Here’s what the jobs report means for mortgage ratesby Tim Manni
Estimates for the January report varied. While a group of economists surveyed by MarketWatch predicted 121,000 new hires last month, HSH.com expected 180,000.
Both November and December’s job numbers were revised higher, meaning January’s numbers could be even more impressive than they already are.
Time to celebrate?
Despite the best job numbers we’ve seen since last April, many experts warn that while this is certainly another sign that the economy is inching its way in the right direction, not to get too excited over the latest employment report.
“There are some caveats to what’s a pretty strong report,” Sam Bullard, senior economist at Wells Fargo, told MarketWatch.com. “I am still cautious as to whether we have stepped up the level of hiring to the 200,000 to 250,000 range.”
Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com, echoed those sentiments to me in a recent email.
“It’s a truism that ‘jobs beget jobs,’” wrote Gumbinger. “More people hired means increased consumer spending (with some lag) which tends to promote business profits, confidence and therefore promotes more hiring to meet increased demand. In this environment, though, I’d bet that there will be a rather more cautious approach. The economy and consumers are still very vulnerable to shocks.”
Mortgage rates to rise
The markets have reacted quickly to today’s report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 100 points in the early going, according MarketWatch, and 10-year Treasury yields were also on the rise, increasing by 11 basis points earlier this morning. “That should bump mortgage rates up a little bit as we head into next week,” said Gumbinger.
How much of an increase are we talking about?
One strong monthly showing isn’t enough to put serious upward pressure on mortgage rates. That said, as long as the economy remains on an upward trajectory and deflation doesn’t become a cause for concern, mortgage rates aren’t going to decline on a consistent basis. Should the economy continue to strengthen, we may even see the Federal Reserve change their “2014” tune before too long, said Gumbinger.
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