Last week’s economic news included readings on construction spending and labor reports on public and private sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.
Construction Spending Falls in April
The Commerce Department reported lower than expected deficits in consumer spending in April. Construction spending fell by -2.90 percent from the March reading of 0.00 percent growth in spending; analysts expected 6.80 percent less construction spending for April due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Additional declines in construction spending are expected for May and June as impacts of the Coronavirus and uncertain economic conditions lessen demand for homes. Residential construction spending fell by 4.50 percent in May.
Mortgage Rates Mixed as Initial Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported higher rates for 3-year fixed-rate mortgages, which increased an average of three basis points to 3.18 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were unchanged at an average of 2.62 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell by three basis points to an average rate of 3.10 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.
First-time jobless claims fell last week but were much higher than readings reported before the coronavirus outbreak. States reported 1.88 million new jobless claims, which exceeded expectations of 1.81 million new claims and fell short of the prior week’s reading of 2.13 million initial jobless claims.
2.23 million initial jobless claims were filed last week including claims made under federal programs. 3.21 million total jobless claims were filed the prior week.
Jobs Reports Show Mixed Results In May
ADP reported -2.76 million private-sector jobs lost on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to April’s reading of -19.60 million jobs lost. The government’s Nonfarm Payrolls report showed 2.50 million more public and private-sector jobs than were reported in April.
Analysts expected -7.25 million fewer public and private sector jobs in May as compared to April’s reading of -20.70 million jobs lost.
The national unemployment rate dipped from April’s rate of 14.70 percent to 13.30 percent in May. Analysts expected the national unemployment rate to reach 19.00 percent in May.
Lower unemployment readings suggest that the economy is recovering at a faster pace than originally estimated, but recent civil unrest may cause another wave of coronavirus cases as protesters failed to observe social distancing protocols.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on inflation and consumer sentiment. The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee is set to meet next week, but this meeting may be canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.