Last week’s economic data was pretty much what we expected. President Trump’s positive coronavirus test was a little positive for mortgage markets but negative for stocks. Mortgage rates ended the week with very little change.
Friday’s monthly labor market report showed a continuation of the recent employment rebound. In August, the economy gained 661,000 jobs. Additionally, more accurate updates to the figures for prior months added another 145,000. Most of the strength was seen in leisure-and-hospitality, retail, and health care. At this point, the economy has recovered roughly half of the 22 million jobs lost in March and April. This lead to a drop in the unemployment rate from 8.4% to 7.9%. In terms of overall economic recovery, this is down from nearly 15% in April. Average hourly earnings were up 4.7% higher than a year ago as well.
This week will likely be a light week for economic data. The minutes from the September 16 Fed meeting will come out on Wednesday providing additional insight into the debate about future monetary policy.
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