The previous week offered a blend of economic updates, covering a report on the jobs market and weekly changes in mortgage rates.
The Jobs Report Was Released
This week, the monthly jobs report was released by the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics. It showed that the job market completely exceeded all expectations, adding 336,000 jobs during the month of September. That was far higher than the expected number of 170,000. It also represents a significant increase when compared to August, where the economy added a revised total of 227,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate remained relatively steady, coming in at 3.8 percent, which is the same as August. This jobs report is important because it could play a role in whether the Fed decides to raise interest rates in November or keep them the same. With the jobs growth exceeding all expectations, it could give the Fed reason to raise interest rates, as the Fed might believe the economy is still red hot and can tolerate higher interest rates.
A Shift in Mortgage Rates and Employment Dynamics
The 30-year fixed mortgage, the most popular in the United States, continues to trend upward. This week, the average 30-year fixed climbed to 7.8 percent, up significantly from 7.55 percent last week. This is also significantly higher than the rates were in August, which averaged around 7.15 percent. Some experts are stating that a potential rate of 8 percent is not out of the question.
The 15-year fixed mortgage rate has also continued to trend upward, albeit not as much. This week, the average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage was 7.12 percent, up from 7.05 percent last week. This is still significantly higher than the 6.5 percent average that we saw in August.
It is clear that these rising mortgage rates are putting a damper on those looking to buy a home; however, it does not appear to have caused a major drop in housing prices, although its impacts could still be yet to come.
Consumer Sentiment: A Mild Dip
Consumer sentiment appears to be holding steady, with the current numbers coming in around 68.1. This is still a bit lower than the numbers were in August when they came in at around 69.5. At the same time, the overall sentiment of the current economic conditions continues to trend downward, coming in around 71.4, compared to 75.5 in August.
Consumers are still concerned about inflation and rising interest rates, which make it harder to make ends meet. It will be interesting to see how the jobs report impacts consumer sentiment moving forward.
The Producer Price Index is due to be released next week, which is another key component of inflationary data. For now, all eyes will be on the Fed’s next meeting, which takes place in early November. The Fed will decide whether to raise rates or hold them steady for another cycle.