AgentIndustry News

Real estate rates slide on shaky job gains

Fed contemplates monetary tightening

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A week of frights ended with mortgages improved Friday, slightly under 5.75 percent for the lowest-fee packages. The worst scare each month is the wait for the first-Friday-of-the-month payroll data. This month we need not have bothered: December payrolls gained only 157,000 jobs, plus a 25,000-job upward revision for November, still far short of the sustained 250,000-300,000 necessary to work down the unemployment rate and provide opportunity for the under-employed. The watery part of thin gruel: hourly earnings grew by only point-one percent. The 2.7 percent year-over-year gain in wages is not terrible in a 2 percent inflation environment, but not much of a recovery, either. December will turn out to have been a reasonable month for the economy (the purchasing managers' indices are still running hot, and auto sales propped otherwise weak retail sales), but there is no sign of acceleration. Worry and rising rates early last week followed the Fed's release of the minutes of its D...