There were few market moving events last week. The Employment report came in on target, and Congress passed the expected bill providing a two-week extension to government funding. Mortgage rates ended the week a little lower.
In November, the economy added 228,000 jobs, above the consensus forecast of 190,000. The economy has bounced back from the effects of the hurricanes, as the average job gains over the last three months were very close to the average of 174,000 jobs added per month in 2017. The unemployment rate was flat at 4.1%, matching the consensus. Average hourly earnings, an indicator of wage growth, fell slightly short of expectations. They were 2.5% higher than a year ago, up from an annual rate of 2.3% last month. The small upside surprise in job gains was offset by the minor miss in wage growth, and there was little reaction to the data.
The big event this week will be the meeting between the U.S. Fed and the European Central Bank (ECB). It is widely expected that the Fed will raise the federal funds rate by 0.250% for the third time this year. The greater potential for a surprise will come from the release of the Fed’s forecast for the pace of future rate hikes. At its last meeting in October, the ECB announced its plans for scaling back its bond purchases beginning in January. Following unexpectedly strong recent economic activity in the eurozone, investors will be more interested in any guidance about when the ECB will begin to raise rates.
Please reach out if you have any questions in regards to this, or if there is anything we can do for you and your valued clients.
Thank you for your continued support, have a productive week.
SVP, Regional Manager
THE CRAWFORD TEAM
V.I.P. Mortgage, Inc.