Other than a release on construction spending, last week’s economic readings were dominated by labor and employment data including ADP Payrolls, Non-Farm Payrolls and National Unemployment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
Construction Spending Drops in August
Commerce Department readings on construction spending indicate that overall spending fell in August to -0.70 percent; this reading was lower than the expected positive reading of 0.10 percent. July’s reading showed a drop of 0.30 percent in overall construction spending. The decrease in August spending was largely the result of pull backs on public construction spending, which declined 2.0 percent after July’s decline of 3.50 percent in July. Public construction spending is 8.80 percent year-over-year., and August’s reading was the lowest since March 2014.
Private sector construction spending fell 0.30 percent in August. Residential construction fell by 0.20 percent within the private sector reading. Reasons for falling construction spending include impending winter weather and previously cited labor shortages. Shortages of available homes and high demand for homes are creating pressure on construction companies to build more homes.
Labor Reports: Job Growth Slows in Public and Private Sector
ADP reported 154,000 private sector jobs created in September against August’s reading of 175,000 new private-sector jobs. September’s reading showed the lowest growth rate since April. Analysts said that lower readings for job growth could be expected as job openings are filled.
According to the government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report for September, 156,000 new jobs were added, which fell short of downwardly-revised expectations of 170,000 new jobs added. Analysts said that a reading of 120,000 jobs added represented a healthy rate of jobs growth. As more workers return to or join the workforce, job openings can be expected to decrease. Healthy growth in jobs may signal the Fed to increase interest rates in December.
National unemployment rose from 4.90 percent to 5.00 percent in September; variances can be expected in month-to-month readings that are considered more volatile than quarterly or annual readings.
New jobless claims correlated to fewer job openings and fell to a reading of 248,000 new claims 256,000 new claims were expected based on the prior week’s reading of 254,000 new claims.
Mortgage Rates Nearly Unchanged
Average mortgage rates were unchanged with the expectation of a decrease of one basis point for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages to 2.80 percent. Average rates for 30 and 15 year fixed rate mortgages were unchanged at 3.42 percent and 2.72 percent Discount points were unchanged at 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
This week’s scheduled economic reports are few due to the Columbus Day holiday Monday. Along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims, reports on job openings and consumer sentiment will be released.