Last week’s jobs report — a combination of the Department of Labor’s Non-farm Payrolls Report and Unemployment Rate — provided investors and job seekers with unexpected good news.
Job growth for February handily exceeded most economists expectations of 160,000 by adding 236,000 new jobs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment increased in business and professional services, construction and healthcare:
- Business and professional services added 73,000 jobs
- Construction added 48,000 jobs. Of these, 17,000 jobs were for residential construction.
- Healthcare added 32,000 jobs
Since September, construction employment has risen by 151,000. This increase in construction jobs may point to a strengthening in the home building sector.
Stronger home building numbers may lead to increasing home prices for sellers and property appreciation for home owners.
Strong Jobs Numbers Help Stock Market Rally, May Spur Higher Mortgage Rates
Retail has added 252,000 jobs over the past year. Hiring in retail suggests that consumers are spending more, which is a strong indicator of economic growth.
These figures demonstrate a trend toward economic recovery and added a last-minute boost to last week’s stock market rally.
Rising stocks generally cause bond prices including MBS to fall and mortgage rates to rise.
The seasonally adjusted employee participation rate declined by 0.40 percent year over year; in February 2012, the seasonally adjusted was participation rate was 63.9 percent; in February 2012, the participation rate was 63.5 percent.
The Unemployment Rate for February came in at 7.7 percent; this was lower than Investor expectations of 7.8 percent and January’s unemployment rate of 7.9 percent.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has decreased by.60 percent from 8.3 percent in February 2012.
Unemployment Rate Lowest Since December 2008
Long-term unemployment of 27 weeks or more accounted for 40.2 percent of February’s unemployed.
8 million workers are employed part time due to scheduling cutbacks or because they could not find full time work.
The Fed has benchmarked an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent as a sign of sufficient economic recovery that could allow the Fed to curtail its monetary easing program.
Given this perspective, the Unemployment Rate remains high, but appears to be declining gradually.
Economic indicators and recently climbing interest rates suggest that mortgage borrowers may want to lock in their best mortgage rates now.