Last week’s economic reports included readings on construction spending, public and private-sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.
Construction Spending Rises in August
Construction spending rose 0.10 percent higher than in July according to the Commerce Department. Analysts expected construction spending to increase by 0.60 percent based on June’s reading of -0.70 percent. Construction spending was -2.70 percent lower year-over-year based on revisions to data going back to 2008.
Construction spending was impacted by multiple factors including costs of labor and building materials and inclement weather in some areas of the United States. As peak home buying season winds down to fall and winter, builders are expected to reduce spending. Builder concerns over the impact of tariffs on imported building materials continued to affect builders’ budgets.
Mortgage Rates Fall, Weekly Jobless Claims Rise
Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week; the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages was nine basis points lower at 3.49 percent. Rates for 15-year mortgages were six basis points lower and averaged 3.00 percent.
Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.30 percent and were one basis point lower. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
First-time jobless claims rose by 1000 claims to 217,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected 214,000 initial jobless claims based on the prior week’s reading of 216,000 first-time claims filed. No signs of layoffs were indicated in relation to the higher reading for new jobless claims.
The monthly reading for new jobless claims showed 216,250 new claims filed and was higher by 1500 new claims filed. The monthly reading is considered more stable than week-to-week readings for initial jobless claims.
Public and Private-Sector Jobs Reports Mixed, Unemployment Rate Holds Steady
ADP reported 195,000 private-sector jobs added in August. The Commerce Department reported 130,000 public and private sector jobs added; analysts expected 170,000 jobs added in August. The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.70 percent.
This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on inflation, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims will also be released.