Last week’s economic reporting included readings on construction spending, public and private sector job growth, and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.
Construction Spending Falls in August
The Commerce Department reported less construction spending in August as spending fell by -0.70 percent to $1.78 trillion as compared to July’s reading of $1.79 trillion. August construction spending was lower than the expected reading of -0.20 percent and July’s revised construction spending reading of -0.60 percent. Year-over-year construction spending rose by 8.50 percent.
Mortgage Rates Mixed, Jobless Claims Rise
Freddie Mac reported lower fixed mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped by four basis points to 6.66 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by six basis points to 5.90 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by six basis points to 5.36 percent.
Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 1.00 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.
Higher-than-expected jobless claims were reported last week with 219,000 initial claims filed. Analysts expected 203,000 new claims to be filed and the previous week’s reading was 190,000 first-time jobless claims filed. Continuing jobless claims were also higher with 1.36 million jobless claims filed as compared to 1.35 million ongoing claims filed during the previous week. Rising jobless claims suggest that layoffs are increasing.
The federal government also released month-to-month readings for public and private sector job growth and the national unemployment rate. Non-farm payrolls rose by 263,000 jobs in September, which fell short of the expected reading of 275,000 jobs added and the previous month’s reading of 315,000 jobs added. The national unemployment rate fell to 3.50 percent in September as compared to August’s reading of 3.70 percent and the expected reading of 3.70 percent.
ADP reported that 208,000 private-sector jobs were added in September as compared to August’s reading of 185,000 jobs added; Analysts expected 200,000 jobs added, which was revised from initial expectations of 132,000 jobs added. Nela Richardson, the chief economist at ADP, said that reopened schools and childcare providers supported parents’ ability to return to work after pandemic shutdowns.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee, readings on retail sales, and the University of Michigan’s initial monthly report on consumer sentiment.