Thursday, December 5, 2013 - Article by: Richard Airey - First Financial Mortgage -
The government reported today that economic growth in the U.S. for the third quarter grew at a faster pace than what was first reported. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose by 3.6% in the second of three readings, led by a large buildup in inventories. GDP measures the output of goods and services produced by labor and property.Fewer Americans across the nation were seeking first time unemployment benefits in the latest week, as the job markets continue to improve. Weekly Initial Jobless Claims declined by 23,000 to 298,000, the lowest level since the week ended September 7, though the numbers could be skewed by the Thanksgiving holiday. The four week moving average, which irons out seasonal abnormalities, fell by 10,750 down to 322,250. Freddie Mac reported today that the average rate for the 30-year fixed conventional mortgage rose to 4.46% in the latest week. However, to obtain that rate, a potential borrower would have to pay 0.5 in points and fees, a charge that the media usually fails to report.Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said that planned layoffs at companies across the nation fell marginally by 0.9% from October to November. The retail sector took a big hit in November due to the shutdown of the remaining Blockbuster video stores, along with a sell-off and closure of a store chain in Chicago. Recent cuts have been concentrated in the mortgage lending industry. The positive news was that there has been an almost 21% decline in planned layoffs year-over-year in the month ended in November.
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