a 4-month high.