Last week’s economic reporting included readings on construction spending and labor sector readings on jobs and unemployment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.
Construction Spending Unchanged, Falls Short of Expectations
The Commerce Department reported that construction spending rose by 0.4 percent in November to a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of $1.63 trillion and 9.30 percent year-over-year, Residential construction spending drove spending higher; month-to-month spending rose by 0.90 percent in November and was 16 percent higher year-over-year. Analysts expected overall construction spending to rise by 0.70 percent from October to November.
High demand for homes continued to drive residential construction spending, but spending on office construction fell by 32.10 percent year-over-year. Work-from-home options increased as employers and workers faced covid-related challenges.
Mortgage Rates Rise; Jobs Data Mixed
Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose 11basis points to 3.22 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages was 10 basis points higher at 2.43 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was unchanged at 2.41 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.50 percent.
First-time jobless claims rose by 207,000 claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 200,000 initial claims filed. Analysts expected 195,000 new claim filings. Continuing jobless claims rose last week with 1.75 million ongoing claims filed; 1.72 million continuing jobless claims were filed in the prior week.
The government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report for December reported 199,000 public and private sector jobs added, which fell far short of the expected reading of 422,000 jobs added and November’s reading of 249,000 jobs added. Analysts said that the spread of the omicron variant of the covid virus slowed job searches and hiring.
ADP reported 807,000 private-sector jobs added in December, which surpassed expectations of 375,000 jobs added and November’s reading of 505,000 private-sector jobs added. The national unemployment rate fell to 3.90 percent as compared to the prior month’s reading of 4.20 percent. The unemployment rate is based on the number of unemployed workers actively seeking work and does not include workers who stopped looking for work.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on inflation and retail sales and weekly reporting on mortgage rates and jobless claims.