Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - Article by: Mark Hemingway - Security Financial Services, LLC -
Job growth in the private sector surged in February, due in part to unseasonably mild weather. Construction, manufacturing and goods producing jobs dominated the gains with a shift away from lower paying service sector positions. ADP reported that private payrolls rose to 298,000 last month, well above the 180,000 expected. "February proved to be an incredibly strong month for employment with increases we have not seen in years," said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.
Worker productivity in the fourth quarter of 2016 grew at a 1.3% pace, which was in line with estimates. But for all of 2016, productivity grew by just 0.2%, the smallest gain since the 0.1% increase in 2011. Productivity measures output per hour worked where increases are critical for economic prosperity. The weak data had little impact on the Bond markets. The 1.3% rise in the fourth quarter was below the 3.3% recorded in the third quarter. The data also showed that labor costs rose by 1.7%, up from 0.7% in the July through September period.
Mortgage rates edged higher in the recent week as Bond prices declined. The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that the 30-year fixed conforming rate rose to 4.36% from 4.30%, while the 30-year fixed jumbo rate increased by to 4.27% from 4.23%, while the FHA 30-year fixed increased to 4.18% from 4.07%. The report also revealed that the average loan size for purchase applications was $313,300, an all-time high.
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