According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy shed 20,000 jobs in April 2008. The labor force now counts at 146 million people as employed.
Normally, a loss of jobs would foretell economic weakness and would be a good thing for mortgage rate shoppers. Today, though, traders had been expecting a larger loss of 70,000 jobs.
In other words, today’s jobs report looks surprisingly strong.
The stock market is now rallying on optimism that “the worst is over” for the U.S. economy and evidence supporting the Federal Reserve’s remarks that its rate cuts were starting to take hold.
The stock market’s gains are the bond market’s losses.
Mortgage rates are up today because the cash that is fueling the stock market is coming from the sale of all types of bonds — including mortgage bonds.
This is unwelcome news for people doing mortgage comparisons today, or buying a home this weekend.
In general, interest rates on adjustable-rate mortgages are increasing more than on fixed-rate mortgages.