Rates Increase Slightly on February Employment Report

Mortgage interest rates increased slightly on the week on a stronger than expected February employment report. Non-Farm Payrolls were up 313k on expectations that they would be up 205k. Private Jobs were up 287k on expectations that they would be up 195k. The Unemployment Rate, though, remained at 4.1% on expectations that it would drop to 4.0%. Average Hourly Earnings were up just 0.1% on expectations that they would be up 0.2%. Other economic data was mixed. The February ISM Services Sector Index, February ADP Private Jobs, Q4 Productivity, and Q4 Unit Labor Costs were stronger than expected. January Factory Orders, the January U.S. Trade Balance, January Consumer Credit, and Weekly Jobless Claims were weaker than expected. President Trump is moving forward with tariffs on aluminum and steel although is exempting Mexico and Canada for the moment. This is increasing concerns of a trade war and slowing global economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is currently at 25,176, up over 600 points on the week. The crude oil spot price is currently at $61.08 per barrel, down slightly on the week. The Dollar strengthened versus the Yen and Euro on the week.

Next week look toward Tuesday’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), Wednesday’s Producer Price Index (PPI) and Retail Sales, Thursday’s Weekly Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, Empire State Manufacturing Survey, Import and Export Prices, and Housing Market Index, and Friday’s Housing Starts, Industrial Production, and Consumer Sentiment Index as potential market moving events.